© 2024 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Food: Farmers' Markets

Fletcher Powell

This is the time of the year when my thoughts turn to gardening.

It’s all about what I want to eat… not so much about the actual work of planting, weeding, tending and harvest. I pore over seed catalogs, plan, order and fantasize. It’s really mainly about the fantasizing. I am definitely not thinking about weeding when I place my orders!

When I look at seed catalogs, I start planning menus. I can’t help it. I’m all about the end result, gardening-wise. I want dinosaur kale, Black Krim tomatoes, Bright Lights chard, and every color and shape and hotness of pepper. I imagine what lovely meals I can make with each and every thing, and I get crazy. Doesn’t everyone?

I am not, myself, a gardener. Actually, I am death to plants. They seem to sense that I want to kill them and eat them. They shrink from my presence. I know this and I try to respect their fear. This is why I love going to our farmers’ markets. Our local farmers do the dirty work for me and have thankfully figured out how to rationalize the economy and reality between eating, life and death. I will happily pay for the privilege of denial on this point.

Our markets provide beautiful shopping, lovely local vegetables, fruits and meat, as well as a great place for people-watching, dog-spotting, and ambush entertainment. I love that so many purveyors are trying heirloom vegetables, local specialties, and more unusual offerings. I love that every year, there are more markets available more days to make shopping more convenient. I love that you can get the best pie you could ever want, goat milk soap, and a four-color face paint all at the same time.

I’m sure there is a farmers’ market close to where you live. Go early, carry cash, expect to impulse spend, and drive the biggest car you have. Plan your menus around what is fresh in Kansas right now. You will be glad you did.

Some Wichita-area farmers' markets:

This commentary originally ran May 6, 2011.