I have only been to a few farmers markets. Until now, not a big FM goer. I have passed by the Grand Lake Farmers Market, speeded by on the overpass on 580, glanced down at what looked like a circus atmosphere: the blow-up children’s slide and the canopied booths and the crowds. And I wondered about it. I finally I got over my undefined reluctance (maybe just a hesitation at something new?) and went there and now it is a regular part of my Saturday shopping route, the place where I get most of my veggies. . . and my weekly Belgian Waffle.
I divide the Grand Lake experience into two categories, the stuff to buy and the people to watch and in both instances it’s a hoot, it’s a show, it’s a pageant, a coagulation of foodies, hipsters, nouveau-hippies and old farts like me (this is a great place to find out how chronically uncool you really are: which is not necessarily a bad things considering how cool has warped into fashionable), kids in tow and hanging from shoulder slings and riding under stroller eves. And it is a canopy city of expensive locovore veggies and meats, honeys and jams and flowers, ceramics and hot food. It has more stuff than any other farmers market I’ve been to so far, so much that from a certain perspective it looks a bit like an upscale flea market. And it looks like it’s a great place to be seen.
Dogs, unfortunately, are banned from going inside the aisles. So, Lucy misses out. However, she does benefit from the stuff I unbag at home.
If you go the Grand Lake market before 10 a.m., you will most likely see a bunch of people like me, middled aged boomers on a mission. We aren’t dawdling too much. It’s early and we have stuff to do, damn it. Sure, we’ll stick around to get a cup of coffee and a breakfast tamale or something, but we don’t tend to hang out in the little plaza area and savor them and our companions for a real long time. Not like the post-10 a.m. folks.
When I go after 10 a.m., I am shown once again just how uncool I am. And the later I go the uncooler I get. Although the crowds I have seen are a bit of a mix, it’s mostly younger, like, well under 35 say. Lots ‘o hipsters and lots of Lake Merritt locals in lots of sunglasses having brunch or lunch or whatever on the grassy knoll and in the plaza while music of one kind or another plays not too loudly.
This is the show, the carnival I love to come and watch, just to be a round people. I work on my own, A LOT, and sometimes just being in a crowd of other human beings is therapeutic. And if the weather is at all warm, there will be a crowd (and fabulous girlwatching): if you cook it they will come, and everybody’s just so cool. Ah, you have to love a farmers market that people get dressed up to go to.
I have five regular stops for weekly food: the raw milk place, the salad place, the veggie place, the Belgian waffle place and the morning’s coffee place.
Nuts, I didn’t take a picture of the raw milk place.
There are two other places that I go to, but not regularly: the roasted Saturday lunch place (Roli Roti, my guilty, semi-addicted pleasure: roasted chicken, pork hocks and potatoes) and the plant ladies (KassenHoff Growers: one of my two most favorite places for plants).
I am going pick one or two each weekend and write a post about it, eventually covering all these places in individual posts: I like them that much.