Last Saturday, I was rudely awakened by my alarm at the unholy hour of Before Nine in the Morning because I planned on making an expedition to the Farmer’s Market for the first time this semester. I tend to wage war on sleep deprivation (bane of the college student!) on Saturdays, and I am not one to wake easily or soon. So if I am out of bed before noon, rest assured that whatever I find myself doing is going to be worthwhile (or at least interesting.)It was a picture-perfect sort of morning, with a conspicuous lack of nasty gray slush, a bright blue sky and plenty of sun. College students (names withheld mostly because it’d take a while to write them down) piled into cars and drove to the Mill Race Center, where the Farmer’s Market is held year-round. We followed the signs, and after long search and a duel of wits with another citizen-filled transport, we arrived and all tromped into Rachel’s Bread. Rachel’s is attached to the Mill Race Center, and people were walking through the door every five minutes or so, bringing in gusts of cold air, children in ridiculously small coats, interesting jewelry and business.
We decided to order breakfast before anything else and dumped our coats onto chairs while we carried several kinds of coffee, some chocolate-filled croissants, blintz with cherry sauce, fig-pecan cinnamon rolls and other mouthwatering foodstuffs to the table. The place was full and the line for food stretched halfway around the room, but people seemed happy to be out of the cold and the buzz of conversation never died down. A woman in Amish dress came in to refill her coffee at the same time I did, and she wished me a cheery “good morning” before heading back to her booth, which was stocked with things like maple syrup, jams, jellies and honey. The large floor area was interesting and colorful. There were aprons and raw-milk cheese, enameled rings and knit hats, and if I had been making judgments on the best-smelling booth, the Soapy Gnome with its lavender-peppermint soap bars would have won the prize.
I wandered around the market, greedily soaking in the green of fresh vegetables and nearly burning the roof of my mouth on a spicy salsa-like dip. I was offered a mix of peanut-butter-and-banana trail food with an interesting chewy texture that was very good and then stopped to look at some beautiful scarves and jewelry. A friend bought one of those scarves, immediately put it on, and has been wearing it since. There was a raised platform in a corner with chairs on it where musicians played, and the nearest corner to that one was occupied by ceramics which were both useful and pleasing to the eyes. The person running the booth, a smiling potter with clay on his hands, invited me in to look at an assortment of glazed mugs, pots and sculptures that made me wish my mother were having a birthday soon.
When I left the Farmer’s Market, I looked around to watch the crowd of smiling and laughing human beings mill around in warm, colorful coats and scarves as they chattered and laughed with the vendors, and I knew that this was one thing that had definitely been worth waking up for.