• Ginger Dawson

Covington Farmer's Market

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

Twenty sixteen has been a year of firsts for me. It’s the first year in many that I haven’t been consumed with business concerns. It’s the first year I’ve had the time to garden in the way that I like. It’s the first year I’ve taken a spot in a community garden. And, perhaps most shocking--it’s the first year that I’ve been to Covington’s Farmer’s Market.

Over the years, I’ve not been to many farmer’s markets. I didn’t need to go because, well, I’ve got more than I can eat already in my own back yard. So, what would be the point?

And then there’s this little detail--I had it in my head that the produce being offered up must be the results of the attending vendor’s expertise and hard work. This is not always the case. On that rare occasion when I did check one out, just a casual inquiry about variety and harvest dates was sometimes met with a blank stare, or a dodgy fabrication. I figured out that is was possible for someone to go to a produce wholesaler and buy inventory and just pass it off as the fruit of one’s own labors!

Of course, this completely offended me, and consequently soured me on the whole idea. I am a purist. When I buy produce, I want the person who had their hands in the dirt to take my money. Keep the dirt where the dirt belongs.

This cranky attitude coupled with my perpetual Saturday work schedule kept me from attending farmer’s markets, which generally occur on that day.

This year, too much free time took me in another direction. I had nothing to keep me off of the streets. I wandered into new territories. Back alleys. People’s yards. Chicken coops. Goat paths. I met new people. They led me to new places.

My friend Holly, who is the seed-starting queen of Westside, raises plants as a fundraiser for her neighborhood organization. After the plant sale that was held (which was very successful, I might add), she took the leftovers to sell at Covington’s Farmer’s Market. Like the old Shake ‘N Bake commercial says “and I helped!” I run the risk that probably 65% of you reading this won’t get that reference. So be it.

Anyway, that’s what got me to the farmer’s market for the first time. This event in my life was coupled with the running of the Goebel Goats to celebrate the opening day of the market season. The goats, due to their own special turn of temperament, turned out to be an international sensation. And I, due to my own special turn of temperament, enjoyed every minute of it. I know I keep carrying on about this event, but it was just that spectacular.

Because of this first stellar experience, I was lured back. Now mind you, I knew that there wouldn’t be the rogue chaos of my first visit. Back to earth with just being excited about vegetables. This is not a stretch for me, as I do have a geekish capacity for get worked-up over produce.

My later visits were very pleasant. I ran into some acquaintances from careers past, who are now engaged in the gardening business.

I met a few of the other vendors, too. I like gardening people. We are a non-conformist bunch. We have ideas and attitudes and philosophies about food that are very personal—and can be quite strongly defended or countered when not in agreement. Gardening seems to bring to it people who are deeply affected by a very individualistic, visceral, and sometimes intellectual attitude about food. I think, too, that we spend a lot of time alone gardening, and that just furthers our cussed streaks. It matters to us. This is why I was so put off with the wholesaler produce I discovered at a few markets in past experiences.

I was very heartened by my experience with our market. May I be the first to trumpet the authenticity of Covington’s Farmer’s Market! There is not a bait-and-switcher in the bunch. All of the vendors, whether it be produce, soaps, pottery, jewelry, bread, pastry, chickens, eggs, bedding plants—all are the efforts of that particular vendors handiwork. Ok, except the book vendor. But that’s completely understandable.

A real testament is this—I actually bought some stuff: Beets, green beans, a free-range chicken, eggs, and some specially formulated poison ivy soap (which I desperately need).

Janet Tobler, the poultry mistress of Westside, and Gus Wolf, Covington’s alpha goat-herder, are in charge of the market. They are ever-present, milling around, answering

questions and making sure that customers and vendors are happy. We have an excellent market because of their efforts.

I also see these two sometimes when I am in the Riddle-Yates community garden, checking my tomatoes. Janet, tending to her flock, and Gus, peddling his singular transport tricycle through the neighborhood with kid and tools on

board, are a familiar sight in Covington. The two of them, as individuals, are probably the very best selling point that Covington Farmer’s Market has.

Do yourself and favor and head over there on Saturday morning. Covington is fortunate to have such an excellent market. It’s the real deal.

Covington Farmer’s Market-Saturdays 9:00 to 1:00 a.m.

#covington #farmersmarket #goats

Copyright 2016 Ginger Dawson

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