Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Farmers Market

     On Wednesdays, as evening approaches, I cut out of the office if I can, to run down to the farmers market.  Most of the food in my refrigerator comes from local farms.
     Lately, however, I feel self-conscious about shopping in the downtown square--or going anywhere, for that matter.  I would like to be incognito.  I am at the center of a threatened universe, especially when I'm not working in the clinic, and there are days when everything in it feels accusatory.
     It's egoistic, for sure, but I keep imagining that everyone who interacts with me is thinking:  She's that criminal, the one the government is investigating.  I realize that, in fact, people are wrapped up in their own lives, and that even if such a thought crossed their minds it would be fleeting, practically irrelevant, and based not on facts about me but on prejudices or grievances vaguely related to the government, the media, law enforcement, doctors, small businesses, women, strange neuroses--who knows?
     Nevertheless, however much I need groceries, some days I want to flee from the grief of such a misapprehension by others--and today was one of those days.  So I visited the stands of farmers who didn't really know me.
     I bought popcorn at the table of a farmer who sells organic beef and chicken, and eggs, and homemade sauerkraut.  He smiled widely, asked how I was, handed my son the big bag of hull-less fresh-popped popcorn popped in coconut oil, and told us to have a great day.
     Then a young farmer called out, saying he hadn't seen me for awhile, and wanted to show me his new market location.  I bought fifteen  multi-colored bell peppers and took all the remaining okra.
     "Why are you doing this farming thing?" I asked him.  "It's such hard work, in the heat."  He had to be twenty-something, and it seemed he'd be capable of any career.  His vegetables were radiant as jewels.
     "No one will hire me," he admitted.  "I got into trouble when I was young and foolish."
     "You seem pretty nice to me, " I said.
     "I like what I'm doing, anyway," he went on.  "It's not what I had planned, but it's a great life."
     My own sense of undeserved shame drained away.  Plenty of people carry around a weird past.  It seems such a waste of mental vibrancy, to dwell on it.
     Next, I visited a new farming couple from Hawthorne.  They displayed stunning bouquets of Italian basil and Tulsi (or "holy") basil, whose scent drew me toward their stall:  "Frog Song Organic Farm," not yet open a year.  How did they do it, I wanted to know?  My late-summer basil plants looked weepy and tired, as though they were looking forward to an early demise--but theirs were singing songs about the splendor of life.
     "It's the soil," they said.  "It's fantastic soil--that's why we chose the place."
     I bought nine bunches, conjuring up visions of gleaming jars of pesto lined up on my kitchen counter, as well as basil tea with honey.
     They were overjoyed, because the market was winding down and they had hoped to sell out.
     "You're just the person we were waiting for," they said, and dropped an extra bunch of basil in my canvas bag.  "Put some lemon juice in the pesto, and it will stay bright!" they called out, as I moved on.
     On my way back to the car I stopped to admire the dried reishi mushrooms on display at the mushroom table.  The vendor is there every week, with lots of tips about the medicinal value of maitake and reishi mushrooms.  She foraged through her book bag for a dog-eared manual, to show me the formula for preparing reishi tea, and told me how much to drink "to cure everything."
     I was in the middle of paying for the reishi mushrooms (a promise too good to pass up--could it cure me of my legal woes?), when one farmer, whom I had been avoiding for lack of confidence, came rushing toward me.
     "My wife and I were hoping to see you," he said, handing me a golden loaf of fresh bread.  "We made this for you and your son.  It's gluten-free, and has rice, millet, flax, and guar gum."
     He remembered that my son, Carmine, had been able to stop taking seizure medicines when he converted to a gluten-free diet  (see The Ketogenic Diet, by John Freeman) (see also, the May 2012 Harvard Medical School article in the journal, Neuron, wherein a link between seizures and a protein that modifies cellular metabolism in the brain now helps to explain the success of this diet in preventing seizures).
     I looked into the face of this taut, wiry baker, holding out the loaf like a newborn child being offered for the sake of peace, and I took the bread, and thanked him.
     "Enjoy it!" he said, taking a few steps backward as he waved good-bye, before turning to go.
     He couldn't have been thinking anything negative.  He couldn't have been saying to himself, "There goes a criminal."  Right?
     So I gave up that self-deprecating line of thought--forever, I hoped--and went home to unload groceries, feed my chickens, wash a load of clothes, and make pesto...lots and lots of it.



  1. Good for you. Sounds like a good happy healthy start. Especially the pesto part.

  2. 3 Researches SHOW Why Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    This means that you literally burn fat by eating coconut fats (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from major medical magazines are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!