Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Season's Final Farmers' Market

This morning, Boy and Pompey and I made our weekly trip to the nearby town's Farmers' Market, which is something we make a point of doing every Saturday.  As Reggie's readers well know, he likes to support his local farmers and small businesses, and he focuses as much of his household's purchasing of goods and services as he can on local producers and purveyors.  The local movement bandwagon is a vehicle that Reggie is proud to ride on.  And if you wait a minute or two, he just might burst into song over it.

A bag of golden shallots

Today was the last market of the season, as it gets too cold in these parts to have an open-air market much beyond this time of year.  It was really quite festive, with the stands full of the last of autumn's bounty, and there was lots of wonderful food and things to buy for Thanksgiving.  There were the usual stands selling mountains of marvelous and unusual heirloom produce.  There were producers of organic meats and dairy.  And at least several stands featured pyramids of golden breads, racks of tempting pies, and tins of cookies.  The cheese man was there, happily cutting wedges of his delicious creations.  There were sellers of locally made wines and others featuring woolens from local sheep and llamas.  And the most marvelous seller of flowers and branches was there, too.

As I have mentioned before, our Most Beloved Caterers have a stand at the Farmers' Market, too, where they sell their scrumptious prepared foods.  We greeted each other joyously, as this was the first time we'd seen each other since last weekend's dinner party, and we had lots to talk about and catch up on.  It turns out that everyone had a good time at the party, including them.

Our market bounty

Since this was the last market of the season, we decided to really stock up on its offerings, both to consume in the next several days and also to freeze for future use.  Here's what we bought today, going from left to right in the photograph:
  • A two pound bag of the most beautiful tiny shallots imaginable
  • Six assorted, bound-to-be-delicious soups (from our Most Beloved Caterer)
  • A diminutive, pretty bay leaf wreath (with burgundy velvet ribbon on it)
  • A bunch of raab
  • Two bags of delicate salad greens
  • Two different cheeses, one soft, one hard
  • Half a dozen sweet potatoes
  • Two dozen farm-fresh eggs
  • A small bag of assorted apples of our choosing
  • A bunch of gorgeous kale
  • A perfectly beautiful cauliflower
  • A butternut squash
  • A watermelon radish--pale green on the outside and watermelon pink on the inside
What you don't see in this photograph is a large clay pot filled with paperwhites, not quite ready to blossom, and a wreath made of branches that we also bought at the market.  And yes, we really did use the baskets when shopping.

Going to the Farmers' Market this weekend felt almost like a dream to me, it was all so tasteful and rural.  We arrived in our hunter green Land Rover, wearing quilted jackets and country togs, and strolled through the market with our beautiful pug dog on a lead, carrying handmade baskets that we filled with marvelous, locally produced bounty.  We stopped and greeted friends and exchanged pleasantries with other shoppers and the stands' owners.  It was a beautiful day, with clouds skudding across the autumnal Hudson River Valley sky.  It was all so perfect that it was almost weird.  I asked myself, how is it that you--Reggie--have the great good fortune to find yourself here at this market, with Boy and Pompey at your side, surrounded by such bounty and beauty?  And how is it that you are so lucky as to be able to fill your Rover with the market's gorgeous offerings to take home with you to your beloved Darlington House?

And I felt humbled, and grateful.

All photographs by Boy Fenwick


  1. Yes, we all have to be humble and grateful these days even for the small things life throws our way. I have learned, particularly this past year, the importance of life, nature, family and a peaceful existence. When people ask me if I am happy in my new life at the lake, I now answer, "I go to bed happy and wake up happy, isn't that what it's all about?"

    Our farmers market here is not as glamorous as yours, just a bunch of farmers in their pickup trucks parked at the local fair grounds. But we are working on it...maybe Lindaraxa will set up a tent and sell some of her baked goods next year in pretty containers with bows a la Martha Stewart... possibly attired in a ghingam dress and a straw hat with her adored Lucy Westie in tow.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy this one and many more with your beloved Boy and Pompey!

  2. How is it that you are so fortunate? It's simple - good things happen to nice people. It sounds like a perfect day and your "harvest" looks delightful. Enjoy your purchases and this beautiful fall weekend. And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  3. Our urban farmer's market, all of a half block from my house, closed for the season a few weeks ago. Thanksgiving produce will have to be sourced from Whole Foods.

  4. I have wandered in from another blog and became just lost in your posts of Darlington, and your little pug. Thank you for posting such wonderful things.
    I live near one of the oldest Farmers' Markets in the country, and everyone uses their market baskets!

