Saturday, November 5, 2011

The End of the Farmer's Market and Unfortunate Rabbit Conversations

So, this is the first Saturday that I didn't get up and walk down to the Winchester Farmer's Market.  It was a nice routine.  I wake up, have some coffee and wander down to the market to get fresh fish, meat, fruits and veggies.  I have to limit how much money I bring and not take my debit card because I go crazy at the market and buy all sorts of stuff based on appearance or other whims.

The market has become very popular, which is funny since when they first began discussing having a market, there were some people who objected to it.  One person in a discussion online even said it would bring "the wrong element" to Winchester.  Because everyone knows the sort of people who come to farmers' markets.

Here for the organic tomatoes

I've been going to the market since it started and have quite a few favorite vendors.  Top on my list is the fish lady.  This is the name of her booth.  The Fish Lady.  She has a relative with fishing boats and in the morning he parcels out the fish to various relatives and they sell at markets.  You really haven't had good seafood until you've had salmon right off the boat.  After that everything tastes like this.

A fantastic vendor is John Crow Farm.  They are out of Groton and sell beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, pheasant and rabbit.  They sell Highland beef, which I love because it's delicious and Highland Beef Cattle look like Chewbacca.  

Their meat is incredible and as someone who grew up in an agricultural state, I cannot stress the importance of supporting small farms and local fisherman.  This industry is being taken over by big corporations and it's awful.  Buy locally, buy from the food source and trust don't want your food coming from anything incorporated.  Support small farmers, support small fisheries or watch them die out completely.

And John Crow Farm leads me to one of the unfortunate rabbit conversations.  

I bought a rabbit for dinner and was at another vendor's, E L Silvia Farms, where I purchased potatoes and carrots.  This is how the unfortunate rabbit conversation went.

Me:  "I'm so happy you have potatoes. I just got a rabbit today."

Vendor:  "Rabbits eat potatoes?"

Me:  "No, they go well together.  I'm going to eat the rabbit."

A woman next to me gave me this look of horrified indignation as if I had blithely asked if they had apples to stuff in a baby's mouth because I was barbecuing that night.  I tried to make things better.

"The rabbit is dead.  And rabbits BITE, you know."

It didn't make things better.  She stomped off in a fume before I could suggest she watched this.

It wasn't just the food, it was also the atmosphere.  There was live music, artists with booths and the Winchester town common is a great space.  With a huge, sprawling oak tree that is centuries old, a lot of space to move around, it made for a relaxing, friendly environment.  It was fun to watch the children play and dance to the music and there was even a weekly story time, where older children read to younger children.  The Winchester's farmers market is run by volunteers, which leads to my other unfortunate rabbit story.

Let me preface this by saying the person I had this conversation was a very nice man.  I'm sure he was sincere in his actions and beliefs.  He obviously cared deeply for the market, the environment and part of me feels awful that this happened.   I really didn't intend for things to go so seriously awry.

It started with a conversation about how I got to the market.  He asked and I told him I walked.  He beamed and congratulated me, then told me that he always walked or used a bike with a small wagon attached and then added, "And of course we have a Prius."

"I just have poor motor skills and lack the skill set to drive at all," was my response.

The conversation drifted to the community garden and a rabbit problem he was having.  I suggested marigolds or coyote urine and he told me that he was just live trapping them and relocating them because that was the most humane.

My response is why I'm probably going to hell.

"Oh dear, it's baby season for rabbits.  I hope none of them had a litter.  They'd probably starve to death."

As soon as I said it, I would have given anything to take it back because the look of stricken shock let me know that this poor man had not for one second realized that his actions would be anything but helpful to the bunnies.

I tried to fix it.  "Oh, I'm sure they were the papa bunnies, because you know the mothers would never go far from the nest and....."  It didn't help and the man wandered away with the saddest look on his face.  I felt awful and it didn't help that a man standing nearby listening to the whole exchange snickered and muttered, "Very smooth" as he walked past me.

I avoided conversations with strangers for quite awhile after that and things went much better.

My wait until the next market season is made easier because the fish lady is selling her fish out of La Patisserie on Saturdays and one of my favorite shops called Pairings is having John Crow Farm there on Tuesdays.   I'm excited about that and will get to sleep in a little late on Saturdays and come up with some non-rabbit related small talk for next year.

1 comment:

  1. (Corby here) Sorry Ramona, but I don't see that you did anything wrong in either instance! I despise self-righteous vegetarians (assuming she was a vegetarian and not -- even worse -- a hypocritical omnivore who doesn't like to be reminded where her meat comes from). And Prius boy is an idiot if he won't stop for a second to think about the implications of his actions. I encourage you to talk about the joys of eating Bre'er Rabbit every day!!!