A post from Mary…
I think every mom feels like they wear many different hats throughout the day. Thursdays, for me, is the day I take off my parenting hat, pass it to my wonderful husband for the day, and get to put on my farmer's hat. Farmer's market hat, that is. And no, I am not the mother strolling through the market, basket on arm, admiring the assortment of fresh produce. I get to be the farmer, marketing the goods to the "city folk".
I rise early, rolling out of bed when the clock reads 3 something, dress and grab my super-sized water bottle and pick up mi amigo for the day. Oscar is a 20 something Honduran fellow, who works for our boss, my friend. He is an incredible worker, speaking about 15% english, which means our entire day is spoken in Spanish, which tends to stretch my Spanish vocabulary to its limits. He is working in the States, and sending his earnings home to put two younger brothers through medical school. We are a good pair. Our boss is my friend, and he and his wife run an ever-evolving, cutting edge, Facebook-using fruit and vegetable farm that grows the heirloom varieties that your grandmother grew.
Oscar and I load the truck, a nice little 16000 pound, fourteen foot box truck, in the dark with multiple pallets of fresh produce, and all the necessities including table cloths. We roll into the gas station for necessary hard tack…a jumbo sized cup of joe for me, mango juice for Oscar. It is always amusing to pull into the local gas station at 4 in the morning when all the construction type workers are filling up for the day. There is always an element of surprise I enjoy when this pony-tailed momma jumps out of her truck. I've never had the door held open for me with quite the same flair as I do at that early hour.
Down the road we go, to the "city" and set up our canopies, tables and displays of fresh and good eats. The cow bell tolls and we sell, sell, sell. It is a mental exercise for me. Half my brain is recalling from memory my prices x pounds of fruit, adding up the total, counting back change, while the second half of my brain simultaneously regurgitates a wonderful italian prune plum crumble recipe. The clientele are predominantly older folks at this particular market, and for the most part are very jovial and kind, although from time to time I have to cast a winning smile someone's way to try to dissipate some brewing tension about who was in line first. Or just let them duel it out with their canes and reusable market bags. I have my regulars, too, and the day would not be complete without some small talk with Fran, a slobbery kiss on the cheek from Pete, and the latest health report from John.
After four hours of selling, we tear down and pack it all back up on the truck, grab my weekly dose of fast and greasy food and head back down the road. Back home, I drop the truck off at the farm, and jet the one mile back to my house. I arrive within minutes of the bus that brings my youngest student home, and quickly swap out my hats, again. And I will do it all over again in one week.