Farmers market? Farmer’s market? What is the agreed upon grammatical etiquette for that heavenly place where you get fresh produce and support your local economy?

Anyway.  On to the story.

This morning I made my first trip of the summer to the Farmers’ Market which my parents have been taking me to since I was a child.  I love this market.  There are closer markets, now, than this one, but I know the vendors and produce there like they’re family.  My parents used to get up obscenely early (or what seemed obscene when I was young) to go to the market and bring back fresh produce and roasted chilies to be turned into salsa, maybe even some artisan bread.

I have really strong, wonderful memories of the times I went to the Farmers’ Market with my parents, usually my dad.  We’d wander around an extremely congested street and get fresh food, especially green beans, peppers, those roasted chilies, and cherries (definitely cherries if Momma was there).  I forget every year how much I love cherries, so the first one is the best, because my mouth is remembering the flavor it loves so well.  I saw a little girl, she couldn’t have been more than two, with cherry juice all around her mouth and her fingers today.  I felt a fondness for her grandparents, because they carried on a tiny tradition that I held so dear.

There were the Saturdays closest to my birthday when I woke up to fresh peaches for breakfast, snack, and dessert.  Papi and/or Momma would go and get a goodly amount that were ripe enough to eat right away, put some on the counter for when I woke up, and start a couple more macerating for the peach ice cream to go with the cake (and, of course, after the presents).

There were the days when my parents probably would have been better served by a leash than the dog owners.  The dogs were exceptionally well-behaved (because the owners were smart enough to bring the kid-broke pups and not the jumpy ones); I was less so.  I’d run after dog after dog, petting every puppy that would sniff my hand.

Basically, Farmers’ Market days are some of the few days from my childhood that I felt normal.  I learned to love the Farmers’ Market as much for its smell and food as the atmosphere in which I felt good about myself.  I love farmers’ markets.

As an adult, it’s taken on a different meaning.  The Market is still dear to me, of course.  It’s restorative influence is perhaps exactly what I needed given the events of the past forty-eight hours.  However, as a struggling post-college student, I’ve come to appreciate the meaning of supporting local businesses.  I started learning it in college, since I went to college in a small rural town, but something about it clicked the past couple years.  So, last summer, I decided it was time to start supporting local vendors as much as I can.  I went to the Farmer’s Market as often as I could and got good produce for good prices and kept the money in Colorado.  It was all very sensible and responsible.

And I found the most gorgeous pasta and divine cheese in the world. I never would have found them if I hadn’t committed to going to the Market and supporting local farmers.

The pasta company is based in Denver, Colorado.  It’s a relatively small company, started in 1984 and still dedicated to its roots as an operation to make homemade, flavored pastas to be enjoyed.  It’s mostly online and market business.  It takes pride in being a “mom and pop” business that employs a few employees to make GREAT artisan pasta.

The cheese company started in Illinois with a husband and wife team.  Then the wife’s sister and her husband joined in.  Then, a couple they were friends with.  It became a family and friends company that made artisan cheeses and sold at several markets in Illinois.  Then, the friends moved to Colorado Springs.  And perfect cheese (seriously, their Chipotle White Cheddar cheese is THE perfect cheese) came to my home town.

I love supporting independent crafters.  I love Etsy.  I have vendors across the world that I have relationships.  As an adult, I’m proud to establish these relationships with local vendors.

You see, this is the beauty of supporting local vendors: you’re not just giving money to your community.  You’re becoming part of a community in turn.  This is my praise of farmers’ markets and of my Farmers’ Market – they create a community that learns to love each other, help each other, and become part of each other.  So many families are created and maintained around the table.  Is it any surprise that community families find themselves around the food of the farmers’ market?