The Hardest Work

After a month spent working at Coveyou Scenic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan, my son came home full of stories of picking, selling, and putting up vegetables.  Of days that started for the farm’s owners at 3, 4, 5 o’clock in the morning depending on the roster of chores.  Of end of the workday dinners that arrived on the table at 9 o’clock at night.  And of lighting the flame under the canning water bath well after 10.

I have often quipped that if I had to rely on myself to produce the food I need for our meals, all of us would starve.  After hearing about these hours, these chores, this is no longer a mere quip; it is bald truth.  I couldn’t do it.  Compared to farming, cooking for a family is a walk in the park.  I am so thankful for my farmers.

Terroir – Coveyou Scenic Farm

This is rock full of fossils from the  well established Michigan land my son worked between July and August.

If you are shopping for your produce in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and come across Dave and Kathy‘s wares at their farm in Petoskey or at one of the area’s farmers’ markets, you now know where your food is coming from.  It is good, old land.  Their tomatoes grow plump, smooth-skinned, and bright red there.

Cucumbers and peppers are plentiful on the farm.  Ben had a hand in pickling and canning both bread and butter cukes and the hot and vinegary wax pepper rings.  Lucky us, we received a few jars from him as presents.

Saturday – Roslindale Farmers’ Market

I attended college in Boston, I lived in Boston, but I had never been to Roslindale.  A shame that it took me all this time to find my way there because this section of Boston lays claim to a vibrant market now in its twenty-fifth year.  Bakers, cheesemakers, farmers, and crafts people share the small triangle of land in the center of the square, drawing all kinds of shoppers.

I wish I could share more photos of the booths, but I was standing behind a booth myself rather than strolling around and shopping from them.  It was tomato and zucchini day at the Roslindale Market, and food website Local In Season participated by sponsoring a recipe contest to help celebrate the tomato and many other of the locally grown seasonal vegetables.  We did manage to round up some gorgeous garlic and shallots to bring home…after the official duty of casting my vote for my favorite recipe was out of the way.

The contest’s winner was announced at the close of market day and her recipe will soon be posted on the Local In Season website.  Check the site over the next day or two and then give the recipe a try; the minute we read it, we knew we had a winner.

Sunday – Rowley Farmers’ Market

Rowley Farmers’ Market advocate George Pacenka recently contacted a few area food bloggers and asked us to drop by and stroll the market.  Held on the Town Common, a common complete with farming equipment, this market’s setting was as rural as Roslindale’s was urban.

This market is in its sixth year and anxious for more locals to find their way to Rowley to discover all they have to offer.  Which, for the home cook, is a lot.  From garlic and okra grown in Salisbury

to potatoes and onions from North Andover

to the wool and knitted garments from a Rowley artisan

and the  glossy blackberries we brought home to add to our dinner dessert’s peach crisp.

The market is modest in size but large and welcoming of heart.  George spotted me just as I finished my shopping and we chatted for a few minutes.  None of the market’s participants pays for space on the common and everyone is welcome, whether that person is an established farmer or a home gardener with a few too many tomatoes after a successful growing season.

There’s plenty of room to grow the market on Rowley’s spacious town common.  Give your favorite farmer the heads up; maybe they’d like to set up shop on a Sunday morning.  And plan a shopping trip for yourself.  Rowley and its market make a lovely destination for a Sunday drive.

Roslindale Farmers’ Market

  • Adams Park, at Cummins Highway and Washington Street
  • Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
  • through October 17

Rowley Farmers’ Market

  • Town Common, Main and Summer streets
  • Sundays, 8 am – 1 pm
  • through the end of September

©2010  Jane A Ward