Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Market Diaries

Today you did not have to look very far: three sacks of organic produce were waiting for you as you started your tour of the market. Bingo: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, apples, bananas and mandarins. What more do you need? But alongside your excitement, you are also slightly disappointed. So what now? turn round and head back home? The market is your special weekly outing, different from cycling to town or to college. It's your breath of fresh air, your time to think food, grit and wide skies. You don't want it to be over so quickly. Perhaps this disappointment is what hunters feel when their expedition proves too easy.

So, you are easily persuaded to carry on; just check out the mushroom place, and maybe find some herbs... you cycle slowly through the arcades of waste and plenty, almost aimlessly. You collect Colombian bananas, and celeriac, and almost succumb to dig for Brazilian figs. But no: the bike is too heavy, and the guards might be growing impatient. Your leisurely cycling is raising the stakes, you might lose all that you have found. The Market is known to play these tricks on people. Turn back then.

Later, at home, you wait long minutes before unpacking the bounty. As always after returning from skipping tours, arranging the fruits and vegetables seems a task too difficult, too overwhelming, too daunting. You are always happy to go out rummaging for food, to collect, to carry heavy loads of produce or other finds. But always when you return home, the sorting out, the introduction of order (root vegetables in one bag, greens in another) is something you were happy to leave to your housemates; always rushing to eat a banana, and make some tea, check your email, in short, anything that would postpone the difficult moment of unloading and arranging. You wonder what it says about you. Finally, with no volunteers around (you are alone in the house) you start taking the vegetables out of your panniers.

PS: If any readers are interested in a large bag of shitake mushrooms, let me know.

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