Every Saturday for the last two or three years, I’ve worked at that Shelton Farm Market in Shelton, Connecticut. It started out with helping my neighbor Evelyn Belinsky load and unload the car for market, and now I still help her loading the car but I also stay the whole market and help her sell. It’s not a large market, there are only about 10 or 11 vendors, but it is a great group of people. Ed, “The Clam Guy,” said out of all the markets he and Laurie participate in Shelton is the only market where everyone gets along so well and all help each other out. I enjoy being there and seeing everyone each weekend.
Ed and Laurie who sell clams at the market are getting back on track after their boat caught fire earlier this year. Ed’s burns are mostly healed and they have a new (used) boat and are out on the water again. Janelle had the most beautiful flowers this week, the colors were so vibrant. Casey has the best cherry tomatoes and garlic, and Kevin had great kale this week. Bob and Darlene had plenty of tomatoes, and Darlene had her soaps and knitting along. Guy was there as always with his organic produce. He is our market master and does a wonderful job.
Lois wasn’t feeling good this week and unable to make it, which was disappointing. Lois sews the most beautiful things, and we had a couple of girls stop by looking for doll clothes. Coming soon will be the Halloween costumes. Of course, Evy and I were there with plenty of peaches and veggies.
Besides our community of vendors, we also have a great group of regular customers as well. There’s the 92-year-old woman who comes to buy baskets of tomatoes to take home and can. I help her bring the bag out to her car in the parking lot each week and wish her luck. God bless her, I hope at 92 I’m still able to can my own tomatoes and make jams.
There is a Polish couple who come by regularly. This week they stopped, and she was beaming over the fact that her daughter is expecting in October and she’ll be a grandmother soon. Her whole face glowed as she told me. I don’t know most of the names but I know the faces.
Alma comes every week, the “Tomato” guy, the guy who does Tai-chi in the park across the street, the Albanian lady and her daughter, the “cucumber” guy who works in the city, “Barney” (not his real name but he drives a purple car), the couple who come every week, the list goes on and on. I can see the faces, recall the conversations, I know what half of them do for work and, of course, there are all the children too.
The market is so much more than buying or selling vegetables, it really is the people who make it a success.
The hard part is I’m considering giving it up next year. My little one will be 6 soon and she’ll start school full time next fall. I love going to market but I also want to be able to spend more time with her doing things on the weekends. There were so many festivals and events this year I would have liked to take her to but by the time I got home from market it was too late. There are also more projects at home than we can accomplish.
Of course, as I write this, I realize that I probably won’t be able to give it up, I’d miss the people too much. The funny part is I think Katie enjoys the market just as much as I do. She's come with me a few times this year and when I come home on Saturday she asks, "Was Lois there? Did you see Alma? What did you bring me? Did Jamie's dad have nectarines?"
Next year is a long way off and who knows what will happen between now and then. For now I get up every Saturday and enjoy the time I have.