Farmers Markets I Have Known

A history of family, ritual, and adventure through food

Brianna Conrey

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Fresh cherry tomatoes, corn, and other vegetables at a farmers market
Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash

When I was in high school, in small-town Oklahoma, one of my friends told me something bizarre: Every Saturday, if you went to the motel parking lot around 7 or 8 in the morning, you could buy vegetables out of strangers’ pickup trucks. Apparently the corn was the sweetest anyone had ever tasted. The watermelon wasn’t bad, either. It was the first time I had ever heard of a farmers market.

Like most of my classmates, I had grown up with a scarcity of fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce was expensive, and often low quality. While we often ate apples, grapes, and bananas, otherwise “fruit” usually meant canned fruit cocktail. Vegetables were almost always frozen, canned, or fried.

I never made it to the farmers market in my hometown, but when my family moved to California a few years later, I became fascinated with the ready availability of fresh, delicious produce, often picked from trees in people’s own backyards. My parents’ friends had bowls overflowing with fresh fruit ostentatiously displayed on their counters. I aspired to that bounty someday, myself. Evidently my parents did, too, for they started going to the farmers market in their new town soon after the move. Every week they came home with enough fruit to fill a couple of bowls on their own…

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Brianna Conrey

Family, relationships, and life after divorce with a twist of humor. Exploring happiness, creativity, and how to be a good person in a complicated world.