Market Farewell

Friday ended my tenure working with the volunteers of Springfield Farmers’ Market. I completed my projects and I have finally turned my position over to Sarah, my replacement.

It’s not that I won’t visit again, but it’s still bittersweet, because I will miss my weekly involvement and the bond with friends I’ve made there. Each week I have returned home from the market with special memories and treats that would make me smile for the next several days – and remind me of the folks from which they came.

My heart goes out to our regular farmers and vendors who work long hours to follow their dreams, and in turn, make the market a magical place. I wonder if shoppers think their some times slim offerings mean that the vendors don’t care – or perhaps they simply had better things to do.
It has been an exceptionally cool summer so far, and crops have been slow in ripening. Tomatoes  tend to look a bit puny and lack their normal brilliance. Blueberries that should have been completely picked by now are still on their branches.

For our farmers, the planting and constant vigilance over their crops is only the beginnning.  Week in and week out they contend with the pre-market picking and careful packing. There’s the transport to and from, plus the set up and creation of attractive displays that will draw shoppers in. They wait, in hopeful expectation that there will be enough shoppers to sell what they have brought. I respect their tenacity, their commitment, optimism and drive.

Our bakers arrive with trays piled with their specialties; for me it’s an indication of the long hours they have worked in order to provide the freshest products possible. Barbara, our French baker, takes pride in creating mouthwatering tarts, molded cakes and cookies – she tirelessly fusses and fills her platters, not a crumb is allowed out of place.

I will miss our shoppers who return regularly and support our small market. Some pick up their weekly CSA’s; they give a preliminary peek inside their box, and share their appreciation and excitement. Others arrive, shop and linger, chatting up vendors and friends; they may find a table and sample the food, have a cool drink, and enjoy the music. There’s a much needed sense of community generated here, thanks to them.

I will miss our loyal volunteers, who show up with smiles on their faces, rain or shine. Each week, they do whatever it takes to make the market a pleasure for shoppers and vendors. They bring their enthusiasm and willingness; their energy, too, is reflected in the ebullient spirit of the market.

Thank you for the joy you have given me each week. I will miss each and every one of you.

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