For the past three summers, we sold soap from our booth at Pepper Place Market in downtown Birmingham. We loved selling at the market (well, maybe not the part about getting up at 4 AM every Saturday, rain or shine, or the 90+ degree days we often had); there's something very satisfying about being part of the farmers market experience. We weren't able to do the market this summer, so this year I visit as a customer. I headed there this morning to pick up some fresh veggies, visit the farmers and vendors and soak in the atmosphere. The booths were loaded with fresh squash, cucumbers, lettuces, peaches, beans, potatoes- even some tomatoes and corn! The smell of fresh baked bread, fresh brewed coffee and peaches filled the air, the bright colors of the produce and flowers and the buzz of conversation as people chatted with each other and filled their bags and baskets was exhilirating.
I bought peaches from Chilton County (Although they had a booth at the market today, the blackberries in the pic are from a mid-week trip back to Petals from the Past), hothouse tomatoes from Blackjack Farms near Birmingham, little red potatoes from Blount County, goat cheese from Notasulga, AL, some herbs from Cullman and some carrots and beets from Snow's Bend Farm near Tuscaloosa. The Snow's Bend Farm booth is one of my favorites- David Snow and Margaret Ann Toohey display their vegetables, herbs and flowers in such an eye-catching, artistic way that you have to stop and look. And having stopped, of course you can't resist buying. Once more, the camera wasn't functioning, but here's a pic of the Snow's Bend booth from a past market, when we had a neighboring booth. David can also be quite inventive; I remember being amused last year by the sign over the watermelon display: H2O melons, because, he explained, he couldn't fit "watermelon" on the sign.
Once home, I went out to our own little garden and found bush beans and summer squash ready to pick. We'll be eating well this week!