Saturday, March 7, 2015

The King of Cold has Departed the Ice Caves of Muskegon @PureMichigan. Jeremy Church has Frozen the Caves in Time.

Jeremy Church has an audience before his stand at our market. The cold has begun its concession to Spring, with forty & fifty degrees Fahrenheit expected next week. The caves will persist for weeks, and yet a chance to experience them during the reign of single digit temperatures has passed. Church had the get up and go to document the ice caves off the coast of Muskegon and he became a local expert on the phenomena. Plus, he talks about his art with such enthusiasm visitors grow mesmerized. I am glad he has thrown the cold that plagued him three weeks ago. Our farmers will go back to their fields and Church will return to his Lake Michigan beat, where season change will provide an endless crop of imagery for him to harvest. He's been out in his kayak on the cold yet open waters of the Muskegon channel and harbor all winter long, and his persistence has been paying off. A news station had him on television and many viewers have visited today, bringing home a market basket of pictures and vegetables.

I am sitting by two baskets bountiful with garlic bulbs and yet the market has no Honeycrisp apples, even for ready money. Even if I had shown up at the doors at nine I wouldn't have scored a single Honeycrisp. The young woman selling at Visser farm's table suggested Fuji apples. I still have most of the Jonagolds she sold me three weekends ago. Maybe I'll switch to oranges, and Jean's produce has plenty. 

I had a chance to talk to the Aldea Coffee guy about seeing his distinctive table with stands made out of recycled wood three weeks ago, empty and missing his presence. Every winter, he makes a trip to Honduras to connect with his growers, and he has just returned. The market manager, Lori Ann Gomez, allows him to keep up his exquisite stand from Saturday to Saturday. He's a religious man and I joked, "Golly, I thought you had gone with the rapture and heaven beamed up your bags of coffee too!"

The Kasza Maple Syrup table has gone absent and the woman from Oceana Vineyard with her bottles of wine from her Stony Lake Vineyard have taken their place. I shared a glass of their Michigan Medley Reisling last night with a new friend who talked about her visit to the vineyard last fall, although she had a glass of the Cab Franc. Odd name, really, Michigan Medley for a wine made from a single varietal, the Riesling. I expect that the Kasza family are busily tapping trees and making preparations to collect and boil sap. Now if I could find my Amish pie makers, Amish Bob and his family. I have a frozen Cherry pie of theirs in my freezer and I wanted to add a blueberry and a raspberry to my store. I have to be careful about eating their pies because the flavor, the texture, the goodness stops the passage of time. It satisfies me far too much and then I am only good for curling up with a couch with a book from Cindy Thoma's bookstore. I can't afford to just go into a small satori like that every evening.

The man who sells me frozen blueberries has one four pound package left and he's holding that for me. I have to buy up so I he can go home. Then I have to rush home to put it in my freezer as my car is hardly a good icebox anymore. Soon, I'll be able to cook in the interior, frying eggs on the dash. The man from Laughing Tree bakery has sliced a loaf of bread for me that I'll pick up on the way out of the market. The last loaf languished in my fridge for weeks as I ate out far too often and I fed the scraps to swimming ducks, who don't seem to mind the mold.

Will Juntunen

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