California Forum

Finding solace and sustenance

Shopping in south India where I grew up was an intensively personal experience. We knew the farmer who grew the spinach we used in flavorful dal dishes. Everyone knew the Egg Man, who had an odd egg-shaped head, and provided the freshest eggs and legal advice on the side.

I miss shopping in my hometown market in the beautiful Nilgiris, or Blue Mountains, of south India but find solace and sustenance at the Davis Farmers Market, where I get a dash of nostalgia with the melons, onions, leeks and cherries.

So in recognition of the Davis Farmers Market’s 40th year, I offer 10 reasons to shop at your farmers market:

10. Taste before buying. Cheese, bread, apples, peaches and berries are there for you to taste.

9. Variety. Everything from fresh peas to tortillas is for sale. Buy an artisan loaf of crusty bread, a container of eggplant pesto or a lemon tart. It’s all there at your farmers market.

8. Meet the farmer. Shopping at the farmers market is a chatty experience. You can learn the tale behind your kale.

7. Speaking of which, even kale tastes better if it comes from the farmers market.

6. You can buy a lot or just one tomato. Choose exactly what you need.

5. Eat seasonally. This can mean a lot of broccoli in winter and corn and tomatoes in the summer.

4. The pace of a farmers market will satisfy the Norman Rockwell part of your soul.

3. You will bump into a friend you haven’t seen in ages.

2. Once you become a regular, farmers will notice that you’re gone, and wonder why.

1. Choosing turnips is more important than talking about Trump; or sampling some chili-lime pistachios is better than rehashing Hillary’s emails.

Meera Ekkanath Klein is the author of “My Mother’s Kitchen: A novel with recipes.” meeraklein@gmail.com.

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