Colorful April at the Farmers’ Market

This coming week-end we will be doing our normal spring migration from southern Florida to southern Michigan, approximately 1,340 miles straight up Interstate-75, and I’ll have to do my bi-annual, mind-bending adjustment to change in climate and environment. Current place (Florida) includes April colors of sunflowers and garden produce as the local growing season is drawing to a close. Farmers’ Markets have been busy with both permanent and seasonal residents.

This final week in Florida means that I am using up foods in the frig as we balance our last at-home meals cooked with what-is-left ingredients and going out to favorite restaurants for mid-afternoon dining with friends. Friends and kids are asking why we aren’t staying a couple more weeks – given that Covid is out of control and snow is in the forecast for Michigan. Ummmm, I don’t know – except that the food is about gone in the frig and we have a pile of stuff in the living room ready to go into the car.

And we’re ready to go home. It doesn’t matter whether we are in Florida spring or Michigan fall, I want to go home. I miss the friends in the neighborhood we aren’t in, I miss the differing activities of the other place, I miss the trees and flowers and landscapes. I want to go home because whatever home I’m going to has something to feed my mind and soul and body.

The color I expect to find in Michigan during the third week of April will be fairly drab with small punches of bright, spring color. Nighttime lows will be around freezing and daytime highs around 50 degrees F. Fields are still too wet to plow and the soil will have to warm up before they can be planted. Winter wheat fields planted last fall are now bright green and there is a flush of red leaf buds along the tops of tree rows between fields. Maybe there will also be greening of undergrowth in the wooded areas of our neighborhood, daffodils growing in the parks, and flowering trees on city streets.

I know I will eagerly await the full spring color of May in Michigan, and then worry about the lack of color as the spring blooms fade but surprised when summer color comes with blooming annuals and perennials in gardens. And before I know it I’ll be visiting farm markets with tables full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

My inspiration for this post was provided by Amy’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #143 – Colorful April. Thanks Amy, and I really enjoyed your beautiful photographs of April Color.

Saturday’s Farmer’s Market

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I enjoy visiting the 3rd Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings in Naples, Florida. The past couple of years we have tried to go but it was so crowded we couldn’t find parking and the street was so full of people we lost interest. Between October and the first of the year when the tourist season begins, the market is in one lane of a parking lot parallel to 3rd Street South. When we arrive at 8:30 there were lots of parking places and we could walk through the market without bumping into anyone.

And I enjoyed the live music – the singer you see in the middle of the photo above and at the other end…

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Today there were only two venders selling vegetables and one selling tropical fruits. The rest were local artisans or small business owners selling their goods. I didn’t buy much, just some zuchinni, tangerines, and a quiche to split for our lunch. I think I’ll go back next Saturday without my camera.

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As we were leaving I heard a familiar sound before a saw them. The Parrot Man of Naples was taking his parrots for a morning outing and stopped to talk to the man who had been singing.

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A third parrot is sitting on his right shoulder.

Of Farmer’s Markets and a Cemetery

Farmer’s markets are one of the great joys of summer. We stumbled upon this one when we walked through the park in Bayfield, Ontario as we are beginning a traveling vacation in Canada. We stopped for one of the light lunches out of our frig that we enjoy so much, and then set off in search of some ice cream. The ice cream was yummy and by luck we found the farmer’s market on our way back – all in close proximity to where we parked.

Our destination was Owen Sound, on the southern coast of the Georgian Bay. JB’s father is from this area so he has visited many times – and I’ve been here twice. He was doing a good job of navigating me to the city park where we are camping for a few nights – until we came to a fork in the road and he tells me to go right. We head up a very steep hill and he knows it was a wrong call. At the top I stop so we can decide to go right or left and if I have the right of way. A car honks behind me and cars coming from both directions are waiting – I decide I need to move and JB says left. He soon knows where we are and says the city cemetery is just ahead and if I turn in…

Well I am winding my way through narrow lanes with a 22 foot trailer in tow until we come to the end, and then we are bouncing along a pocked narrow lane across the back of the cemetery that he says will lead us out the back way. Wrong. I turn at the only turn available to me, leading back into the cemetery and there is a young man walking towards us. He stops us and indicates for me to roll down my window. “You are lost.”

“What was your first clue,” I say through tears of laughter as I picture the situation from his perspective.

“When you stopped on the hill.” He was the person who honked at me. “I bet you are looking for Harrison Park.” I fumble with something about whether we would be happier camping in the cemetery or the park but he doesn’t get it. He is there to rescue us and I am grateful. He says he will escort us to the park and heads back to his car.

When we get to the park he tells us about the folk festival happening in town this weekend and the best place to eat. “Be sure to order the Snowball desert.” And he is off after wishing us a great week-end.

“You are lost.” We really weren’t, not totally, but what a great pick-up line..

My Dot on the Map: A Perfect Morning

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry
Come buy, come buy
Apples and quinces
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-head mulberries
Wild free born cranberries,
Crab-apples, blackberries,
Pine-apples, dewberries,
Apricots, strawberries –
All ripe together
In summer weather, –
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly
Come buy, come buy.


Christina Rossetti

Friend Julie picked me up at 6:00 this morning for our weekly photography drive-about. After shooting a balloon launch and a carnival, but before eating breakfast at the Busy Bee and stopping at a cemetery for a few photographs,  we went to the farmer’s market.

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This evening we had the perfect summer meal – evident by the many oooh’s and yummm’s that were proclaimed by the two of us. We had sweet, melt-in-your-mouth-tender corn on the cob, snappy-steamed green and waxed beans, and a charcoal-grilled ground beef patty with our daughter’s canned salsa. For desert I had a dish of blueberries that were large, plump, and bursting with flavor. Pure joy!

Farmers’ Market – Naples

My favorite Saturday morning activity is going to the Third Street South Farmer’s Market. This is a small farmer’s market, only about a block long. It is in Old Naples, about four blocks from the beach and is in one of the up-scale shopping areas. It caters to tourists and natives alike – and there is something for everyone.

Us snowbirds and the tourists are just beginning to arrive so it is a delightful time to walk around. The temperature is low, the sun is warm and there isn’t a lot of people.

A local caterer was giving out samples of a zucchini sandwiches. I got so engrossed in taking pictures of her fresh vegi foods that I forgot to try it. I’m glad I’ll have a next time.

Many of the small local deli owners set up tables and sell their specialties – and there are lots of good foods prepared to eat as people walk around. This morning we had the third best scone I have had, the best being a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam in Bath, England and a whole wheat scone in Oxford, England. And here at the farmer’s market so many, many delights for the senses and lens.

pottery with fishes & turtles, shells that are candles

smoked fish and cheeses and farmers with vegis

cleaver little dishes with knobs for grating

ethnic foods, kettle corn (oh so good)

basket weavers selling baskets

soups, tarts, doggie treats

herbs fresh and dried

loofah sponges

flowers