After a one-year hiatus, I finally returned to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market.
The reason for this is simple. I had, after all, been following a perfectly logical extension of Newton's first law of motion: a teen in bed stays in bed during the weekend. That is, until I was bribed with a bratwurst from the market stand...in which case I set my alarm for 8:30 am.
It was rather cool when I arrived around 10:15, several snooze alarms later - the perfect time to shop and carry vegetables without being too exhausted. I was particularly excited because
recent trends in food writing had pointed to organic food and locally-grown produce. One Minneapolis example is an article in which someone followed well-known chef Brenda Langton (the chef of acclaimed Spoonriver) as she bought her ingredients from the market last year.
But while the fiddle music bolstered my spirits that day, I didn't end up buying any produce.
The market was different from how I had remembered it. This time around, more vendors were selling strawberries and raspberries out of Driscoll's boxes. The sugarsnap peas weren't in their "usual" place, in the green boxes resembling egg cartons.
Maybe it was just too early, or it was a flower day. (After all, I did end up buying a carton of pansies.) I headed to the roasted corn stand, where a woman traded me a ear of corn hastily slathered in butter mixture for $2. I shook lemon pepper on it, and let its sourness dissolve into the sweetness of the corn; it was good.
Next, it was time for the bratwurst. I edged up to the counter. "A bratwurst with vegetables, please. And a lemonade." The man yelled to the other side: "Bratwurst, not naked!" then slid a cup down at me. The lemonade consisted of a half lemon squeezed and thrust in the cup. I took a sip, catching the powdery sugar on the bottom. My bratwurst arrived. I could see in the huge heap of vegetables that none of them were grilled, like I had thought years ago. "$6.50." Digging for quarters, I handed the money over.
The market was crowded as ever; I managed to get a spot with six other strangers at a red picnic table while soon figuring out my small apprehension over the price, though. Everything - corn, brat, lemonade - had gone up exactly a dollar since I had last came. But the brat was amazing; it probably tasted better since I had learned to appreciate red peppers. Even more, it brought me back to memories of other brats as I began to mentally compare this new "best brat" to other incidents. After some hesitation, I finally ranked it number one, beating my eight-year-old marvel at the beer-and-cheddar brat served at the church retreat (or mainly the fact that the brat had beer).
I still enjoyed coming to the farmer's market and might enjoy it some more in the future. I must admit that I wonder a little bit if the prices are compensating more for higher quality or more for the atmosphere, and I was disappointed in the dearth of fresh vegetables that week. Many things have changed, and not just in the price.
It could be me, too.