Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Farmers' market photo diary: my weekly haul in pictures

I showed up at Federal Plaza this Tuesday morning for what I thought was my last downtown, weekday Nichols stop until spring. Thursdays at Daley Plaza ended two weeks ago, but I was told by the Nichols fellas that they’d be at Federal on Tuesdays for two more weeks. My whole damn garrison believed in the legend of Hamunaptra the Federal Plaza market so much, I planned to march weighty root vegetables all the way from Adams to my office. But when I got there all I found was sand, and blood. (Really I just found a lot of unoccupied cement on a cold, dark pre-November morning.)
And so farmers’ market season is over. Yes, the Lincoln Park and 61st Street markets continue into the winter. But my easy, joyous Thursday mornings scoping Nichols produce at Daley Plaza have vanished like Brigadoon back into the misty Scottish hills, not to be seen or heard from for another hundred years. (Spoiler Alert!) Or until love breaks the curse. Or until May when they are scheduled to reopen.
I stood open-mouthed in the empty plaza this morning, empty market bags on my shoulder, tears in my eyes… from the especially sharp and biting wind... doing the only thing I could think of: mentally shuffling through the most appropriate songs from Taylor Swift’s new album. Stay Stay Stay? The Last Time. Everything Has Changed. Come Back, Be Here! And through my headphones I heard that my phone had done some shuffling of its own: it was The Moment I Knew. No longer a song about Jake Gyllenhaal jilting Taylor at her 21st birthday, leaving her crying in her red lipstick and party dress (I’m barely paraphrasing here, in case you were wondering), it was now a ballad of my own loss—my own vegetal heartbreak.

Through the dismay I turned to take in the vacant square. And it was like slow motion. Taylor feels my feelings: It would have felt like a million little shining stars had just aligned to see those white tents, those bins of just-dug potatoes. You said you’d be here. What do you do when the one who means the most to you is the one who didn’t show? I’m not sure. I just walked to work, imagining myself as the protagonist in the saddest music video of all time. Baggus dragging behind me. Flashbacks of my happy moments at the market this summer—holding big melons up to my face to smell, greeting the first Brussels sprouts with wide eyes and laughter—playing in the reflective surfaces and puddles I passed. You should have been there, and I would’ve been so happy.

Let’s look back now, and remember the good times—from the first bright green asparagus to the last knobby little parsnip.

1 comment:

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