How is it that something so simple, something so everyday, can be so much fun. You only have to go to Granville Island on a Saturday morning or look at post-industrial city planning to see that I am not alone in my fascination with markets. You don’t really see me getting excited over a grocery store unless it’s the Capers in Kitsilano, but even then, I only like that place because of its busy deli and bakery that feels like a public market. While the aesthetic of the fresh produce is one thing – the baskets of berries and the bunches of onions – that attracts us to the marketplace, the human experience of gathering food is another. I strongly believe that people love people and there isn’t much else to it.
In a society where everything is so independent, where we are forced and encouraged to do almost everything on our own from serving our selves at the check-out line, to driving rather than taking public transit or watching sports on TV, rather than in a stadium, it’s no wonder that we are starved for personal connections. That’s not to say that we still can’t enjoy our anonymity and our independence that comes naturally with living in a city. Instead, we need more places in urban centres, big and small, that let us enjoy each others company.
Spending time with a few girlfriends at the Johnson Farmers Market, which is a 35 minute drive out of the Sault, was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. We bought some berries and cheese for breakfast, we talked to a couple of the vendors we exchanged smiles, giggled at the babies who hid at the stalls behind their parents and stopped to admire the Mennonite youth who manoeuvred so well on their horses and buggies. In other words we made a morning of it – shopping for food became one of the highlights of our day.
The French Toast, with homemade maple syrup, that followed was another. Bon Appetite!