We’re talking about the stuff of life, literally.
You may think the latest political hot potato is crucial to the country’s survival, or that any new property tax hike puts you in a real jam, or that it’s essential the powers that be get down to bread-and-butter issues. But all of that becomes little more than crumbs on the table when it comes to that most basic of human necessities: We need to eat.
Today marks the return of one of Wilkes-Barre’s best traditions in that theater: The Farmers Market on Public Square. Every Thursday into November you can stop by and, well, buy.
As each crop season ripens, you can feast on fresh crops straight from the local farm fields to you: Fresh strawberries, fresh cherries, fresh blueberries, fresh peaches, fresh nectarines, fresh pears (crisp Bosc or juicier Bartlett), fresh cantaloupes, fresh watermelon and that remarkable variation of fresh apple varieties.
You can get fresh cauliflower, broccoli, beets, onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, squash, spinach, potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, beans and Brussels sprouts, to name a very few.
What’s a kohlrabi? buy one, slice it up and sprinkle with a little dill (among the many herbs you can also get) and see for yourself.
When the time is right, you can buy tomatoes by the bushel for soup, sauces or canning. You can get corn by the dozens, still in the the leaves with the silk glistening on the end, for shucking and boiling or soaking and grillings.
But wait, as the old commercials used to exhort, there’s more.
At the farmers market you can typically get a cooked lunch from any of multiple vendors: Stuffed pizza or stromboli, chicken and fries, gyros, grape leaves and sausage-and-pepper sandwiches. You’ll find artisanal breads and exotic-flavor cupcakes. Don’t be surprised if a horde of honey products sits on one table, a splash of spices at another, or a cornucopia of cookies, baked goods and whoopie pies at a third. You may also find some eggs, kielbasa rings and other fresh meats.
All this in a small island of urban Wilkes-Barre canopied with the leaves of large old hardwood trees, an urban oases giving not water (alas, they can’t seem to keep that central fountain flowing), but almost any edible you are apt to crave.
Stroll the stands, mull the merchandise, sip some cider and nosh on anything that strikes your fancy. Relax to the live “music at the market,” or get up and dance. Find an empty bench, a granite planter or an open spot on the grass and settle down for some people watching. For a fuller listing of acts and events, check out www.wilkes-barre.city/special-events/city-sponsored-events/pages/farmers-market
This is one of the city’s — and arguably one of the county’s — best community events, a real chance to buy real fresh food, a great opportunity to feed the body and the soul in a single stop on a weekly basis.
So if you are anywhere in the area at all any Thursday from now till the week before before Thanksgiving, drop by and see the city’s diamond sparkle.
– Times Leader