Back in normal times, the farmer’s markets would be opening in the spring. Even though it is too early for tomatoes, some would be selling homemade jams, seedling plants, and baked goods. My dad, Clyde Martin, would have his homemade loaves of bread and their friend Tonda would sell her marvelous pies.
But these are not normal times. The quest to get food while staying safe is complicated during this time of the pandemic. The farmer’s market in my Florida community has been closed for over a month. Today, they reopened but in a new format.
They sent an email out to everyone in the community with instructions. You emailed your list of fruits and vegetables that you wanted and paid the invoice with a credit card online.
Today was market day, so they parked their truck in a parking lot. Each worker wore a mask and gloves. A line of cars wended its way back and forth down the aisles of the otherwise empty lot. When you reached the truck filled with produce, they asked for your invoice number.
I held my number up for them to see through the rolled-up window. I popped open my trunk, using the button inside the car. A worker brought over bags containing the tomatoes, corn on the cob, a melon, potatoes, and other produce that I’d ordered. She placed them in my trunk and closed the lid. I hollered a thank you to her but did not roll down my window. I hoped she could hear it.
Back home, I prepared a dishpan of soapy warm water. I brought the bags in from the trunk of my car, placing them all in one spot. Each green pepper was dunked and hand-rubbed in the soapy water then rinsed under a stream of water from the faucet. The banana skins were washed, the blueberries were washed, and the sweet potatoes too.
Finally, $49 worth of fruits and vegetables dripped itself dry on towels. The price had shocked me, but these are unusual times. I’ll be more careful to select readily available items and avoid the pricier ones next time. The apples were $1.50 each.
I discarded the plastic bags that normally I’d save to reuse. They could be contaminated with Covid-19. My kitchen reeked of Lysol from the thorough spraying of the counters and sinks. I remembered to spray the door handles too.
It felt good to be stocked up for several weeks on fresh fruits and vegetables. It felt good to know I helped support this small family-run business during these hard times. I appreciated the work and risks they took to bring the food to our community. This isn’t a home-grown type of farmer’s market. They get their produce from a wholesale jobber, I’m fairly sure. Although they didn’t personally grow all these foods, they enabled me to get what I needed to survive for now. I appreciate that.