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(post, Trisha Coffman)
I had my reasons for going to the farmer's market. Sure, my vegetable bin needed a little restocking. And yes, there's that whole "eat local" thing I've made progress on. But what I was really going for was the pickles. And the farmer's cheese. And the tortillas. As well as a half-dozen other items that weren't on the mental list, but that I picked up anyway because they looked so pretty. Things like Red Russian kale and purple carrots, their moppy tops intact. It was right about then -- as I ran my fingers over that leafy mop that protruded from my stuffed bag -- that I realized what I'd really come to the market for. I'd come to get a taste of the season not as it feels and looks from a weather standpoint (end of April, creeping heat, not a cloud in sight), but how it looks and feels from the standpoint of food. Our high 90s temperatures may sound good to some, especially those who are still batting away winter's last waves. But here, in the desert southwest, it's very much the status quo. It's almost always warm here. Rarely do clouds show up as anything but wisps. And I never get to thrill at a snowflake. But I can find feel the air shift when I take in the parade of rainbow beets on a farmer's market stand. I can get a whiff of winter/early spring when I find bundles of Swiss chard or discover Toscano. The flip-flops I'm wearing may say basil and tomatoes, but all around me are signs that somewhere close by, the ground was cold enough in recent months to nurture all of these winter greens into being and into my bag. It's not summer just yet.