It was a week of travel, most of it in California: Carmichael, Chula vista, Escondido, Hollywood, Bakersfield, Mountain View, Richmond, and Arcata. Dave and I call it the western swing–his monthly review of construction projects in Arizona, California, Washington. As I list the towns and think back on the flights and rental cars I realize why I was tired yesterday, my first day back at home.
It was Tuesday, the morning I make my weekly trip to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. I try not to miss it, especially at the height of the season. If for no other reason, I would drag my sleep-deprived self down to the open air market at the Railyard for the tomatoes. They come in every shape and color: pear, cherry, plum, bright orange, dark purplish-red, and green-striped. Some, the best ones I think, are downright ugly, misshapen and split, bearing no apparent relationship to the perfect round specimens at the supermarket.
On my short drive to the market, trying to figure out why I felt so jet lagged after traveling from only one time zone to another, I realized that I had hurried out of the house without my usual mug of espresso laced with milk.
No time to turn back, I started through the row of tables making purchases, first, white corn and roasted green chile. Next, a quick stop at the indoor market for a cup of strong black coffee. I was starting to wake up, but struggling to juggle a cumbersome bag full of produce (I should have saved the corn for last) and a hot paper cup. I made quick work of the rest of it, not belaboring my selections: a basket of mixed cherry tomatoes, a head of Bibb lettuce, a bunch of scallions, a container of tiny raspberries and four glossy, dark green poblano peppers. I had a list when I left the house, but had no idea where it was or if I had gotten what I came for (except, of course, the tomatoes).
Just before walking back to the car with my heavy load I decided that I had to have green beans. Soon they’d be gone and I’d regret that I didn’t buy them when I had the chance. I hesitated, not wanting to walk back through the market, but then I spotted him, a farmer in a big straw hat, spray bottle in hand, spritzing the beans, onions, and squash at a nearby table. He had a couple of different kinds of string beans, but I was attracted to the long green beans with purple streaks. Rattlesnake beans.
Feeling more sociable after a half a cup of Guatemalan dark roast I asked about the the beans. A lot like green beans, he said, the streaks disappear when cooked, but they are more hardy, not as easily overcooked–a bonus given my usual distracted state. So, how do you cook them, I asked, and he replied that he sautees them. In olive oil? At this he looked a little sheepish. When he is trying to be healthy, yes olive oil, but his preference is butter or bacon fat. Sold.
We wished each other a good day after we made the trade, rattlesnake beans and advice in exchange for a few dollars. As I turned to leave I noticed that his teal blue nail polish matched his shirt perfectly.
It’s good to be back home.