Friday, July 31, 2009
A note from Laurey
It is the eve of August as I write. The tailgate market is in full swing across the street from here. Tables are loaded with beautiful purple eggplants, gorgeous thin green beans, brilliantly wild-colored tomatoes of all kinds (including Mr. Stripey!!) and a whole lot more. I love Wednesday afternoons here, as I can leave my office, stroll across the street, browse through the tents and tables and bins of this and that. I feel filled with the bounty these farmers bring every week.
A long time ago I was given a very special gift of two weeks in Provence. I got to pick where we went, and I got to pick what we did. My pick for the entire time was to follow the markets. In Provence there is a market almost every day. We drove to tomorrow’s market town in the afternoon, found a place to stay and scoped out the lay of the land. Then, first thing the next morning we were up and at the market in time to stroll and watch the vendors as they set up. We’d buy a pastry, some fruit, a caffe au lait, and we’d find a place to sit – on a stone wall, perhaps.
After coffee we’d stroll more, taste cheeses, buy things for an afternoon snack, find a place for a nap, and then we’d wander back to our car. We might then stay the night or we might drive to the next town on my list. I loved those markets, that produce, that bounty.
It was a wonderful trip, quite a gift, indeed.
I loved being in France. Don’t get me wrong. But it fills me with delight these days to do a local version of those days. I get up early on Saturdays, visit one or two markets. On Wednesdays I visit the one across the street. I find myself standing, musing, imagining, dreaming. The market swirls around me. And then someone might say my name and I pop out – here in Asheville, not in Nyons or Gordes or St. Remy.
The market scene here is pretty good around here. For a town of this size, there are a lot of options. Last week, for grins, I went to three brand new markets. Imagine!
I’ll be cooking at the market across the street from here on August 5th. I’ll be at the North Asheville one in September. And I’m committed to the dinners with the farmers, as you see (the August one is on the 13th, the September one is on the 17th.)
After work I go home and stroll through my tomatoes which are bountiful right now. I have not planted anything else edible but I cannot live without a handful of cherry tomatoes – as often as possible. These days there are plenty for me to have.
August is tomato month. Asheville is a market town. Life is full and good. Hooray!