Market Neighbors

The peonies and German bearded iris have been lovely this past week.

by Jessica Walliser

farmers market stand
Photo courtesy Jessica Walliser

Jessica’s farmers market stand several years ago.

The peonies and German bearded iris have been lovely this past week.  Our front perennial bed is crankin’ it out with lots of larkspur, nepeta, red hot pokers, salvia and creeping phlox with lots more to come over the next few months. 

Unfortunately, none of my leftover sunflower seeds sprouted in the front this year so I’ll be planting some new seeds tomorrow. 

We have an ugly downspout on the front corner of the house that is masked perfectly with a gigantic, branching sunflower each year.  I don’t know why we don’t just paint the darn thing—I guess it’s more fun (and frankly a lot easier) to have the sunflower there anyway. 

I was visiting with a farming friend over coffee this morning and catching up on her life.  We were farmer’s market neighbors a few years back and she is one of those people whose company is always appreciated and entertaining.  It’s been too long since we last connected so there was a lot of news to share about families and farms and lives. 

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She’s worried already about getting the early blight on her tomatoes again this year.  She, and many others, lost thousands of dollars last year due to the disease and she’s aiming for prevention this year.  I offered what advice I could and told her I would keep my fingers crossed.

Market started for her two weeks ago (we no longer sell there since we moved) and Karen and I had a long conversation about how that particular market has changed over the years.  They started with just a handful of farmers in the 1980’s and now have over 35 regulars, young and old, at the market selling everything from honey and flowers to fleece and handmade pasta. 

Communities everywhere are hosting farmer’s markets and it is so very good to see them succeed.  She also told me about an old friend who will no longer be selling at the market.  My old neighbor, Paul, is now in his mid-90’s and no longer able to spend long hours in the field. 

His daughter is happy he’ll be able to relax this year but I know that he is not.  Growing fruits and veggies has been his life for so many years and this will change everything for him.  I know that his customers and fellow farmers will miss him.  But I also know that he will miss them more.     

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