The Last of My Little Jonathons
One of the farmers at our farmers market had the most gorgeous Jonathons this year--small burgandy-skinned apples, so hard you could probably dump a pile of them on a pool table and shoot them into the pockets without doing much damage. I like my apples firm! In addition to the outer beauty, many had gorgeous red marbling inside-- something to admire as I enjoyed each tart-sweet bite. The ones in this picture are sad remnants of this year's crop-- shriveled skin, not much marbling, but they made a good breakfast. And I'm looking forward to next year's crop.
Soon, our farmers market will move indoors. Just in time, too-- the temperature has dropped into the twenties and the wind is fierce. Last week, I went to the farmers market--it's the one thing I do regularly each week, more faithfully than church, so strongly do I value this community built around respect for food and the land--and it was brutally cold. It was hard to remove my gloves and hand over my money, and hard for the farmers to make change. I had the feeling that our hands would freeze and shatter, in an instant. Despite the cold, the farmers had still set up their amazing displays of bounty-- the cauliflowers in green, orange and purple, the bristling mounds of radishes, the crinkled piles of kale, the buckets of apples (but no little Jonathons), the mushrooms, honey, organic lamb, grass-fed beef, wonderful eggs, cheese, and so much more. There are the Amish families with their bags of rolled oats and flaxseed and wheat berries; they have pies, too, which I'm programmed not to buy-- what pies could compare to my mother's? I'm more attracted to all the hearty winter vegetables, anyway--the sweet potatoes and squashes and parsnips--that fill the house with their rich, caramel fragrance. I'm sure there is a necessary symbollism regarding the root crops, something about burrowing and feeding upon the richness below the surface, something about the things winter forces us to do. At least, in Ohio.
I received an email from the people at Support Your Local Farmer, LLC
. They had read an old entry here about a bumper sticker I saw at the Lake Tahoe farmers market: Support Your Local Farmer Or Watch the Houses Grow. Turns out that they are the source of this slogan, and you can buy the sticker--as well as pro-farmer t-shirts--there.
I worry sometimes about the independent grocery store at the end of my block. I don't buy nearly as much stuff there anymore, and I appreciate the Zagara family's substantial investment in Cleveland Heights. Does anyone have any idea how the farmers market movement and independent grocers can somehow help each other?