Saturday, October 11, 2014

Looking for the Last Peaches of Fall 2014, Wilbo Finds Concord Grapes and Plums at the Muskegon Farmer's Market.

The woman selling for the organic farm assured me of kale for a while. The man who bakes for Laughing Tree definately said he would be at market next Saturday, hoping for arrival of "Indian Summer". I had just spent almost ten dollars on a loaf of his raisin pecan bread, worth every penny, to be savored slice by toasted slice. Second weekend of October had arrived and frost hasn't killed off my morning glories, whose vines frame my entrance way. So after ArtPrize had wrapped, we still had the glory on Indian Summer to enjoy.

The greenhouses were bidding the market goodbye, selling remaining stock at discount. A few stalls still had sweet corn, which seemed impossible to me. Mums and pumpkin filled several stalls. At the end of one row, I found three pecks of fuzzy peaches pale in color and looking lopsided. The woman selling them assured me these were the season's last. I noticed pecks of plums with firm flesh and good color, and she let me pick out my peck and loaded them into a paper sack. I was betting the plums, so juicy and cold, would fare better in my refridgerator than the last set of peaches. I ate all but two, and those two had caught a colorful fuzz by the time I had to toss them into my backyard garden near the rockwort. Maybe the pits will take root for next spring? Maybe William Carlos Williams will slip into my house and leave me a poem of apology if he eats the firm fleshed plums before I can?

One row of the market, where I had found goat cheese on sale just two Saturdays ago, had good sun and two vendors. It's the row closest to the PNC bank and the Indian Graveyard. I happily spied a couple selling freshly picked grapes. The couple had made a life on a farm, starting in 2004, growing organic grapes and herbs, not to far from the meadery, out among the Montague farmlands.

My grandparents Ed and Corrine had grown a row of Concord grapes on their huge lot in Warren, Michigan, and every fall they loaded up the Black Dodge Aspen with baskets of them and drove out to our farm, and grandmother and mom made and canned grape jam. Now let us review that irony. My grandparents delivered grapes from a suburban lot to an ex-urban farm. Every fall, grandmom and mom chased me out of the kitchen, and I wish they hadn't. I am still afraid of my stove and my rice cooker. One wicker basket was set aside for eating, and the basket never lasted the night. I took the pound to keep in the crisper of our break room fridge at work, and snagged a few clusters for snacking. Nice to have a snack by the computer keyboard that has the power to make a programmer misty. I have carefully placed a ladybeetle that was living among the grapes in a pill bottle for return to a grapevine this afternoon.

Out by the heated shelter, where the Whistle Punk folks were cooking breakfast pizzas over seasoned hardwood, I notice the smiling faces of my new neighbors. The pair had just moved in across the hall a month ago. One woman had four hackey sacks in her hand, and I asked, "Are you kicking it"? She answered with a shy smile, "I'm juggling them". And she put all four sacks into the air, juggling for my pleasure. 

"All you need now is a basket for tips and you're a busker". I told wonderful stories of summer buskers Wednesday nights at the market, everyone from mandolin players to cartoonists to a clown sculpting balloons to Santa Claus plus Mrs. Claus to street hypnotists.  The street hypnotists had tee shirts, white with "Imagine how fast you can go into trance" in black letters. One friend had made eighty dollars in a single night. One woman playing violin at the Holland Farmer's Market had claimed to eighty dollars an hour, a woman I met up at an art show in White Lake, selling homemade fudge. As the juggling woman had three balls in the air, I gave her partner a dollar. "There you go. Easy way to make rent. Now you are a busker!"

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