Saturday, May 22, 2010

The First of many Farmers Markets

If anyone out there is actually reading my blog (besides my parents), they can probably tell from my silly writings that I am a dreamer. Images of a romantic way of life often consume my thoughts. I know that life is not always romantic, but when the opportunity comes to pick some blueberries, ride my bike across a bridge, or randomly run through a field of wild flowers, I will take it, savor it, and probably write a blog about it. When I saw the sign for Ripon’s first Farmers Market hanging across the intersection of 2nd street and Stockton Avenue, I did a little happy dance in my not very romantic, in fact, my very practical car.

Ripon is in the heart of farmland, so it only makes sense that it has a farmers market. For a while now, Danny and I have been trying to buy more locally grown produce. Meeting the person who is handling your food is very rewarding. Knowing that the food isn’t genetically mutated makes is also rewarding for my health.

Danny happened to be chaperoning on a Disneyland fieldtrip (those poor teachers) so I talked my friends Melisa, Casie, and my godson, Ryan into coming along for a farmers market adventure. Casie’s mom Monique also met us there.

I had planned on riding my bike and bringing my fruitful bounty home in my bike basket. This was the first of my country bumpkin bubbles to be burst. The wind was fairly crazy that day (although not as crazy as today), and Melisa refused to put our bike pedals to the metal. So I met Melisa at her house and we walked there, since she lives just a short distance from the bustling metropolis of downtown Ripon. Casie pushed Ryan in his trendy polka dot stroller and met us there.

Before leaving Melisa’s, I realized that I had forgot my reusable grocery bag. Melisa saved the day and the earth, by letting me borrow her roommate’s bag.

We approached Main Street and the air was filled with music. Literally, music. Mariachi music to be exact. A mariachi band played songs outside of Taqueria Ripon, which I later talked the girls into going to for a post farmers market dining experience. The mariachi music may not be the exact kind of outdoor entertainment I expected from Ripon for the very first farmers market, but I enjoyed it. In fact I hope that they are there next Thursday, well them or the yodeling group from the Swiss Club.

The market covered a whole block of Ripon's downtown, which are to be honest not that big. But Ripon is just not that big of a town. If there were any more booths the ratio of onions to residents of Ripon would have been outrageous.

My first purchase was that of some cherries. The price seemed fair and the cherries had that look that cherries get when they are just right, like they are so plump and full of flavor that they could burst at any moment. I bought about a pound and immediately tried one. The flavor burst in my mouth was just what I had anticipated. I gave samples to Melisa and Casie and they agreed. The cherries reminded me of the ones my mom would pick up from the fruit stands out in the country and bring home as a sweet surprise. I confessed to my friends that I liked to swallow the cherry seeds. They looked at me like I was crazy and maybe I am. But I also know that a cherry tree won’t actually grow in my stomach, it beats looking for a trash can, and I kind of like the slippery feeling of them sliding down my throat. Ok, I am crazy.

The next purchase was some red onions. They looked so pretty I couldn’t resist. Plus they last for a while so I figured they would for sure not go to waste. Carrying my four softball sized red onions with the green leafy part still attached in my bag, seemed like a very country chic thing to do. So I was more than happy to do it. We ventured into KinderGarden, a super cute, gently used, baby item store downtown, because of course Ryan needed to pick up a few things. It was a little warm in the store, and I started to notice a smell. I had remembered to put deodorant on before I left, so I knew it wasn’t me. Perhaps Casie? No. Melisa? No. The mystery odor became stronger and stronger until I realized that it was not me, but what I had so excitedly placed in my bag, the onions. It is strange how such a beautiful delicious vegetable can smell just like my husband after he has worked out, gone to wrestling, then come home and pulled his weighted sled up and down our street.

As a good mother, grandmother, godmother, and Auntie, the four of us decided that Ryan needed to stop by the child identification booth and get his iddy bitty finger prints done. Like any respectable godmother would do, I shielded the light from Ryan’s face so that his picture would turn out nicely, as he sat in Casie’s lap. Now Ryan has his very own special id card.

There was a booth full of overpriced gourmet dog treats. I was tempted to buy some for my amazing dogs, but decided they aren’t really the gourmet type. Next to this was a booth full of random trinkets that I’m sure I have seen in the clearance isle at Walgreens. Melisa and I tested out mood rings and found that we are both romantic and happy. I didn’t need a mood ring to tell me that. The booth did have some cool bike lights that sure would fancy up my bike. The lights go on the spokes and slide up and down creating a magical sparkle for those late night bike rides.

My last purchase was the perfect end to a perfectly silly day: Almonds. Of course I had to buy some, as I am continually vying for the Almond Blossom crown and continually trying to convince others that my last name really is VanderLehr. Plus, we were running low. As us three ladies and Ryan walked back to Melisa’s house, we stopped to look at the inscriptions on the bricks lining the sidewalks, “The VanderBeeks Gerhard Bessie 6 children 1923,” “The Van Assen family arrived 1914-1920-1921,” “Van so and so,” and “Vander such and such.” One day I hope to have my own brick “The VanderLehrs arrived 2008.” I then popped a cherry in my mouth and an almond for good measure, hummed along to some mariachi, and told my friends how I couldn’t wait for next Thursday.

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