Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ann's Triumphant Return to the Farmer's Market

Okay, well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. :D

I apologize for the delay, it's hard enough moving, but also I've been having a lot of internet access issues lately (which are now hopefully resolved), all leading to delays in posting here.

Years ago, back in university, one of our classes involved doing a study of the Halifax Farmer's Market, an institution since the 1700s. Every Sunday, farmers from near and far (some leaving at 3 am to get to the market on time) come to sell their produce, their meat, herbs, jams - and now artisans and artists too, sell greeting cards and prints, silk scarves, carvings, and all other manner of delightful things. Doing this study for a course involved our group going to the market repeatedly, doing interviews, taking photos and the like. It was a very interesting experience. Of course, living where I have for the past several years meant I wasn't able to go for a very long time.

But now that I'm back in the city, even though I was sore and tired from all the cleaning I've been doing of our new place, I hopped on the bus and returned to the market. I had heard from a friend in our old anthropology group, who had gone there more recently than I, that the market had gotten even more popular and busy than it used to be. And boy, she wasn't kidding. It was a madhouse!

There's booths along the outside edges, which you can't see in this photo, for all the people! I could barely find a place to stand and take this pic!

In some places, I'm talkin' wall to wall people, having wait for 5 minutes just to get back in the stream of people moving (if you happened to pause to look at or buy something). Now I see why they're building a new state-of-the-art facility (super environmentally friendly, bien sûr). I don't know, though, as my friend also pointed out, being in a brand new facility will make the market lose that old-world charm that you currently get from wandering around the old passages of the Keith's brewery building. Around every turn there's a new array of stalls, artwork, fresh produce. It just won't be the same in a new, wide-open building.

Also, going to the market on Saturday mornings is very much like being part of a secret club. You can easily identify other members of the club, carrying baskets or reusable tote bags on the streets immediately surrounding the market. You know exactly where they're going. You meet their gaze, and even though we often greet people with a smile and/or a 'llo in these parts, there's an extra understanding in the smile. They know you're going there too. You can also see them on the streets when you leave, as they are laden with fresh goods, crafts, and other goodies. They see your bag bulging too, and smile. This, sadly, will probably also be lost when the new facility opens up, as it will be open seven days a week. I wonder if Saturday morning will still be the busiest time there...?

All in all, although my visit was brief, I got just gorgeous produce and I look forward to going again very soon! Here's only some of what I was able to obtain - great stuff, eh? Guess what I'm making with it? (Here's a hint). Yum! Locally grown, super-fresh, and ever-so-good-for-you! :D

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