For a second Saturday in a row, Kathy's Produce of Ravenna Michigan is pushing half-bushels of grade A Honeycrisps. A half bushel at twelve dollars will keep my crisper stocked up for a month. I'm not sure I'm going to leave my apple a day routine to chance. Then I go over my purchases. Almost ten dollars spent on wood-fired bread at Laughing Tree Bakery, and that's okay because the bakers will be taking next Saturday off. I spent ten dollars on pies sold by a son-in-law of Amish Bob, one Cherry and one Raspberry. Spend twelve bucks on apples and I'll have spent thirty-two dollars today at the farmer's market, a new record. I'm not counting five dollars spent for two coffees at Aldea Coffee nor two dollars and two quarters for a small bag of maple leaves made of pure maple sugar.
The son-in-law of Amish Bob is standing at his stall right now, selling everything from Boc Choy and basil seedlings to maple syrup from his woodlot maples's sap. He had to render his sap at his neighbor's operation because boiler works have to be certified. Unlike me, he hasn't shaved his long, reddish beard for Spring and he wears a hat woven of straw. I'm still sporting my green knit watchman's cap, a necessity as today has a chilly wind blowing off the melting ice surfaces of Lake Michigan and Lake Muskegon.
The lady who owns Oceana Vineyard has delegated the tasting table to her daughter, her grand-daughter happily playing on a tablet as people line up for samples. A business requires quiet time for visioning and that's what the owner is pursuing right now at Unruly Brewing. There's no quiet time to be found at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, which is celebrating a first anniversary with a beer tent that blocks traffic on Western Boulevard and a line up of bands lasting all afternoon and will last most of the evening. It's a prosperous year for the community of friends and family that make up the Hill. I had a nice chat with a bartender and his wife and he was carrying a shopping bag heavy with packages of freshly ground Aldea Coffee. I suggested that Aldea was going to plant an entire coffee farm just to keep up with his family's demand.
I usually buy my items and then write on an iron bench next to the busker, today Brian Smith on his guitar. I also take up Laughing Tree on their offer to slice my bread, an offer carried out by hand. Then, when my coffee is gone and I've written long enough, I pick up all my pies and sliced bread. Maybe I've been inconsiderate or so it seems to me. The father at Laughing Tree was taking a walk and his daughter carved my loaf of homesteader's white into inch-thick slices. She also sliced into the tip of her index finger, requiring a band aid, yet no stitches. I apologized profusely although dad and daughter reassured me it couldn't possibly be my fault. I vowed to buy a bread slicer for home.
I started to wrap up my writing as I saw a few vendors packing up to leave. The son-in-law of Amish Bob had made quick work of packing and was motoring off by the time I reached their place. I was crestfallen but I had delayed picking up my pies that he was holding as a favor. I can always ask about them next week. Maybe someone had mistakenly picked up my pies and now enjoys a surprise bonus? How will I explain the whole story to Amish Bob, expecting him to give me two pies out of the stock put up for sale. That's hard work making those labor intensive pies and I'm thinking off just letting it go, enjoying a funny story as much as a fresh pie made with hand picked fruit.
Update: I found Amish Bob manning the counter at the Home & Garden Show, hosted by Fricano's Event Center. Around One in the afternoon, he was swamped at his counter for "Robert's Produce" and a he rang his son-in-law at the farmer's market. Bob asked him to pack up and come to Fricano's to talk with the crowd. His company, Robert's Produce, was selling shares in a customer supported agriculture plan. For about twenty dollars a week, starting in June, his family promises to fill a package with a week's worth of green leafy vegetables, fresh produce and root crops. As an extra value, the weekly
shipments arrive right at the kitchen door. The demand for home delivery at that easy price had to be popular on the first Saturday of Spring. Fresh food weekly from Fremont to Muskegon for twenty dollars a month can't be beat!
When the son-in-law arrived at Fricano's, he said to Bob, "I packed up so quickly, a fellow didn't have time to pick up his pies"! I identified myself as the customer and Bob yanked out his wallet and thrust out eight dollars for me to accept. "Really, it's not a big deal!" "Take it", he said. "This is the way I do business." said Amish Bob. And so I'll be pieless for the week, but that will change next Saturday when I buy pies and put Cherry and Raspberry in my car straight away.