We say it every day.
We scour trade magazines trying to predict what will be hot when the current trendy feature fades away and we spend hours each week looking on line at what’s happening in restaurants and bars in cities with more and bigger and better. We try candied ginger and agave tequila in our Mexican Mule because we want to impress by giving our guests a little more, we chase a better plate for our sushi dish because it’s popular but we are certain we can make it even better if we find just the right presentation. It is frantic, never ending, exciting and challenging and it is rewarding when we hit it just right.
And then comes Thursday afternoon. I have found Thursday afternoons to be my favorite part of each week and I have been trying to figure out exactly why. The trip to Martin’s Farm Stand to pick up all the produce I can fit in the truck (the entire truck - including the passenger seat) comes each Thursday and I find myself returning with a sense of accomplishment that doesn’t come from the discovery of a new menu feature.
I have wondered if it was the back road route I take that includes a weekly inspection of a perfect field of corn with rows that make me wonder how even a machine can get them so straight that makes the trip so rewarding. Perhaps it is that the return to the kitchen each Thursday afternoon signals the beginning of another busy weekend that comes with a little adrenaline rush that we all quietly look forward to. While I enjoy so much about the weekly ritual, this week I think I figured out exactly what makes Thursday special.
If you haven’t been to Martin’s Farm Stand I hope you go this week. Go with a few dollars in your pocket because while they accept debit card, Phillip (the 12 year old little businessman) who is often at the counter struggles a bit to make the draft capture machine work. Go with your eyes wide open; absolutely beautiful vegetables are everywhere. Go with an open mind because Daniel and Mendy aren’t fancy. The walk in cooler is a masterful assembly of window air conditioning units and duct tape but inside are bins and buckets and boxes overflowing with beautiful colors and shapes and flavors.
And listen – really listen to how content Daniel and Mendy and the nine children are with their very simple lives. If you ask, Josh will show you how low the pond is that he loves to fish in, Phillip loves to exchange mind benders just to show you that home schooling really works “Mr. Jake, what color was Washington’s white horse”. I humored him by pulling out my cell phone and asking him to wait while I Googled it and haven’t heard such a hearty laugh in a long time. And if you are really lucky seven year old Deborah will be available to make you a bouquet. For $5 she will wander into the closest patch of flowers and cut you a handful of something pretty special. It might not be FTD worthy but she will tell you the name of each flower and when she planted it. She will give her arrangement a good long look; her eyes and the prideful smile will tell you how proud she is. She will happily take your $5 and tuck it in the pocket of her well-worn dress and skip back to the stand with you asking if you will be back again next week.
I bring the flowers in first when I get back. I put them in a vase and change the water each day. They may not be the prettiest arrangement in the dining room but each day I pause long enough to enjoy Deborah’s Flowers.