Thursday, October 8, 2009

Town and Country: A Farmer's Market Maven

I think it probably occurs to me that I am both city and country mouse a few times per day. Blame it on my birthday, blame it on my attention span or just nod it off to personal chemistry. I love both. I need both.

I love the neighborhoods of a city. I love the restaurants and the history and the music. I love to be surrounded by so many different kinds of people (particularly making up stories about them while traveling via public transit). I like that I can spend a whole day sans companion but never actually be alone. Just skipping from one shop or park to the next.

But even in my own private pasture in the city, with my best friend across the hall and a benevolent wood nymph for a landlord, I still get the shakes for the smell of wet trees and fallen leaves. I want to hear water rushing and buy vegetables from the hands that took them out of dark soil. I like that my time with people in the quiet feels like real time. I love that I can spend the whole day sans companion and really be alone in my superstitions and delusional grandeur.

Meeting Janine was a practice in never having to choose a camp. I met her on my first visit to current office. I was brought expressly to her by someone who is perhaps kindred in this town/country sense, knowing we would like each other. I was figuring out where I might fit into agency life and here was this completely lovely woman who was a trained chef, an enthused adventurer and a lover of windows with cats sitting in them. She has a place in the city and a farmhouse in rural Michigan. I liked her instantly.

And while we're no longer colleagues, you see her referenced here from time to time as she writes one of my favorite pieces of Internet, lovingly tended at Rustic Kitchen. Beautiful photos, recipes and just an air of calm and curiosity that is so pleasant in a person.

Janine happens to be an expert in one of my favorite topics- farmer's markets. She has a few of her own fruits trees and a vegetable garden but more often than not, she likes her veggies and her farmers to wear matching dirt. I am excited to say that someone has taken notice of this and now she is writing a book on Midwestern Farmer's Markets. While I may not expect strangers to supplement the process (though I was happy to), I encourage anyone to read through her list of pledge gifts. A perfect Friday process. I wanted them all.

And for anyone else, consider this fair warning. Jason and I had a fantastic weekend getaway to Michigan over the summer when Janine more than proved her prowess "in the field." We visited one of my favorite orchards because she's friends with the farmer. We gobbled alongside turkeys and the hens that lay market fresh eggs. We were pointed toward the farm stands with ice cream. She's a city/country mouse who knows exactly where to be.

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