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market day again

The Lexington Farmers Market opened today. It was a great scene, though I didn't buy too much: a lettuce, a tomato, and a jalapeno plant to replace one that I lost to varmints. The most interesting part was seeing how much things cost and being able to value my own efforts accordingly.

So far I think our radishes are a bust: we probably harvested not more than $2 worth. Salad greens aren't so bad: I'd say we've gotten $8-$10 value out of our sub-$1 investment in lettuce and arugula. But the real winners so far are the things that were free this year: rhubarb, asparagus, and strawberries. Say maybe $15 of rhubarb, $10 of asparagus (although I wasn't really counting—we just ate five spears each every other day for a couple weeks). The strawberries are bizarrely early, starting way back on the 18th, and we're getting maybe a pint a day now; but their value is incalculable at this point, since there weren't any at the market by the time I got there.

Of course, I shouldn't try and put a monetary value on the fruits of the earth, but I'm poor enough that I just can't help it. But I won't work too hard at quantifying. We talked briefly about weighing and recording our harvests like the hard-core urban homesteaders do, but we decided that would be a little stressful. Plus, how would we account for everything we eat right there in the garden!

One other exciting thing about the Lexington market is that they take our food stamp dollars, and, even better, double them! ("while funding is available"). Unfortunately we're out of government money for this month, but next week we'll be there for sure—maybe even checking out some delicious locally- and humanely-raised and therefore startlingly expensive meat! Ah, summer eating is good eating.


Is it "a lettuce?" I always say "some lettuce." Like "a pair of pants" it just doesn't seem the same as singular.

Related: I hate putting question marks inside of quotes unless I'm quoting a question, but if I put it outside, above, and the period in "some lettuce" inside, that wouldn't look right either.

Good questions! I'm not sure about the technical correctness of "a lettuce", but I say it all the time when I'm referring to whole plants. "Head of lettuce" is I suppose the proper alternative, but that's just too cumbersome; I say "some lettuce" when I'm talking about a leaf or two for a sandwich or whatever. I think part of the difference is just thinking about growing them as opposed to eating, just as when I talk about planting out tomatoes or peppers. Of course I don't mean putting those vegetables in the ground, but who wants to say "a tomato plant" every time?! And of course, "lettuce plant" doesn't work when you buy it either because they don't include the roots.

Of course, don't pay too much attention to my usage advice since we're highly non-standard here in the squibix household: we also use "a bread" as a more convenient way to talk about a loaf of bread.

As far as the quote mark question, there I'm on much firmer ground. American practice is to always put punctuation inside quote marks, whereas the British put it outside (unless the punctuation is itself part of the quoted text). I find the latter to be much more logical, so I would write Is it "a lettuce"? and I always say "some lettuce".

That is, I would if I did, of course.

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