Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A farmer’s market without the farmers, or market

Note: This column appears in the 9/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/24 issue of the Peoria Times

We are vegetarians, my wife and I, and so when we go hunting we typically hunt for farmer’s markets.

This was our intention two Saturdays ago, our hunt very defined in that Westgate was having a farmer’s market that day. Having found out about this event weeks earlier, our anticipation had increased our excitement, as did the fact that it was a beautiful Saturday morning, the chance to finally venture outside of the house -– to get fresh vegetables, no less! -– signifying the beginning of the end of another endless summer.

It didn’t even matter that Westgate is approximately 40 minutes from our house. Not that helping the environment and local farmers is our sole reason for attending farmer’s markets –- we actually enjoy eating the vegetables of our labor, too –- but the irony of burning lots of gas in order to purchase organic fruits and veggies was not lost on us. But hey, whatever.

Adding to our enjoyment was the opportunity to get our one-year old out of the house and out and about. At the moment of departure, she didn’t seem to be sharing in this enjoyment, but we knew that when we finally got there, she would be enamored by all of the beautiful colors of various peppers and, ummm, melons (?) and the general hustle and bustle of an open market.

When we arrived at Westgate we noticed no signs directing us to the farmer’s market, but this was of no concern, as we had attended one there last year, which also occurred with little fanfare. Besides, we knew we had the date and times correct because I had personally uploaded the details of this event to our own publication’s website, at Westgate’s request, and my wife had even checked their website for confirmation.

Well, there was no farmer’s market. Nor were there any signs or people with any kind of information as to why. For about 20 minutes we walked around with our little one in her stroller, trying to find vegetables, as the pleasant weather turned hotter and less pleasant. We ran into a couple that was similarly confused as to the market’s whereabouts. Having failed to find fresh veggies, they decided to do the next best thing – go to the movies. Had this been Westgate’s plan all along -– to lure people there with the promise of vegetables, only to have them settle into retail purchases and viewings of Piranha 3D? I looked at our daughter and was reminded of a time when going to the movies would have been a feasible alternative for us. Sigh.


Reenactment of our expectations

We didn’t give up though. We had heard that Park West has farmer’s markets too, so we drove there, only to discover that we were one week early. My wife thought she knew of another one somewhere else, but that also turned up empty. In the back seat, our increasingly hungry daughter was giving us an earful. Defeated, we made our way home, vegetable-less, with a ¼ tank of gas burned in the process.

So a big, sarcastic “thank you” to Westgate, for wasting our Saturday with no explanation. I never thought the farmers would leave before the Coyotes.

And yeah –- that’s the kind of zinger you get. I’m not a nice person when I haven’t had my squash.

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