posts tagged with 'farmers market'

mildly festive

Yesterday it was the Harvest Festival at the farmers market in Lexington. Kind of a silly idea; obviously, the farmers are harvesting all the time or there wouldn't be a market! But it's still fun to mark some sort of inflection point towards the end of the season, and they do a fine job making it feel just a little bit special.

I think it really helps that we've been enjoying the festivities for so many years. Racing vegetables strapped to little wooden carts might not naturally appeal to big kids like we have now (or maybe it would?) but knowing they've been racing those same carts for the last eight or so years is kind of meaningful! The butternut squash was unbeatable this year, if you're wondering. There was also the traditional pumpkin tic-tac-toe, a ring toss, stickers, face painting, and cornhole (a serious draw to big kids, especially when they manage to beat their dad!).

the boys playing cornhole at the farmers market

it was Harvey and Zion vs Elijah and me

berry money

Before we went to the farmers market today the boys and I picked berries: two pints each of raspberries and blueberries. So we didn't need to buy any there. But I couldn't help but notice the pricing on what the farmers brought! We were delighted to note that we'd brought in $32 worth of fresh-picked delight in not more than half an hour. It made us feel plenty rich enough to be able to spend big bucks on fancy market baked goods!

a market pause

This past Tuesday was the last Farmers Market of the season in Lexington. We had mixed feelings about the market this year. With the construction going on in Lexington Center they moved it to a field by the high school, which means that, even though it isn't that much further from our house, it's a noticeably less pleasant bike ride. And all the places the boys used to buy baked treats from didn't show up this year. Sure, we did ride there a few times, and they did buy some very expensive cookies from High Rise Bakery two or three times. But it wasn't the same. On the other hand, the vegetables were still top quality and the meat from River Rock Farm even better (and talking to Lindsey at the River Rock booth about how hard home gardening is was always one of the highlights of my week). And the second half of the season the music tent came back, which really improved the whole experience. I think we made it to two thirds of the market days over the course of the summer, which, while lower than our usual average, is still pretty good. Now we're ready to do something else on Tuesday afternoons, and to be excited come next May when market days start back up again.

farewell to the pandemic market

We missed the last Farmers Market this afternoon. I had actually thought the last one was the week before, and we made kind of a thing about it; I bought $75 worth of meat. But then we heard there was one more. We planned to go, but after a fun walk in the morning and lots of work in the afternoon, I just didn't have it in me to make another trip out before I had to make dinner and host a Zoom meeting. Oh well. We love the Farmers Market, but I have to say it just wasn't the same this year. I understand that they needed to take precautions, and I appreciate the effort they put in to make sure that it could even happen, and happen in a way that made everyone feel comfortable. But a big part of the appeal in years past was the festival atmosphere—the crowds, the music, the general excitement—and there was none of that this year. Instead, there was a lot of standing in lines six feet apart. Oh, and also not touching any of the food! My mom points out how silly it is that we can go to the grocery store and paw over everything alongside 100 other people, but at the entrance-controlled market with the farmers eyes on the customers we can't pick out our own potatoes. Oh well. We got lots of good food there this year anyways; next year we can look forward to good food and good times too.

to market, to market

We went to the Farmers Market today. It started up last week, but we forgot, so today was our exciting first trip. Of course, things are different than they were last time we were there: there's a fence around the whole thing, separate opening to enter and exit, and a one way path among the widely-spaced stalls. And you can't touch any of the produce before you buy it. Still, we were delighted to be there and to have the chance to buy real food. Most important for me was getting some ground beef: the meat from River Rock Farm is so much better than what we can get at Whole Foods or from the meat delivery box place. The vegetables were less exciting, because almost everything there we already have in great quantities from our own garden. But I still wanted to get some, to support the farmers and the market, so I spent $5 on a pint box of snap peas. I also picked up some plants, which I guess I'll find room for somewhere...

Of course, I've been shopping three or four times over the past couple months; the boys have been away from the temptations of commerce since the beginning of the lockdown and they had money for treats burning a hole in their pockets! (metaphorically speaking: they all asked me to carry their money). Their favorite bakery wasn't there, but they found someone selling homemade cookies and spent $12 between them. Totally worth it. They were good cookies, and part of a good scene. Hooray for farmers markets.

farewell market

Yesterday was the last farmers market of the year in Lexington. We love the market, our source for veggies, fruit, meat, and chocolate croissants—we only missed two market Tuesdays since it kicked off for the year back in May. Although, as I said to one of the farmers yesterday, I'm also kind of looking forward to having our Tuesday afternoons back! We maybe could have done the shopping in just a couple minutes each week, but if feels like such an event that we rarely got out of there in less than an hour. And whenever we could we biked there; it's about five miles away, so nearly an hour round trip.

