Yesterday I went to the Farmers Market in downtown Chicago. I go most every Tues and Thursday because I love the atmosphere of the market and to see the changing produce.
I had been the week earlier and wanted to purchase some beets. (My beet crop being sorely lacking this year.) I only had $1 and the bunch of beets was $3. I was at a stand that I had never stopped or purchased at before. The nice woman said, oh go ahead and take them anyway. I was shocked - I don't know why - I've experienced kindness and thoughtfulness like this before at the market, but I guess it always just strikes me as uncommon.
I went back yesterday to pay her the $2 that I owed her (and buy more beets of course). I got to talking to her and it turns out that she grew up in the little western Illinois town (Wyanet, IL) next to where my family is from and my grandmother still lives. In fact, her parents live in the town where my parents lived when I was born. Small world! We laughed about it. Her stand was pretty busy so I didn't take up too much of her time and moved on. I'm going to go back next week and talk to her some more. I want to hear about her farm (which is near Kankakee) and her growing methods. Based on her use (or non-use) of chemicals, I may ask her if I can volunteer sometime on her farm.
Bill and I are considering taking the Stateline Farmer Beginnings class through Angelic Organics Learning Center. I think it is an excellent opportunity to learn from current market and CSA farmers and to network with others.