When I was growing up in St. Augustine, I had to drive 23 miles out to the county line to buy farm fresh produce in Hastings. Now, in 2016, farm-fresh produce has become so popular that there are two farmer’s markets during the week and a couple of produce stands open on the other days along US1.
Saturday, we met my mom and grandma at the Old City Farmer’s Market at the St. Augustine Amphitheater which features an astounding variety of local produce, meat, plants, baked goods, ethnic foods, and handcrafted goods. However, due to the massive crowd and the distorted sense of planning I always seem to experience when visiting with family, I neglected to take photos much less buy my favorite Floridian staples while wandering the through-way. Nowadays, when I go to farmer’s markets, I’m used to having or forming a plan. Thus, in not creating the breakfast plan for the day after, I brushed past two stalls selling produce and headed straight for the one selling curries flavored with traditional African spices. The only sure plan I seem to have, while traveling, is addressing my hungry stomach at all times.
I went out in the morning to search for breakfast ingredients using one of the nice, old beach cruisers in the shed of my friends’ home in Lincolnville. Unfortunately, on Sunday, I was out of luck in finding the closest stand closed. The man who runs it appeared at 10 a.m. but informed me that they weren’t opening that day. He did send me off with a giant orange, which was downright neighborly.
Planning is a large part of shopping for Food is love… and it requires being aware of what is only available on market days and what’s available from many of those same farms at our grocery stores any given day of the week. The convenience of supermarkets shine when I’ve missed out on the market, however, that convenience comes with a price and a different standard of quality as one’s options tend to be of the conventional sort. For breakfast vegetables, I bicycled down the road a little further to the WinnDixie to buy an extremely large amount of collard greens and such. Evidently, I’m spoiled and snobby because of the variety of local, organic produce offered in Humboldt’s grocery stores.
As usual, when I fly home, I stay with one of my oldest friends. Alanna and I go back to our high school days when we first met. I became a fixture in her family’s home, in sweet, cozy Lincolnville (the historic neighborhood behind the historic city center). She married her soul mate, Greg, this last year. After only an evening of being entertained by their adorable banter and a few stories from their wonderful wedding, I was convinced of this soul mate business. I guess it’s only natural to eventually find the love of your life. Whenever I come home, it’s usually to stay in their magical, yellow Victorian on Oneida. Chickens free range all over the yard and across the street. A stash of bicycles fills the shed. The pantry and the kitchen are filled with some of the best food stuffs for making dishes from scratch.
When finally back with ingredients, I got started with breakfast. There was a mountain of lovely pale blue eggs from their Ameraucana hens. When all was said and done we were having herbed grits, sauteed mushrooms and collard greens with garlic, two fried eggs each and green onions. It’s a shame to leave grits out of breakfast in the southeast.