This post was written by Alex Epstein of AE Digital Environmental Communications, LLC.
It's Not Just About Picking Up Your Veggies
Strolling through City Hall Park in downtown Burlington, Vermont, there's a pervading sense of wonder and gratitude. Booths lined up through the arteries and around the perimeter of the park display the immense passion and hard work of the vibrant community that convenes once each week from late spring to early fall in Vermont's Queen City, yet persists still in great abundance year-round in all corners of the state...
Another stops at the booth "next door," Vermana Herbals, and wonders what bee pollen is.
These are the makers, collectors, and harnessers of wild knowledge. Going to the Farmer's Market isn't just about picking up your veggies.
Come with curiosity, and it is wisdom you shall receive.
You Will Not Get What You Don't Ask For
When candy season, I mean tomato season, comes rolling around in Vermont, you'll find me lining up in search of these lycopene-laden goodies.
As soon as I saw Bear Roots Farm's Instagram post about John and his prized tomatoes, I bolted downtown as fast as I could to try and buy a couple pints before they ran out.
Queue the Sad Trombone.
I had arrived too late; there were no tomatoes in sight.
More curious than anything, I decided I'd ask if there were some 'maters hanging around anyway, and see how late I'd been so I could make adjustments to get there earlier for next week:
"I saw your Instagram post about the tomatoes! Am I too late?!" I said, half-rhetorically and with just a speckle of hope in my voice.
"You are!" Karin, the co-owner of Bear Roots Farm, told me in a voice that suggested she didn't want to let me down. "But not by much!"
"RATS! That's alright. Next week!" I said, hopeful that next week would be a different story.
"Next time you see tomatoes ahead of the market on social media," Karin said, "send me a message, and I'll try and hold onto some for you."
"WOW," I said, shocked. "That would be incredible and too kind of you. Message you on Instagram next week!"
Moral of this ripe and juicy exchange:
Gratitude, Creativity, & Energy Are Two-Way Streets
Later in the day, after the market, I took a quick peak on Facebook to see a post from my beloved Sobremesa, an out-of-this-world delicious fermented foods company run by my friends Caitlin and Jason.
After weeks routinely filled with lots of desk and computer time, I look forward to unplugging and drawing energy from the creative and can-do spirit the vendors at the market so readily exude.
However, what I'd forgotten, until the moment I saw this post from Sobremesa, was the incredible exchange of gratitude, energy, and creativity that flows between both the artisans themselves and their customers. The energy was not flowing just to the attendees of the market, but was in fact moving back and forth, replenishing each of our own silent needs that resulted from a week off from seeing one another.
When I said I was so excited for next week's tomatoes, did it actually matter? Did my comment about how good the new batch of kimchi tasted actually matter? Did my comment about the deliciousness of that farmer's goat cheese actually matter?
I think it did.
Giving a kind word is so easy, and its impact always outweighs its effort. For all the energy, both physical and spiritual, we're given by these people, a little genuine excitement and enthusiasm is the least we can give in return.
Standing in the center of the park by the fountain, taking in all of the market's energy and capturing enough of it to store until next week, I am happy to see the market's vendors doing just the same.
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