I don’t recall this woman’s face. Her e-mail reads, “Hi Nancy! I went to Findlay last Saturday to get squash blossoms from you and no one knew where you were!”

That tells me 1. she doesn’t read her newsletter very thoroughly – or she’d know I’ve been at Bellevue FM since April ’11. 2. She doesn’t go to Findlay very often, either, or she’d know I haven’t been there. 3. She couldn’t be bothered to e-mail back (as anyone is welcome to) to ask me to hold her a few blossoms. Or she would have found out where I’d be.

Actually it’s just as well.  I can’t make a living on squash blossoms. Buying a dozen once in two seasons is not much business, and I’d much rather they go to customers who show up consistently and buy what I have….  or what my neighbors have: we’re building a community out there.

Next week, I’ll get an e-mail from a second woman, wanting  to know when I’ll have pawpaws, so she can ship 5 pounds to her friend in Oregon, where they don’t grow. Last year it was easy: the pawpaw crop was non-existent. This year, they’re looking pretty good. So I may have to come out and say, “I am sorry: any pawpaws I have will be reserved for customers who shop here all season.” I can’t make a living just on pawpaws, either.

You might have seen “Crash,” a movie about West Coast social fabric, wherein everyone said whatever they were thinking. Politically waay incorrect, hilarious and thought-provoking. If it happened at Market, here’s how “Crash” would sound.

Customer: (well, actually not, as it turns out) We don’t need anything today, but it all looks lovely!
Farmer: That’s OK Lady, I just brought it for decoration.
(Note to readers: “destination shopper”)

C: $3 a pound is way too much to pay for tomatoes! I don’t need them that bad!
F: Really? You pay that much for potato chips, and nobody needs a pound of potato chips!

C: Look at those big white carrots!
F: Sir those are daikon, Japanese radishes.
C: They look like big white carrots!
F: (Patiently explains again that No, they’re radishes)
C: Never heard of ’em! (suspiciously)Where do you all find this stuff?
F: (cheerfully) Made’em up!

C: (has just been told how to fix Baby Squash) Oh, we don’t cook.
F: (surprised, worried frown) You don’t? You eat everything raw?

C: (picks up jelly jar) $ 6 a pint! That’s ridiculous! I useta pick berries, and know what they paid me? A dime a quart!
F: (eyes all big) You did? Wow, I’m short of help – want to come out and pick berries for me? I’ll pay you a dime a quart.
C: (indignant) I ain’t gonna pick berries for a dime  a quart!
F: (takes jar and sets it down gently) Well, sir, neither am I.

C: (has just done the math on how long it takes to shell beans, vs the price) You know, you aren’t making any money!
F: No? How much do you get paid to sit on a shady porch on a hot day?

C: (reads sign) “Basil picked while you slept?” Oh no, young lady (F</cringes>), you’d have to be up awwwful early to pick it while I was sleeping!
F: (eyes all big) Really, sir? What time do you get up?
C: (impressively) Six o’clock!
F: (Pllttt) Six o’clock, I’m in the truck, Pops!

All customer quotes are real. Readers, don’t worry: that kind of comment is SO not you.  The answers are wishful thinking, so thanks for listening. In return, here – a few very low-key (not to say flat boring) images form a realistic picture of a gardener’s life.

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