What’s the attraction of farmers’ markets? Some may say the fresh produce, others may note specific products or producers they wish to support. But perhaps the attraction is even deeper, and Carol Lloyd considers this in her “Surreal Estate” column, posted on today’s SFGate:
Even as our farmland has been devoured by suburban sprawl, Californians have voted with their shopping bags to make farmers’ markets an increasingly ubiquitous element in big cities, small towns and, yes, even those suburbs that pave fields of vegetables. Beyond the showcase pavilion of San Francisco’s Ferry Building– an orgy of organic gourmet comestibles for the deep-pocketed foodie–more modest farmers’ markets have sprung up in the darnedest places, including the empty lot behind Target in Serramonte Plaza in Daly City and on the banks of the Russian River in the hamlet of Duncans Mills. . . .
In my mostly secular existence, the weekly visit to the farmers’ market has become a quasi-spiritual act for me and something like a moral education for my kids. It’s a place where I get to show my daughters people practicing their ethics in various ways, whether it’s through growing waterless tomatoes or looking after an acquaintance’s child while he or she buys some eggs. These are not grand gestures but ones that need no scriptural explanation.