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I have a crazy itch for the St. Paul farmers market.  I love going there, and this longer winter has me missing it even more than usual.  There is something about stretching out from the sheets on an early Saturday morning, brush my teeth, toss my hair up on my head, throw on some jeans and a t-shirt, flip-flops, light jacket if chilly, my canvass bags, making a good pot of Joe and filling a thermos cup and heading to the farmers market.   I think for me it’s a combination of the smells, tastes, people watching, sounds… just a smorgasbord of senses, very stimulating, sexy, down to earth, a sensory fulfillment…

The freshest of veggies to sample while getting to know who really grows locally, and then developing those relationships with the vendors.  The herb guy who has been there for years has the best herb plants, and has worn the same felt hippie hat with the peacock feather in it… love that guy.  And of course, I have to pinch his basil, rosemary, and sage to smell the treats that I will be bringing home to plant and cook with.  The vendor who makes the best homemade soaps; the earthy woodsy smells, the lavenders, etc.  wonderful smells…  The honey’s, fruits, egg, and meat vendors.  The baked goods where you know the guy who makes the best garlic bread and remembers my curly hair before he remembers my face.  It’s good to develop relationships with the growers, bakers, makers.

Sometimes there is music, the guy playing his timpani drums and little kids dancing their own dance in-between the aisles.  Hoping someday in the ‘distant’ future I can be watching my grandkids dance at the farmers market and I would join them…  Calming music that evokes a warmness in what can sometimes be an otherwise noisy and crowded place as the morning progresses.  Sometimes blues, sometimes jazz, sometimes Celtic, and sometimes just the music of people.  I like to dawdle and find myself passing a couple of hours.

Then there is the chocolate lady who makes the most wonderful, creative chocolates, and knows I am fond of the adventurous palate and says “Hey, I have a curry chocolate you asked about today that you ‘must’ try”… and of course I must!

Then the pungent cheeses, the overly priced goat cheeses, the homemade varieties that have a bite to them and make my taste buds dance and say “good morning”!

The people watching is eye candy.  Old couples still holding hands and hanging on for dear life as some people are more focused on pushing through rather than watching out for others.  The new lovers, the older lovers, the strange, the lonely, the happy, the chatty, the grumpy, all of them… it’s just fun to see.

What is my perfect way to end a Farmers Market day?  Take a bag of goodies to the lake or park, spread out a blanket, and have a picnic in the sun or shade.  A good baguette from the guy who makes the awesome garlic bread, some good cheeses, fresh veggies, apple cider or wine from a local vineyard, fruit, chocolate, and whatever happens to be in season, and just sit, lay back and enjoy it all!

Share your favorite farmers market memories!