On Saturday I had the extreme pleasure of being a part of a Farmer's Market.
Not only as a shopper but this time as a Vendor. The experience was eye opening in so many ways. I not only was a Shop Owner or “Vendor” as it’s called but was a participant in a movement. A movement where people are afforded the opportunity to buy their Fresh Fruit, Produce, Honey & Local Provisions from the people who actually till the soil and plant the seeds.
As a "Vendor" I was afforded the opportunity to exhibit my Baked Goods that included my Homemade Mango Curd (Mangoes from my very own Mango Tree) and see immediately how they were received. What an awesome experience! My wish is that everyone on earth experience this at least once in their life!
The opportunities for education were all around me. I just kept taking it all in. On one side I saw 2 Strong Women with fantastic fortitude and salesmanship skills, striving and making a way in life through serving wonderful fresh made food to the passersby. To my right flank was a Local Farmer who spent every chance he got educating his customers about how the bounty he had in front of him came to be. The tilling of soil on his 5 acres in the Redlands, to the mightily forged drops of Sugar Cane Juice served by the cup over ice straight from the sugar cane itself. As he yielded the machete to cut the fiber off of the sugar cane he spoke to each and every customer. Telling them of his forefathers and how they made their way from soil to table just as he does today. He speaks of a life fraught with hard work, but sweet with an endless sustainable bounty for the future.
As I sat a midst these people, I thought of what my part in this would be. I was simply in awe of the experience around me and took it all in. Spent many conversations with my customers talking about the calorie loaded traditional “White Flour” Baked Goods I sold and defending my choices, but never taking on the challenge. I neglected to point out that “Ground Almonds” used as Almond Meal for cookies could increase one’s calorie intake way beyond what a normal person should consume in a day. Never countered the small statured weekend fitness enthusiast, who takes a long walk on a weekend with her girlfriends in a beautiful park, thinking that the food she buys at Whole Foods, and the lunch she had at Applebees makes her healthy; because by golly I was GLAD she was there. I was glad she took a moment to pass by the Farmer's Market and above all my stand to buy this 1 confection. I was more than glad when she turned back to smile at me, as she bit into My Mango Coconut Square with sheer indulgence and satisfaction.
Was it really my place to tell her that the little bite she just took and so warmly enjoyed was not such the decadent indulgence she thought? Should I have boldly told her that the Fresh, Locally Grown, Locally made, confection that she just whole-heartedly consumed was made with love and with no preservatives, fewer ingredients & no ingredients with more than 6 letters in their name? Should I have also told her that the Wonderfully Local and Handmade confection had FEWER calories than the commercially processed 600 calorie per cup “Almond Meal” cookies from Whole Foods?”
No. I just smiled and took in the gratitude and satisfaction of the moment.
I may be courageous enough next time to share some very basic facts, regarding calories, units of energy, smart choices and Treats being Treats and not a Sin, but as a “Fat Girl” from New England I know that my grandmother lived to be 80 years old, cooking with Lard and Real Butter and White Flour. She didn't run marathons, she didn't jaunt out to her Yoga class. She did housework, spent time with her family and cooked REAL FOOD. She Bought LOCAL Eggs, LOCAL Butter and Milk. She cooked and baked to her heart’s content and I will do the same. Being a part of this new “Movement”, I know I will provide the same example for so many more generations to come.
For all of my customers Especially the "Root Beer Float Man" and his Beautiful Wife and Child THANK YOU for being a part of our Market and enjoying the Bounty with us! Please come back each and every week, as the pleasure of serving you is all ours!! For those who are not here in South Florida, Please be on the lookout for your local Farmer's Market and stop by. Encourage your Local Artisans to do what they do, Feed you well!