Today I felt a little jealous of my farmer comrades that were vending on the first day of the local Farmer's Market season here in the Seacoast New Hampshire area. The weather was gorgeous, with warm sun and moderate wind, as opposed to the torrential first markets of last years season.
Walking up the hill near the close of the first day's market, the harshness of winter's memory fell away and I felt as if the 2006 market had never broken for winter. Bright tents with flapping canopies shone atop the hill at Portsmouth City Hall. The city hall building was the old Portsmouth Hospital. Last year I remember one of our market customers stopped by for a cup of iced chai, and asked if White Heron Tea was a local company. I pointed to the former hospital, and explained that I was born in that building.
Later last year, we were set up for the Strawberry Festival in South Berwick, Maine. The festival site is on the grounds of Central School, where I attended grades 1-6. Again I got the question if my company was local. I pointed to the school, and explained that I won the 5th grade spelling bee in the building to my right…………! (If I make a spelling error, please let me know :)
We start the market season in three weeks, as I will be in attendance next weekend at Boston Fair Trade Day in Cambridge, MA. The following weekend I will be in Brooklyn, NY to celebrate my 38th birthday and visit Vox Pop, which is a rockin' Fair Trade coffee shop that was recently featured in the NY Times.
I am feeling ready to fire up my propane burners at 6am to make multiple 5 gallon batches of iced teas and iced chai. This year I am planning on breaking a few new teas at market. We have a fantastic Ginger Mate Chai. It doesn't look or taste anything like a traditional chai, but the combination of organic Yerba Mate, ginger, fennel seed and spices is SOOOOO tasty. I am drinking it right now :) This year we also have White Pomegranate, which is great hot or cold. Everyone is crazy about iced Cranberry Apple Ginger, made with organic Massachusetts dried cranberries.
Anyways….I love being a market vendor. After 7years of living on the west coast, it felt great coming home and mingling with such a fantatsic bunch of people. It is also quite humbling to be setting up next to a farmer who in some cases may have risen at 4am to pick vegetables for the day.
Please, please, please support your local farmers. They are so hardworking, and REALLY deserve much thanks for their dedication to providing fresh and tasty food. I count myself lucky to be a SGA member. I get great deals on veggies!