As the market comes to a close every year I always wish I could do more to stock up on produce. But truth be told I'm not even very good at storing and organizing the food we get from week to week, so if we did get something like 40lbs of potatoes they'd be sure to rot or be eaten by mice within a month. A root cellar, and the knowledge and attention to use it well, is a project for the future. Thank goodness there's the special Thanksgiving market coming up in a month, and then the bimonthly winter market...

my strong young cyclists

Yesterday we biked up to the farmers market in Lexington faster than we ever have before. Zion was pushing hard in the lead the whole way, not letting us pass him and even trying to stay on the wheel of some unrelated adults who went by him. I'm sure Harvey could have gone in front if he wanted too—he has a lighter bike and more gearing—but he was feeling pretty relaxed so he didn't see a need. No, the one who was suffering to stay in the pack was me! These boys keep getting older and stronger, and while I'm certainly getting older the strength is more of an open question.

Of course, if I wanted to I could offer some facts in my own defense. Namely, I'm still carrying Lijah, who is also getting older and stronger and, more to the point, heavier. So maybe I should be proud of myself for keeping up with the youngsters on a 20 lb bike carrying has to be 50 lbs of kid and gear. That sounds reasonable.

Every second Tuesday of the month is Bike to Market day, when everybody who rides gets a two dollar coupon to use anywhere at the market. I gave mine to Lijah, and all three boys topped up the coupon with some of their own money to buy giant sweet pastries. Two of them really deserved that treat!


feeling abundant

One of my delights at the farmers market is checking out the prices for things that are growing well at our own farm. Seeing that raspberries—which we have so many of that they're a chore to pick—are going for $4 for a half-pint eases the pain of having to buy kale, because I didn't plant nearly enough. Seriously, I think we've brought in four or five quarts of raspberries so far; say $64 worth, at the low end. Not counting my labor, of course, but any real work (besides the trouble of picking) was so long ago I hardly remember it anyway.

some raspberries

two minutes' work

I've always felt that way about crops that do well here—in this culture even we anti-capitalists like to reference market economies to help us feel our efforts are worthwhile—but this year there's a new extreme: purslane for sale, at $4 a bundle!

purslane for sale at the farmers market, on a table next to some basil and mint

can you believe it?

Now, we've been eating the stuff every now and again for a while, so I won't argue that it doesn't belong on that table next to the basil. Lijah wouldn't either; he's a big fan. As we were picking some the other day—and I was trying to pick faster than he could eat—he exclaimed unprompted: "I like purslane... ice cream and purslane!" (I assume he didn't mean together).

But if you want to count dollar values, we've probably eaten about $8 dollars worth, fed $20 to the chickens, and thrown $60 or $70 on the compost pile. Probably because I always let it grow a bit here and there, purslane is a serious weed on our farm. I wonder if there's any chance we could get in on the market! Actually, as I think about it I assume it's pretty win-win for the farmers: they can set aside a few bundles of the stuff each market day and if it doesn't sell, it's no loss. If I had more space in the garden I'd have at least one dedicated purslane bed and would be willing to sell to all comers.

As it is, I'll pull out most of it and rest happy in the knowledge that, whatever else happens, our garden will always be full of something that somebody, at least, thinks is valuable. And we also have lots of zucchinis.


rare rainy day

It's been sunny here for weeks and weeks—first hot and sunny, then pleasant and sunny. Sure, there were some thunderstorms, but they traded off with heat and humidity. Today was a real rainy day. So what did we do?

three boys at the activity wall of the mall play space

playing inside

The library first, while Lijah took his morning nap; then home to pick up him and Mama for an outing to the grocery store and the mall. I hadn't been to the mall for years, so I was pretty excited. So were lots of other people: pretty much the whole world was there. I saw one family who had left the Bedford library just before we did. The boys and I played in the play space and ate some food court samples while Leah bought us a new vacuum cleaner (goodbye $250...).

In the afternoon the rain trailed off, so the younger two boys and I biked up to the farmers market. Like last week, there were some serious puddles there—so much so that they reconfigured the vendor booths. All the other parents steered their kids away from them with varying degrees of panic, but we like to set a bad example. Lijah didn't fall down this time.

Zion and Lijah walking through a big puddle

they can't resist

We got in dinner outside before the rain started again, then Harvey and Zion played a board game while I did the dishes.

Harvey and Zion eating ice cream pops and playing Candyland

immersive Candyland experience

And the best part: the heavy overcast made it dark enough for everyone to be asleep before 7:30! Everyone but me, that is. So what am I doing still up?!


a day in the summer life

Lijah standing on a dock looking at the water

my morning companion

When I'm not working, I can do a lot in a day. As an example, here's a report on what we did yesterday.

