Fun at the Farmer’s Market
Immerse Yourself in Our Local Culture
article by Cindy G. Foust
And just like that… it’s August. A month that represents many things, particularly the end of summer and the start of the new school year. Oh. And my birthday. It’s funny, even after the rather challenging first part of the year that I had, I still don’t feel my age. And I certainly don’t act it; just ask my children who routinely walk in the kitchen where good food is cooking and their mom is break dancing. Just kidding… but I am usually dancing to some Bee Gees. Or Hall and Oats.
Anyway, August at BayouLife also includes the food issue, which if I am totally honest, and I always try to be, is my jam. Just editing the pages of this month’s magazine fill my heart with joy and song… all the beautiful pictures make it a culinary adventure making me want to rush out to the featured restaurants.
I’ve been tweaking my diet as of late… just something I have become more convicted of over the last year, so the featured dishes this month that include the fruits and vegetables are really like Eutopia. I have encouraged my readers over the years, in fact as recently as last month, to get in the kitchen with your children. To me, as hokey as it may sound, the kitchen is truly the heart of the home.
How so? My son paid me a compliment of the highest nature recently when he said, “I love opening the door to our house and the first thing I smell is dinner. I don’t even care what it is, I just love the smell of our house.” Okay…some of you may be thinking I need to lay off the Little House on the Prairie, but those kinds of comments give me chills. And motivate me to always have something really special going for dinner. Well, at least one night a week, anyway.
I’ve also written for years about my love for cooking and that I am constantly researching new recipes. That’s kind of my hobby, since I don’t really do anything else. Plus, I love opening my kitchen to those that I love the most.
My son, has fallen into a sort of culinary abyss with me and Scott, and I love that even more. He has also gotten into the habit of researching and studying recipes and actually does some grocery shopping for us. Which is why we have four different cabinets for spices! That we use once. But grocery shopping is something that we also love to do, especially this time of year at the Farmer’s Market, and last Saturday was the day.
Listen, readers, this is a perfect outing for you and your kids and even though I was by myself most of the time, it was so much fun. The first thing we have to consider is that we are supporting local businesses, even if they are seasonal. I wish the Farmer’s Market was open year round, but hey, what can we grow during the Snowcopolypse? Ice cubes? But right now, in the heart of the summer, you can get some treasures and on Saturday, I got very caught up in the experience.
For instance, I started at the Monroe Farmer’s Market and the minute you get out of the car, you are met with warm wishes and fanfare. Honestly, they couldn’t do enough for me, and even offered to wash my red potatoes, that clearly had just come out of the ground! There’s something really earthy and real about the whole farm to table mindset. It’s just clean eating. I also left with the best cantaloupe I’ve ever eaten…and that’s a high mark!
My next stop was the West Monroe Farmer’s Market and since I haven’t been this year yet, I was pleasantly surprised at the number and variety of vendors that were there. My favorite was this little Zig Zigler salesgirl who hit me up immediately for homemade cookie dough. Here’s how her sales pitch went: Me: What you selling today? Her: Homemade cookie dough. Me: Really? Like I don’t have to make it up? I just scoop it out and bake? Her: Yes mam… and if you buy it from me, I get to go on vacation. This is our vacation fund. Me: Ring it up, sister. So cute and fun!
I also bought some very good marinara sauce for spaghetti or Eggplant Parmesan. I was able to taste it from her samples and it was so delicious… like with fresh ingredients and oh so yummy. I turned my back and found someone literally unloading blueberries that they had just picked. So sweet and so full of flavor. I’m going to be brilliant from all that brain food. Then there was the “bread lady” who has the best honey oat loaf I’ve ever eaten. Her tomato basil loaf was a close second but the petit fours stole the show.
Yes, the hustle and bustle at the Farmer’s Market made me feel close to my community again. Seeing people you know, listening to conversations with vendors who can tell you right when the produce was picked…kids running around… eating samples of different products… I felt sort of normal again. And we all had a collective sigh of relief.
My favorite part was the lady dancing to Phil Collins “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” in the parking lot, like she was at a concert. She was happy and she made me happy. I really think we are all so “happy” to just be out basking in the warmth of our community that a day at the Farmer’s Market seems like a vacation.
And my fun didn’t stop there. I scooped up my daughter and my niece and went on an “adventure” to Indian Village Farm…and you can scoop up your children and do the same. Quaint. Country. Refreshing. All of these describe this experience and because we are featuring them this month, I don’t really consider this an advertisement for them. I consider it encouragement to take your kids to the country.
The homemade peach ice cream gets a high recommendation, as does the okra and squash and cherry tomatoes. Your kids can play on the playground “while you shop” and visit with the pet goats. I personally think they need a pet donkey, too, but hey, I’m just partial to donkeys. And they didn’t ask me what animals I thought they should have at their petting zoo.
All in all, it was a great day to be out exploring, on an adventure and I would encourage you to do the same! It’s a great way to support our local farmers, get your kids out of the house and a chance to buy some really special food to prepare for your family. It’s a win-win…especially when you get your dinner prepared that night and it just happens to be mashed potatoes, butterbeans, squash and onions and fresh tomatoes.
Is your mouth watering yet? If so, then grab those kids and go, readers, and thank me later. It’s a wonderful season of the year and it passes so quickly. Because before you know it, we will be staring the holidays in the face and pulling out the Christmas trees…and the dog days of summer will be by us again. But while it’s here, immerse yourself in our local culture and enjoy all the wonderful culinary offerings we are so fortunate to have.
Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life, parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.