Most weekends we try to make time to get to one of the two major farmer’s markets in San Antonio. Each one is a bustling affair: musicians; coffee, crepe, taco and juice vendors; fresh meat and eggs; honey and beeswax products; handmade chocolate and fresh baked goods; and of course, plenty of fresh produce. We love these markets. They are alive with bright colors, pleasant harmonies, natural goodness, and a sense of humanity.
When I rolled into the parking lot of the Leon Valley Community Center and Library on an overcast Wednesday morning, I was greeted by four pop-up tents and two little uncovered tables. Three produce vendors, a man selling plants, a woman with homemade jams and salsas, and a sweet little lady with quick-breads and cookies obviously fresh from her kitchen oven.
No huge banners here. Little hand-written signs read, “Grown on Our Own Farm” and “Homegrown Produce”. Tables overflowed with fresh tomatoes, squash, zucchini, kale, Swiss chard, onions, okra, carrots, beets and early peaches. A vendor with baskets of slightly underripe tomatoes advised me to “wait a day or two and then they’ll be ready”.
At one table, I just had to ask about the orange-tinted cauliflower. The vendor explained it was “cheddar cauliflower”, which tastes a little sweeter than the white variety (and sadly, not at all like cheese). A pleasant conversation ensued about my general dislike of the vegetable, and about the ways to disguise it in mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese (A-HA! Future blog post idea!). She was very helpful and friendly, and as I left her table, tucked in amongst my zucchini and baby squash was an orangish head of cauliflower.
No, there was no live band, no wonderful smells of breakfast crepes and brewing coffee, but I guess those things aren’t really what make a successful farmer’s market. The obvious connectedness of the farmers to the earth they work, the pride they took in the fruits of their labor, and the sense of peace I felt just being there made the tiny market a huge success in my eyes.
NOTE: The Leon Valley Farmer’s Market is part of the San Antonio Farmer’s Market Association. Each day of the week except Thursday the market is set up in a different location in the city. Please refer to their website for more information and their current schedule.