  5. I'm so glad you all had such a delightful time at the market, a perfect fall day. I was thinking about buying some paperwhites just this morning, and wondering when I should start them to give as gifts that would be in bloom by New Year's. Our market closes the first weekend in December as a wonderful holiday fair, with evergreen roping and wreaths and so on. Perhaps I will shop with a basket rather than my usual tote--thanks to your inspiration!

  6. When you take us places, you really take us why was this day not filmed?! I would watch such an outing...PBS, please contact these two (three). It does sound perfect and your gracious and humble recognition of what a blessing it was makes is even more so.

    I loved seeing your baskets of bounty!
    xo J~

  7. You have much to be thankful for this holiday.
    Have a wonderful one!

  8. Beautiful piece. What a lovely way to start the day. We have two farmers' markets nearby and they're quite good. My favourites are the the stalls with fresh seafood and home-made salsa and chilis (extra HOT for me).

  9. Hi Reggie...Our farmer's market closed two weeks ago (it gets frosty early here). We stocked up on raw honey and eggs...and as much produce as we could carry. It's wonderful that you support your local farmers. We try to do the same! How wonderful that the weather was on your side for your last trip to the market. It sounds like it was a glorious day!


  10. Hi Reggie ~ I live in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington on beautiful Lopez Island. I know what you mean about the perfection of such a life feeling 'wierd'. Our southern California friends ask us ..but what do you DO all day.. It's hard to explain that, with our mind's eye focused on this simplistic heaven, we mostly GLOW.

  11. Dear Reggie, Well you certainly dressed the part for the Farmer's Market and a Land Rover to ferry all your goodies could have been a scene in the English countryside rather than the opposite side of the Atlantic. Farmer's markets in the UK carry on year round...are the English, clad in Hunter wellingtons and Barbours, of course, made of sterner stuff one asks?

  12. One of the things I am grateful for this season of Thanksgiving is my little brother Reggie! You are a nice man, and I love reading your blog.

    My best to you and Boy,

  13. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Perhaps you and Boy need a pair of attendants to stand on the back bumper of the Rover and whisper in your ears, Respice te, hominem te memento

    P.S. You keep writing this sort of thing and you're going to get our taxes raised.

    P.P.S. BTW, in that previous post, you said "tuxedo." We are all still paying attention, you know.

  14. 24 Corners and Edith Hope: Yes, it does seem all so rather English, doesn't it? I believe Reggie and his ilk may have more in common with more of that sceptered isle than he does of the celebrity-obsessed, fast-food consuming citizenry of these shores. But that's not surprising, for reasons that he is exploring in a post that he is working on called "There Will Always Be An England" about how the land of his forebears was an outsized cultural influence on Reggie and his world when he was growing up.

    Ancient: Ah, one does look forward to your comments as you--of all Reggie's readers--know his weak spots! And yes, one is indeed cognizant of the fine line between having it all and having nothing at all. That is why one is humbled and grateful, and at this time of year, in particular, gives thanks. As to your PPS, Reggie let "tuxedo" slip in his last post because he had already referred to said outfit as a "dinner jacket," "formal wear," and "evening clothes," and he didn't want to repeat himself. Besides, he thinks the abhorance for that word is somewhat misplaced (unlike the use of "drapes" as anything other than a verb), at least in this country where it originated. But then, you knew that.

  15. Good Morning! Just a wonderful posting! I adore the photos of the bounty in baskets! I have a very old tall wood-and-woven slat English market basket (with wheels) that I have used for years at antique fairs and farmers markets -- very handy!

    Many bright and bountiful blessings for this Harvest Festival to you, Boy Fenwick and of course to Pompey!

    I remain most grateful for all of you!


  16. Definitely sounds like the perfect country farmers market outing :-) I went to my farmer's market in typical city fashion Sunday: walked there after stopping at the coffee shop, hung-over, wearing riding moccasins, the first jeans I could grab and a cashmere pullover. Not nearly as glamorous LOL.

  17. Reggie, I think you are a person who makes fabulous things happen, rather than sit back and wait for life to pass you by.

    I agree with Stephanie: nice people = good things.

  18. I don't get to our market as often since we moved and are handicapped in the kitchen department. I do miss that. Still, most Saturday mornings find me in our Rover, with Brett beside me and Alex Schnauzer standing on the console. We start with coffee and muffins from the shop we like best, rather than the one closest to us. Then on with our errands. Its rarely as idyllic as your morning, but I too am terribly grateful.


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