Behind The Curtain 32: Farmers’ Market Herb Vendor – October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sharon Letts

Eye Correspondent

Caitlin sat up in bed and stretched. Her feet were cold as she stepped onto the wooden floor, and made a mental note to get a throw rug in town.

It was a sunny Saturday morning. After a series of days filled with patchy clouds and wind, Caitlin welcomed the day and tied the curtain back from the window.

She could see Nick in the distance checking the apples. Soon they would be pressing them for cider, and Caitlin would be experimenting with apple recipes, but today was a Farmer’s Market day. After a series of not so sunny days, this day was a gift.

Farmers Market on the Plaza  was more than a place where local farmers came to sell and fortunate customers loaded up on the best produce and products this side of the redwood curtain, it was a social event.

On the town green surrounding the statue of President McKinley, there were jugglers and dancers – often tossing flaming batons into the air. One could easily bump into friends, family and co-workers.

Caitlin loaded up her basket with beautiful herbs and a jar of berry jam from Flying Blue Dog Farm, squash and zucchini from Warren Creek farms, an arm full of flowers from Flora Organica and a small bag full of fragrant garlic from Trident Lightning Farm down in Phillipsville.

Nick headed over to Celebration Catering’s booth, loaded up on Tamara’s handmade tamales and got comfortable on a blanket on the green.

It didn’t take more than five minutes for him to be approached. The young man walking toward him was your typical Plazoid – twenty-something, blond dreadlocks, patchwork pants, bare feet, and a hat that appeared to be made from an African country’s flag.

“You looking for the guy?” he asked Nick.

“The guy?” Nick responded, disinterested, but not completely rude. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the guy was doing.

The Plaza had long been known for a landing ground for the “new migrant worker,” young wanderers coming through Humboldt looking for work in the covert cannabis industry.

The Plaza was a networking ground. Here you could find work, a place to crash, handouts, food and pot.

“The guy, over there,” the young man said, gesturing toward a similarly-garbed clump of sitabouts.

“You looking for the kind?”

Just for fun, Nick asked what kind of “something” he was peddling.

“Outdoor, organic,” the young man replied.

“Good answer,” Nick said with a laugh. “Because I don’t think you could sell anything less at Farmers’ Market, than outdoor organic.”

“Very funny,” the young man said, dropping his laid-back stance.  “Later,” he replied, walking away.

Nick could almost make out an East Coast accent. “Maybe Boston,” he thought, watching the young entrepreneur sidle up to yet another prospective Plaza patron.

Again he saw the rumpled boy making his pitch and pointing toward the cohorts on the corner, but he doubted that the kid represented anyone but himself.

Caitlin sat down on the blanket with her bounty of Humboldt’s finest. “What did he want?” she asked.

“Peddling outdoor organic.” Nick replied.

“Good place for that,” she said.

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