Santa Fe Farmers’ Market

in Essays

 Santa Fe Farmers MarketI’m not sure it’s pos­si­ble to fall in love with a town—towns are not gen­er­ally very responsive—but if it is pos­si­ble to fall in love with an aspect of a town, for me it’s our local farm­ers’ market.

Started years ago on a dusty cor­ner, with out­door stalls that were exposed to all kinds of weather, the mar­ket moved recently after vig­or­ous fundrais­ing to a hand­some new shed-like struc­ture in the Santa Fe rai­l­yard; the old sta­tion and the trains of the Santa Fe Southern are nearby, and our new com­muter train, the Railrunner, rat­tles by in the early morn­ing on its way to Albuquerque.

Trains, fruits, veg­eta­bles, free range chick­ens and eggs, grass-fed beef, local sheep’s wool dyed with nat­ural col­ors, as well as pre­serves, dips, hats, bags, wil­low fur­ni­ture and assorted musi­cians singing and play­ing gui­tars make the place as lively as a bee­hive every Saturday morn­ing. Prices for organic food are always high, but we do have a food stamp pro­gram although as our soci­ety splin­ters fur­ther and fur­ther apart, all the peo­ple throng­ing into the mar­ket look well-heeled. Santa Fe Farmers Market

We don’t plant, or spin, or weave, we buy­ers, but at least we are able to appre­ci­ate the labor of those who do; the only sal­va­tion, it seem to me, is work, and the work of the hands, backs and shoul­ders of those who farm this dif­fi­cult soil—dry, sandy and like­lier to become drier and sandier still as cli­mate change scorches the southwest—seems for an hour or so to con­nect me to an older way.

It is of course some­thing of a delu­sion, as I real­ize when I look at my refrig­er­a­tor drawer full of of four kinds of apples I may not ever use (my com­poster comes in handy). But the mar­ket gives an hour of surcease from the tech­no­log­i­cal jun­gle we inhabit, the jan­gling, buzzing, glar­ing screens, the mosquito-drill of the cell phones, the bland stare of Ipads—all gad­gets that increase our isolation.

It’s hard to feel iso­lated around egg­plants and toma­toes and the peo­ple who grow them, as, years ago, I found a source of con­so­la­tion in an avo­cado pit reluc­tantly putting out shoots in a glass of water.

View all of Sallie's online writing in her archives.

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