Monday, June 20, 2005

Here, you have the first bite.

Cape Girardeau's farmer's market is held at the Arena on Wednesday's at 8 AM. I love outdoor markets. They remind me of the slower pace of the "old country." The produce is alive nourishing body and soul.

It's early in the season so I didn't expect much, but I'd been awake since 4 AM, took my mesh market bag, and arrived five minutes before they opened. Tables were spread in a large circle under shade. My first treasure was fresh leeks with six inches of white. Wow! The lady said it took lots of "mounding" like white asparagus does. Quart plastic bags held organized green beans - all lined up with their tips peeking out the top. Cold, sweating brown eggs were the gifts of free-thinking, free-roaming hens whose buffet was on the ground and in the air. I took them gratefully.

Huge Missouri apricots went into my bag. I missed the last box of black raspberries which reminded me I have homemade black raspberry wine in my cellar at home. Last weekend I went to Illers for homegrown blueberries. I'm parceling them out in two-serving batches of cobbler baked in the four-inch cast iron skillet - to die for.

A purple and a green pepper, zucchini and yellow squash, small cucumbers, mixed baby lettuces, vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil filled my bag. We are going to eat like kings.

Four brownies for JB, four chocolate biscotti for me to have with hot tea, and organic pork chops rounded out my shopping. There were other goodies too: honey, soaps and home-grown loofas.

A four-inch, maroon sunflower for a dollar was a must. It's standing in a rootbeer mug on the kitchen counter leaning it's heavy head my way encouraging me to stop and sniff it's secret scent. Nature did good.

There were cookies, breads with herbs or cheese, cinnamon rolls and an angel food cake. An older gentleman was purchasing a sweetroll with cherry filling on top. It looked so good. I kidded him I almost took it out of his hand. With a wide, warm smile and without hesitation, he held it toward me, "Here, you have the first bite." I said no. He insisted. I did. It was a perfectly raised dough and not too sweet. Delicious. Kind sir, thank you for the first bite.

copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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