Under overcast skies last Saturday, there seemed to be more vendors than ever at the Batesville Farmers’ Market. Instead of early risers pulling up at the crack of dawn, shoppers slept in, crowding the area around 10:30 a.m.
One who did arrive earlier was Chi Aune, Batesville, who makes this a stop after a YMCA Zumba class every week. “I buy all of my produce here,” she reports, giving multiple reasons. “It tastes better than the store. It’s fresher here. I like to support the local farmers. Prices are cheaper.” She beams, “I just love it. I know every farmer!”
Aune already had purchased cucumbers, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant and corn. The only disappointment: Nobody was selling tiny cukes for pickling.
When asked what she likes to make with the produce, Aune recommended a smoothie (please see box) that is high in calcium and vitamin K.
Others don’t follow recipes at all, leaving the fruits and vegetables raw or simply cooked. That’s how Marty Tekulve, Batesville, was going to prepare tomatoes, green beans and corn. Rodger Meyers, Batesville, had just watched a PBS program about cancer-fighting foods. It recommended eating onions, fruits, olives and mushrooms, so there Meyers was, holding a bag of onions, peaches and radishes.
What has been his most unusual purchase at the market? A wooden hall tree created by Paul Borchelt, Batesville.
Because “we’re having a cookout with friends,” Rebecca Bolchalk, Batesville, was hunting for broccoli, watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes.
Others use the produce for such casual recipes they have memorized them. After Margie Walke, Batesville, bought corn to freeze, yellow squash, apples, tomatoes and cucumbers, she grabbed some brightly-colored gladioluses. “I had to buy flowers to feed the soul.”
She was looking forward to making a classic BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and also a cucumber salad that her late mother, Margaret Walke, taught her to whip up. The ingredients have no fixed amounts: sliced cucumbers and onions, Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Walke laughs, “Sometimes it turns out better than other times.”