By far my favourite time during the week is early Saturday morning. I LOVE waking up knowing that a whole weekend is ahead of me, and knowing that the local Boyce Farmer's Market has been up and running for a couple of hours already. And I love getting there relatively early, before the onslaught of people. Today was no different. I pulled on my comfie clothes, grabbed my red fleecy poncho, slipped on my topsiders, grabbed my camera and cash and headed out the door without waking a soul in the house. I was there before 8 am..... in time to enjoy it all without the crowds.
Familiar faces who had taken the winter off were there with full energy as they prepared deliciously missed market goodies to eat right there or take home to the sleeping family. The political guys were there sitting at their chosen tables inside the market chatting away on the latest games and gaffaws of the legislature and of city hall and welcoming anyone to join them for coffee. I stopped for hellos and a quick catch up on the rumour mill updates, but carried on my way to pick up a few items...................feta cheese, fresh biscuits, a dozen eggs and some of Joey's Thai spring rolls and sweet potato slices.
Throughout my ramblings, I wondered if this place was about to be affected by the changes in the air, and hoped the changes would be to enhance rather than to eliminate.
This morning, the local paper ran a story about the potential sale of the Market. Turns out, the place has been appraised for WAY less than the published asking price. There's a big difference between 1.5 million dollars and 800 thousand! Rumours that the market was a money losing venture were false.........it breaks even. Wish I had the money................ the Board of Directors who have managed the market for years are throwing out pseudo-calming statements like how they won't sell it to some developer.....that it will always be the market. They can't guarantee that. No one can, unless it's clearly and legally written down as so.
Are discussions happening behind closed doors???....... it's too hot an issue for these talks NOT to be taking place.
Last fall, I jumped on an opportunity to spend a full morning working with a friend at a produce stall selling for a local farmer. Set up began at 5 am, well ahead of dawn's early light. This was when all of the vendors arrived, quietly pulling up their trailers and trucks laden with the last of the season's offerings. It was wonderful to see the comraderie of this community sipping coffee, chatting all the while laying out their goods for sale. It was very late in the season, and you could feel the tiredness of long days that had overlapped with one another from the first spring clearing. There was a sense of completion, along with the "thought full" forward looking of a long winter where no money would be coming into the coffers.
The whole experience, albeit a skin soaked one since the heavens opened up and it poured unrelenting rain down on us all morning, gave me a chance to see this community's market from a much different angle. It left me with sore muscles from hauling pumpkins and potatos, a ton of respect, and a stronger desire to support the hardworking people who are there every weekend, rain or snow or shine. It fed this inkling in me of wanting to be a part of this community whose lives were so different than my day to day life, who had a strong livelihood connection to a place I frequented as an escape. This was their reality. The market is a necessity.
I also thought about how many hours the artisans, flower growers, bakers, and cooks spend preparing for the handful of operating hours. Their dedication as well as their reliance on the market must be recognized as THE priority when the people behind closed doors are making their decisions. Families and individuals rely on this wonderful interactive place as an integral part of their lifework. I hope that the politicians and board members remember the faces of the human beings, the key players of this marvellous place frequented by many, many people every weekend, and take the time to know the stories and struggles behind what it takes to fill their tables and stalls.
I wish I had the money. I wish I could buy the place..................