Friday, February 11, 2011

Relying on the Kindness of Farmers

Photo borrowed from the Plymouth Farmer's Market.
A few times a year, the Lindsays play at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market. Trust me: We don’t do it for the money.

We play at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market to support local foods and local people making local things, including a living. We are always happy when we get there, but it’s a long gig—four hours—fraught with so much hassle in the lead-up that we frequently wonder if it’s worth it. Playing the farmer’s market can mean lots of fuss: finding babysitting (which sometimes costs more than we actually make), loading the PA into the Jeep, then unloading it and setting it up, and then playing for four hours solid. Then, breaking it all down, dragging it back to the Jeep, and getting it all back into the house.  The four-hour gig becomes a seven-hour gig, working out to approximately $3/hr each.  

That’s very short bread. But man cannot live on bread alone.

Pay is more than supplemented by gracious donations: each farmer or vendor fills our basket with one or more items from their table, and market founders Barbara and Dean send us home with a giant sack of booty. Typically, we leave the farmer’s market with home-baked breads and confections, freshly picked organic greens, homemade jellies, meats, Italian olive oil (formidabile!), alpaca socks (be still my bleating heart!), and at this time of year, cellar roots: potatoes, beets, and turnip. And let’s not forget, Walter’s (OH MY GOD!) Caribbean hot sauce. They also send us home with warm hearts, because we’ve just spent four hours playing music for great friends, the farmers we’ve met through the market.

I’d venture to guess that the hassle may be quite similar for the vendors. The farmers are like us: exchanging the chance to have fewer “things” in life in order to live a life rich with meaning. They work extremely hard, often seven days a week, in order to pursue something they are passionate about. They have chosen paths that are specifically intended to make a difference in this world and/or that satisfy their irrepressible creative urges.

Sometimes they sell a lot of goods, and sometimes they consider giving it all up to work at Raytheon. But the thing is, they don’t. They keep putting up with the hassle of making their own way in this world, not because it’s a laugh a minute (it’s not) and not because they’re getting rich from it (they’re not), but because they are deeply emotionally committed to doing something that matters.

Pursuing their passion is hard work punctuated by occasional moments of immense joy that outweigh the sweat and toil. They hurt their backs…but they also laugh, they revel, and they dance inside. Every day, they prove that old adage: nothing that matters in this world comes easy.

The Lindsays thank yesterday’s farmer’s market vendors for sending us home with a beautiful handmade market basket full to overflowing with fresh foods and handmade treasures. That basket left us with full hearts—and that will continue to feed us until long after the last lost beet is found shriveled up in the bottom bin of our fridge.

They’ve given us lettuce and love. And we are immensely appreciative.

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