Farmer's Markets, a Joy of Life
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 by Frank Shortt
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Sunday mornings are a joy to me as I look forward to the Farmerís Markets. Not many outings offer the variety of sights and sounds that these markets produce. One just has to experience one in order to really understand the uniqueness of them.

I usually arrive very early, sometimes before all the vendors have set up, to the sounds of all the vendors setting up their booths. Greetings can be heard resounding all over the place as the vendors remember each other from the week before. There are fruit and vegetable vendors from Modesto, Sacramento, Hughson, Gilroy, Watsonville and some others with whom I have not become familiar. One can purchase Kettle Korn, varieties of Asian foods, Greek cuisine, a variety of breads, fresh canned preserves, etc. One vendor from Gilroy brings a variety of fresh mushrooms and does a thriving business throughout the day.

Soon the sounds of music wafts across the plaza and older couples can be seen doing dance/exercise by the fountain. There are many costumes represented at these dances. The musical pieces are usually of an Asian persuasion and the couples keep perfect time to the music. If there are not enough gentlemen to go around it is not unusual to see two ladies dancing together. The dancing is a sight unto itself.

Music is provided throughout the day by street musicians who set up their equipment in the early hours. These musicians depend upon donations from the visitors for their wages. Some play Rock and Roll, some Folk, some Country, some Mexican folk songs and once in a while one is treated to some classical music. Speaking of classical, sometimes there is an elderly Korean man who comes most of the time and plays his violin throughout the morning. He is a very accomplished musician and not appreciated by most of the visitors who are in a hurry to see which vendor has the best prices.

It is a joy to see young mothers delving into the spinach, squash, greens of all kinds, sugar peas, onions, cucumbers, radishes of all varieties, green beans and fruit in season. It is nice to know that some folks actually cook a home cooked meal for their families. What better way than to get the crops directly from the field. My mouth waters as I think of all the different foods being prepared by these cooks from around the world. This might sound like a plug for farming, but what better industry to plug. Without the farmers that are left, our food supply would dwindle considerably! Farmers have had to fight tooth and nail to make ends meet during these hard times!

The amazing thing about Farmerís Markets is the variety of ethnic groups that attend. There can be seen every type of dress which would be native to their particular country or region. It is a joy to see so many different nationalities enjoying the same outing and actually enjoying each otherís company. Greetings can be heard throughout the day in Farsi, Tagalog, Hindi, Mandarin, Korean, etc. etc, whether understood or not, but warm greetings nonetheless. A Farmerís Market could be a prototype for every city, nation and country as an example of multi-ethnic cooperation. Even with the pandemic we are experiencing in the world, the Farmerís Markets continue to try to serve the public. The majority practice social distancing, wearing masks, while doing their best to serve their faithful customers.

Most cities and towns have a F.M. in one form or another. Why not support our farmers in their efforts and at the same time provide your families with healthy foods and entertainment!

 I look forward to the next one.