How we eat determines to a considerable extent how the world is used…land that is in human use must be lovingly used; it requires intimate knowledge, attention and care.
~ Wendell Berry (quoted on the Maple Spring Gardens home page)
Today is Saturday, and that means it’s time to get down to the Durham Farmers’ Market!
Do you have a local produce market you visit? I hope so!
I love our market, which doesn’t get the national headlines that the Carrboro Farmers’ Market gets, but which is just as big, bustling, and loaded with goodies as I could ever want, anyway!
The Durham Farmers’ Market is a festival for the senses and a party atmosphere. There are little kids zooming up and down, at least one or two musicians playing for tips, and booths overflowing with veggies; home-baked breads, biscuits, and cakes; flowers; jams and jellies; home-made soaps; fresh local honey; home-brewed beers; plants and seedlings; hormone-free meat and eggs; and a rainbow of various handmade arts and crafts.
For Duke students aware there are Saturday mornings, it appears to have become the hip place to hang. And look out – when first the strawberries and then the peaches are in season, the crowds are crazy — it’s a feeding frenzy.
In a world with increasingly scary “agri-pharma” fake food-like stuff, having access to fresh, locally, lovingly grown food is something for which I am deeply thankful.
I love being able to chat directly with the growers. Some come from many generations of folks who have worked the land. Others are back-to-the-land homesteaders who got fed up with the city lifestyle.
Each one has a different story, but they are all very proud and passionate about their work and sense of stewardship. They care deeply about offering sustainable, organic, pesticide-free, honest alternatives to mainstream grocery junk.
Farming can be a risky, hard life, thanks to the whim of Mother Nature. Late freezes, hail storms, drought, hurricanes, flood – we’ve seen them all in North Carolina.
But today’s small family farms also have to fight against monsters like Monsanto, who is gobbling up land, farms, access to seeds, and forcing their very scary genetically modified monoculture products on a mostly unsuspecting public.
So I give thanks to all those dedicated men and women who toil in their fields and gardens for us. They are up in the wee, dark hours of morning, so that they can bring their sweet harvests to market every week.
My life is so much happier and healthier because of them.