This month some of the local food producers collaborated to create an indoor winter farmers’ market, where they’re selling vegetables such as kale, radicchio, carrots, and several varieties of squash; artisan breads, pies, and chocolates; squid-ink tagliatelle — aka egg noodles — carrot pappardelle, and a pasta sauce made from wild boar. They needed a gimmick to drag those of us who love to wander through our summer markets on warm days, out of our houses into the rain and cold. The locale, however, does not conjure up images of farm fields and amber waves of grain, except perhaps for the nearby beds of ornamental grass where the Canada geese were homesteading.
A friend and I visited last week, about the time that the vendors were just arriving. As a result of our timing we were the only shoppers there, so it was hard to tell whether the concept was working. However, we did our part to support them.
“Hospitality” was the byword of the day, with two able-bodied “sea”men welcoming us, while the chief officer gave us “permission to come aboard” and asked if we’d like a tour of the vessel.
The fiddler there could have been playing sea shanties rather than country ditties. And the organizers could easily have been using the PA system to announce, “Shoppers, home-canned fruits and vegetables are awaiting you on the main deck.” We also received an offer of a free water taxi service, should we want to check out the scenery in the area. Instead, we made a cursory visit to the engine room, quickly purchased our bread and veggies, snapped another shot of local avian life, and escaped from the icy wind to our cars and a hot lunch awaiting us in a restaurant nearby. If this experiment is successful, we’ll return next year, but maybe not in December.