It was brisk yesterday morning (in the low 40s), but I don’t mind the chill if the sun is shining and the trees are turning brilliant shades of gold and red. So we pulled out our coats and ear warmers, picked up our friend Catherine, and headed for downtown Bloomington.
The green pumpkin on this truck caught my eye–I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a green pumpkin before? This is reassuring to know because of our latest craft project–cloth pumpkins. A friend visited recently and brought us the green and orange pumpkins in this picture. You can see what happened–we now have a veritable pumpkin patch! By the way, the floral pumpkin on the left is made from some of my Mom’s feedsack fabric from the 1930s.
Back to the Farmers’ Market! These beautiful trees line the B-Line Trail and provide a perfect backdrop for the market. I like to make a first pass through the rows to see what’s available and to plan my purchasing strategy. I save the heavy stuff for last. In summer months, vendors sell lots of plants for the garden–tomatoes, peppers, and sweet-smelling herbs. At this time of the year, they sell apples, squash, sweet potatoes, and much, much more. Let me take you on a tour!
First, you might want to warm yourself with a steaming hot cup of coffee. As you can see, others also thought this was a good idea. On chilly days like this, I wonder what it’s like to be a vendor, and how many layers of clothing they have to wear to stay warm.
You might also want to pick up a tasty pastry to go with that coffee. We had eaten breakfast before leaving home, so we resisted the temptation. From the size of the line, I suspect this vendor had a very good morning. Maybe we’ll skip breakfast next time!
And now….on to the produce! I had never heard of persimmons before moving to southern Indiana. One day many years ago I was walking from campus to downtown and saw these small pinkish fruits lying on the sidewalk. I assumed they were some kind of plum, but I was not tempted! That fall I heard people on campus talking about persimmon pudding, and now I know one when I see it. Thankfully, people sell persimmon pulp so you don’t have to spend all of your time processing the fruit.
Another favorite spot is the Hunters Honey Farm table. I gravitate to the wildflower honey and honey-filled candies, but as you can see, they sell many other honey-related products. If you’re really into bees, you can visit their farm in Martinsville and take a tour.
The Indiana Hoosiers canopy is a popular place in the summer, with long lines of people holding empty shopping bags. There’s a good reason for this: they sell some of the best sweet corn I’ve ever tasted. I’m especially partial to the bi-color corn, but its all tender and sweet. And their sweet potatoes are pretty good too!
Since we’ll be grilling at least one more time this fall, we stopped by another vendor to buy some bison burger. We learned last time that coating it with olive oil before grilling makes for a very delicious burger.
At one end of the market you can stop to talk with representatives from various causes and programs. Next weekend I’m going to see “Mr. Burns,” the IU Theater Department’s next play, so I stopped to ask these young people about the plot. I loved their enthusiasm, and look forward to the play.
One of the best things about the Bloomington Farmers’ Market is the sense of community you feel when you walk through the aisles. You run into friends, chat with vendors, listen to musicians, and smile at little children dancing to the music or being pulled along in wagons. We left feeling energized, happy, and ready to get on with our days.