The majority of the people who flock to the numerous Sacramento-area farmers’ markets in the summertime do so to pick up the freshest local produce of the season. After all, isn’t that the obvious reason to frequent your local farmers’ market? This past weekend I once again stopped by the Davis Farmers Market and it dawned on me that there is much more to farmers’ markets than the food! (Did I really just say that?)
On a recent Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I found ourselves once again maneuvering our way through the long corridor of vendors and trying to make the difficult decision of which tempting offerings would be coming home with us for dinner, all the while dodging the mobs of Davis market goers. It was at that moment that I was struck by the fact that I actually recognized about half of the faces that belonged to the elbows, purses and shopping bags that we were so deftly attempting to avoid bumping into.
I’m sure it’s the same in every community where farmers markets pop up for the morning, you are guaranteed to see the same friendly faces week after week. At the farmer’s market it is not out of the ordinary to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger about heirloom tomatoes, local olive oil or the many varieties of Santa Fe tortillas (the garlic butter flavor is definitely my favorite).
Being a UC Davis alum, I’ve visited the Davis Farmers Market on many occasions, Wednesday afternoons, Saturday mornings, and at all points in the season. Although the produce offerings change with the season, there is one constant – the people. The people at the farmer’s market vary from college students to families, and each week it might be a slightly different mix, but all are drawn to the same location because of a common love of fresh locally grown food. I suppose it all does come back down to the food.
And in case you’re wondering what did in fact end up coming home with us – a loaf of artisan ciabatta, half a dozen apricots, a bag of juicy nectarines and three deliciously ripe tomatoes. I wonder what we’ll pick up next weekend…