This morning I got my first taste of Farmers’ Market Season. My regular markets haven’t opened yet, so I went to one that was new to me.
This is the third summer that I’ve frequented the local markets, and I remember that first season, when the boys liked to tag along. Eamonn, in particular, liked to keep an eye out for the cheese guy and the pickle guy. Aidan was generally happy if the kettle corn people were there.
Over the years, though, they have gotten less and less enthusiastic about wandering around a bunch of stalls looking at vegetables. These days, the suggestion that they might need to accompany me to the farmers’ market elicits a groan, more often than not.
It’s starting to remind me of my own childhood. I suspect most people can remember being repeatedly dragged to a parent’s favorite shopping destination. My mother’s promised land was the lumber store, where she found the wood that she would skillfully transform into a loft, a new closet, or a family growth chart. There was no destination I disliked more as a kid than the lumber store.
So it occurred to me, as I was driving to Summit this morning, blissfully alone, enjoying the breeze through the van window, that maybe the farmers’ market will be to my kids what the lumber store was to me. Even today, the smell of sawdust transports me back to the aisles of Channel and Pergament. Perhaps my own children will have a similar experience as adults, when they catch a whiff of garlic pickles or fresh baked artisan breads. “Remember when Mom used to drag us to the farmers’ markets?” they’ll say.
Still, there’s hope. Hope that my boys will appreciate the work of my hands from the raw materials the farmers’ market provides, much as I appreciated the many amazing things my mother could do with a hammer and a piece of plywood. A child need not enjoy the process of buying a strawberry in order to fall in love with homemade strawberry jam. It’s not where you drag your kids when they’re little – it’s what you do with the spoils of the trip that counts, don’t you think?