It’s sunny and breezy when we arrive at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market on Sunday morning just before eight. The crowds are still sparse in the market’s first hour, but I spot a group gathered around their car enjoying something delicious enough to suspend them in hushed delight. I feel my face stretch into a grin of anticipation as we cross the temporary threshold and enter the market.
The morning humidity slows down time and reminds me of some of my favorite summer treats, summer blueberries, ripe juicy peaches, and tomatoes. Though available year round in grocery stores, the flavor and vibrancy of freshly picked and locally grown fruits of midsummer will make you wonder why we’d settle for a less delicious version.
“Coffee?” I ask and head toward the smell without waiting for an answer. Sunlight cuts through the iron beam canopy of the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX) and slices golden cages of light into the shadows. Stuart of Babe Beans, new to the market this year, is pulling shots from an espresso machine shoved into the back of his hatchback. I order an espresso and he calls me a purist. We chat about coffee as I admire his ambitious setup. The espresso machine runs on propane instead of a gas generator and makes for a quieter and more energy-efficient rig. I offer him a toast as I naturally gravitate toward the rest of the vendors.
The flow of the market pulls us in its invisible current downstream toward tables lined with perfectly ripened vegetables. At the height of summer, the tables are an edible rainbow, indigo aubergines, squat scallop squash (aka pattypan) shimmer green and yellow, blueberries and violet jewel blackberries glisten next to rows of heirloom tomatoes that beam red and orange.