The Season, that is, this blog, began with the arrival of the interns March 1. But the real opening day comes this Saturday with the start of the Bainbridge Island Farmers Market.
It’s a big deal. The local papers will run articles and pictures and signs go up everywhere. Two decades ago, when the market was new, it was just a collection of folks in a parking lot selling a few vegetables off card tables. Now, with four rows of tents offering everything from fava beans to felted hats, and professional musicians playing in the background, the market is a much-anticipated weekly event, a local agora, and a staple of local real estate pitches.
Between now and Saturday, Persephone Farm will be going flat out—everyone up at dawn harvesting the salad, rhubarb, beets, braising greens, chard, kale and other vegetables that will fill our market stand. We’re still a week or two away from spinach and radishes, but there are eggs to be washed, salad weighed, broccoli trimmed. And Sunny, the farm’s 38-year-old, canary yellow, Chevy pickup, will get a fresh supply of motor oil and have his bed swept out for the occasion.
We don’t usually let Sunny off the farm—he’s a bit rusty, wheezy and cranky after nearly four decades of hard work, as might be said of us all. But this Saturday morning, and every Saturday morning for the next seven months, Sunny will lead the 16-mile parade from the farm to the market. His truck bed will be piled high with table tops, plant stands, E-Z Ups, bins of vegetables, and the rest of the market paraphernalia. We may even trim the grass growing out of his tailgate to make him a bit more presentable. Rebecca will follow with her van stuffed with flower bouquets. And behind her will come the interns, spruced up in their market finest. When they are done setting things up it will look something like this:
In a sense, the opening of the market establishes the pace that will gradually transform the remainder of the season’s days. Up to now, the focus has been on tilling beds, moving new starts out into the fields, introducing the chicks to the henhouse and generally adding to the farm’s inventory.
From now on, reaping will overtake sowing. As the season moves along, Thursdays and Fridays will become harvest days for the market. When our CSA begins in June, Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be given over to bringing in the produce and flowers that will fill our 70 subscriber boxes. Mondays, the farmers will be in the salad garden at dawn, picking for our restaurant customers. By summer, this production pace will be running at full throttle, with not a moment to waste.
Unless, of course, it gets really warm. Then we drop everything and head for the beach.
No time to think about that now, though. The leeks need to be trimmed and the beets want washing. See you Saturday, and bon appetit.