This weekend, we were finally in town and free on a Saturday morning, so I was able to take the opportunity to take part in an activity that I have been yearning for for weeks: Farmer’s Market Hopping.
I loaded up Penelope (the new bike, in case you forgot) with plenty of eco-friendly bags and rode off in search of fresh, locally-grown produce.
I didn’t have to go far for my first stop — a small community garden just a couple blocks from my house.
While I only bought a bunch of kale and some fat, purple green beans (which were just too interesting to pass up!), this was my favorite stop of the day. The concept behind this volunteer-run operation is to give everyone the opportunity to eat local, fresh, organic food. Gabrielle’s Garden is an awesome organization that uses education and a strong local presence in their outreach efforts. The fine folks manning Saturday’s stand were happy to inform me on that day’s offerings, and gave me some tips on preparing those aforementioned purple beans. After giving a little more than the “suggested donation” for my veggies (they have a “pay what you can” system — how cool is that?), I took a moment to scan the rows of their thriving urban garden, taking notes on the vegetables that matched those in my own backyard, and seeing what they had done differently to be getting such great results.
After moseying around Denver for a little while, I ended my tour at the Cherry Creek Fresh Market, and collected some more goodies from their wide selection. While I was tempted with artisan pastas and fancy vinaigrettes and high-priced cheeses, I tried to stick to the produce. I picked up some long-awaited Palisade Peaches, a little okra (to supplement my own small harvest), some chard and some various heirloom tomatoes. I did splurge and stop at the pierogi stand to get lunch to share with Anthony, if only to spend a few minutes talking to the entertaining Polish guys working the stand.
Maybe it’s a good thing my garden has been slow to produce, because otherwise I might have had less of a reason to be buying from someone else. Or, perhaps this was just the kind of ointment I needed to take the sting out of my less-than-stellar results (that one hopeful cucumber has only been accompanied by a couple more — hardly enough to justify a pickling day). Either way, I rode home with a full basket and a smile on my face.