It was 8:15 a.m. and the market had been open for fifteen minutes. I had arrived early for a specific reason: to purchase the prized sour cherry. I realize that sour cherries are prevalent around Michigan and the Midwest, but for Californians, it's a treat to get fresh sour cherries. They are about the size of the tip of my pinky and perfect for pickling and brandying.
I was still waking up, and was not prepared for the aggression of the other customers who had arrived early for the same reason as I had. One woman brought an empty cardboard box that was carefully lined with paper towels to carry home her cargo. I had to physically make a space for myself as I quickly chose two pounds of cherries, and then stepped out to let another person take my space.
By 8:45 a.m., all the cherries were gone. Once I arrived home with my two pounds of treasure, I simply rinsed them and put them into jars with bourbon. I kept the pits on because the pits impart a bit of flavor. I'm going to be using them in cocktails, so the pit is okay (as opposed to pits in a compote or conserve).
That was a couple weeks ago, and cherries are now pretty much done for the year. They are now being replaced by the first of our tomatoes, peaches, and nectarines. Apricots are fully in season and absolutely delicious. I have about two pounds of pickling cucumbers and a bunch of dill ready for me at home to make pickles this week—I just need a few moments of spare time to get them into jars and ready to put up.
Recently, I wrote a post for Bay Area Bites about a new market in the Inner Sunset area of San Francisco. It's been interesting to watch—the post was basically a quick, informational piece about the new market opening. The comments have become an area for many of the neighbors to express their views about whether a market in the area is a good thing or not. I happen to think it's an absolutely lovely little market, and that it only takes up a small parking lot once a week. It has the potential of bringing folks into the neighborhood to shop who wouldn't necessarily shop there, and could be a boost to the neighborhood's economy.
But others, who don't frequent farmers' markets on a regular basis, see the market as a nuisance that is taking up parking spaces, charging too much money, and distracting from small business in the area. The post's comments were a good reminder to me that not all everyone is sold on the idea that a farmers' market is a boost to an area. It didn't sway my opinion, but did remind me that sometimes I tend to forget that not everyone lives in my bubble.
I have come away from reading the comments with a renewed dedication to support my local farmers' markets. The small inconvenience to a neighborhood once a week is usually overshadowed by creating a community gathering place and a way for customers to get access to fresh, local produce.
Seasonal Produce Guide
In Season Right this Minute
Apricots Hard-Necked Garlic Blueberries Green beans
Nectarines and peaches in abundance Peppers in abundance Cherry tomatoes
It's Time To Put Up
Dried garlic Apricot jam Blueberry jam