Summer is a perfect time to buy fresh produce at farmer’s markets. Recently I read in our local free shopper paper about a farmer’s market in Rich Hill, MO. Yesterday I was on a mission to go and am so glad I did!
This farmer’s market is just outside Rich Hill, a tiny town with a population of 1,362 (in 2012). You know it’s in the boonies when Ray draws me a map of how to get there.
(My note at the top of the map below was from Ray asking me to go to the bridle maker by the farmer’s market, and ask if he could repair Ray’s bullwhip…a collectible item Ray has that makes him feel like Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones. I never saw the bridle maker’s store, so Ray’s whip repair will have to wait for another day.)
I’m directionally challenged, get lost easily, and NOT a map girl. Just tell me the roads’ names and turn left or right (not north or south), unless it’s the name of a highway. Ray said this place is so rural that GPS on my smart phone would be of no benefit!
Ray carefully drew the map above, and then I asked him to just tell me the directions so I could write down things like, “Just outside of town is a cemetery and then PP highway. Turn left.” You know you live in a hick, rural place with these kinds of directions.
But it was a sunny day with puffy, white clouds in the blue sky and a beautiful drive in the country~ very relaxing.
I knew I was on the right path when I saw the rows and rows of corn.
This farmer’s market is owned by an Amish man. He was wearing his hat and was very friendly, but I didn’t want to interrupt him serving the customers by taking his picture. Here’s the sign outside.
His horse and buggy were by the entrance. I think the Amish and the Mennonites may be onto something. They live such a simpler, less stressful lifestyle.
As I walked in, a woman who was also shopping there asked if it was my first time there and I said yes. She said there were plastic bags all over the market that you could use to put your “groceries” in…or you could buy produce by the box. A box of peaches was $27. Have you ever seen something so beautiful? The peaches were my first pit stop and purchase!
When I walked in, I felt as if I had found produce heaven…like winning the lottery. Beautiful fresh veggies and fruit!
There were some green tomatoes besides the red ones. I immediately thought of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. I’ve never had a fried green tomato (Gasp! How could this be, with me being from the south?), so I bought one to try one.
The rows of fresh veggies -yellow squash, green zucchini, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and especially green beans – brought back memories of my paternal grandmother Leola. When I visited her, sometimes she would have a big bowl of green beans to cook for supper and would sit me down in a chair to snap them. I thought it was fun. I was a city girl, so this was the little exposure I had to farm life.
I’m from generations of small farmers on my father’s side, but daddy wanted to go to college and have his own successful business. He was the first college graduate in his family. I share about the importance of education to my dad in my new book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love.
This was one of the few eggplants I saw. Isn’t it magnificent? I’m going to ask Ray to cook the veggies on the grill, with some fresh corn on the cob we recently bought from a farmer, too – yum!
Ray loves anything pickled, so I bought him sweet dill pickles, pickled okra, and some salsa.
I must say that I’ve never seen garlic that looks like this. Yes, I am a city girl, alright! We use a lot of garlic and onions for our meals at home.
This is the first place locally that I’ve seen which sells raw honey, which has health benefits such as naturally suppressing coughs, soothing burns, providing sleep relief, healing wounds, and boosting the immune system with its phytonutrients. I added a jar of that to my cart, too! This market offered huge jars of honey. I bought the smaller one to try it first.
The Amish and the Mennonites do everything with excellence – growing fresh fruits and veggies, cooking and baking delicious, healthy food, sewing colorful quilts, and making quality furniture. This market also had some beautiful, hand-made furniture for sale, such as hope chests.
There were other cute, little things like cookbooks, baby beads, and these home-made duck candles.
And of course home-made soaps.
Naturally, I couldn’t leave without buying something chocolate! A chocolate whoopie pie.
The prices are very reasonable. I thought all the fruit and vegetables that I bought would be $100, but they were only $40! The farmer’s market is open every day except Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. I can’t wait to go back.
There’s fewer things more delightful than the taste of a summer, fresh tomato. When I came home, I made myself an avocado, cilantro, ranch-spread sandwich with one of the fresh tomatoes, slightly salted. Just divine!
What an incredible blessing from God! I’m so excited that I found this farmer’s market in Rich Hill and intend to buy our fresh produce there the rest of the summer!
Are you taking advantage of the farmer’s markets this summer?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. “~ Galatians 5:22-23, ESV