I got up at 5:30 when I heard Lijah waking up. Leah was about to start exercising, so I took him outside to play so she could go ahead with that. We fed the chickens and chased them around for a while, then we decided to go for a bike ride. We headed down to the river again, where Lijah played in the water; he wanted to jump off the end of the dock, so I held his hands and dipped them in. We saw some ducks, which Lijah was excited about and correctly identified ("duh! duh!") and then some geese ("duh! duh!").

Lijah in the water pointing at geese

visiting with the wildlife

Strangely, it seemed to be getting darker rather than lighter; when we heard thunder I knew why! I quickly got Lijah dressed and we headed home. When we got back the other boys were up cuddling with Mama, so Lijah joined them while I made breakfast (bagel with cream cheese and scrambled eggs). As we ate the skies opened for a brief downpour, and I was glad to be safe at home.

After the rain stopped the boys and I went out to clean the car. It was a great way to let them play outside without getting soaked in the puddles, but also totally necessary: kids can really dirty up a car, and a minivan holds an impressive volume of trash! Eventually we got it cleared out and vacuumed, then packed up food (bb&j, blueberries, and cookies) and spare clothes and headed out to Acton to pick up more chicken food and visit the Discovery Museum.

As per the plan, Lijah fell asleep on the first leg of the trip and slept through the feed store part of the outing and our arrival at the museum. I had my book and was happy to wait with him in the car while Leah took the other boys in. When he woke up we made our slow way through the little forest path on the grounds, taking in the sights.

Lijah carrying a walking stick approaching a giant globe

world explorer

The museum was as fun as always. It was Lijah's first time there as a walker—maybe his first as a sentient being—and he enjoyed it fully (though there were a few tears when we came off the forest path and into the crowded museum lobby). We did all the stuff in the children's part of the museum (ages 0-6), then went back outside to have lunch and play on the nautical playground and with the bikes. Then home, sadly (for Zion at least) without visiting the Science Discovery building.

At home we declared a rest time and the boys played quietly while Leah put Lijah down for another nap and I wrote a blog post. Another storm blew through, with some impressive thunder and high winds but not much rain. It did lower the temperature a whole lot, so after the light rian stopped we went outside. Our friend Jim just gave us a compound bow (along with all sorts of other fun toys!) but we didn't have anything for it to fire, so with the boys watching and fetching supplies I set to work making an arrow. Even without anything weighting the tip it worked impressively well.

compound bow and homemade arrow, leaning against the fence

after some hard usage

The neighbor kids came over as I was finishing it up, and they stuck around and played for a while until the sky darkened once again; as the thunder got nearer and nearer we decided it might be better to go inside. Lijah was still sleeping so they went home. We were waiting for him to wake up so we could go to the farmers market, but as it hit 4:00 I realized we'd never be able to go and still make it home at dinner time, so I declared a big snack (corn, cucumber, cheese, and crackers). We ate out on the front porch until a particularly close lightning bolt frightened us inside—or at least, frightened me enough that I ordered the kids inside.

Lijah woke up around the same time the rain stopped, so with the bigger boys in raincoats and boots (but not me or Lijah—he doesn't have either, and I just wanted to get out the door!) we hopped in the car for our trip to the market. Usually we bike, but both Lijah and Zion have been wanting to walk more than they get to, so I figured we'd park a ways away from the market and make our own way there. With the stroller along, just in case. Which we did, though in the event I tried to keep Lijah in the stroller as much as possible, to keep him out of the puddles.

The market was mostly washed away—no more bacon, alas—but we got the vegetables we needed and enjoyed talking to the hardy farmers who stuck out the deluge. There were some big puddles on the market lawn; you can guess what happened right after I took this picture.

Harvey and Elijah walking through a giant puddle on the grass at the farmers market

puddle? or pond?

Even though he was wet halfway up his shirt—that was a big puddle—and I didn't have any dry clothes for him, I decided to honor the boys' strongly-felt desire to visit the Lexington library. I called Leah to let her know and said I'd told the kids 10 minutes, which in library time means like half hour or more. I think we were there closer to an hour, when all was said and done. We left with two more books.

When we got home the kids all needed some Mama time, and I got to work making mac-and-cheese to go with the chicken and roasted vegetables Leah had already prepared. Zion fell asleep before supper, which is fair: it was at least two hours past our usual supper hour. After the remaining four of us ate I played with Lijah while Leah read with Harvey and put him to bed, then Leah and Lijah went to bed. I did a little reading and writing before finally turning in at around 10:00.

The end.