We are just back from a long vacation and need to restock our cupboards, freezer and most importantly our refrigerator. I need fresh fruits and vegetables. We live in a fairly rural area so there are many fruit and vegetable stands dotting the landscape. However, from the very first we were steered by neighbors and friends to The Market of Marion.
The market is more than a flea and farmers market. It is a way of life for many residents who have come to depend on the low prices and good quality of their foodstuffs as well as the availability of other merchandise.
The farmers are from around the area and always have great looking and tasting fruits and vegetables. Their prices generally run one third to one half less than the local grocery chains. These prices are very welcome especially in today’s dismal economic climate particularly for those who live on fixed incomes as so many do in our area.
Walking from booth to booth patrons are treated to samples of whatever is currently in season. Randy loves to eat his way up and down the aisle at the farmers market picking up a peach slice here, a slice of ruby red grapefruit there.
Today we are at the market to purchase sweet peaches. Our granddaughter, Madalyn, is visiting us and each year for the past several years I have been teaching her to cook some of our family favorite recipes as well as others we find together in my cookbooks or cooking magazines. This year I am going to teach her how to make the peach cobbler I served for dessert when she visited last year. She loved it so much I thought that she would be excited to have the opportunity to make it herself.
The Market boasts having 1,000 booths representing 400 vendors offering a wide variety of merchandise in addition to the farmers market such as hats, patio furniture, jewelry, golf carts, ladies clothing, books, automobile supplies, tools, collectibles, craft supplies, cosmetics and so much more. There is even a dollar store, which is another of Randy’s favorite places to frequent.
Randy recently had cataract surgery and for the first time since he was a teenager was able to purchase what he calls ‘cool’ sunglasses. So, off we went to The Market of Marion to Sunglass Alley. Sunglass Alley is table after table of designer and not so
designer glasses of every kind, sunglasses, reading glasses, motorcycle goggles, clear glass bi-focal lenses combination (I didn’t even know there was such a thing). Sunglass Alley has 40 booths covering over 4000 sq. ft. of sunglasses. Amazing!
It was so much fun watching him go from table to table like a kid in a candy store trying each one on, preening in front of the mirrors to see just how ‘cool’ he looked. Too funny! And, who could argue with the prices ranging from $4.00 to $12.95. Wonderful!
One of my favorite purchases from the market was a print of a Japanese painting from the Edo Period, Nanga School hanging in the Freer Gallery of Art; Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. called “Secluded Mountain Retreat” by Nakabayashi Chikutō (1776-1853). The moment I saw the print it reminded me of all the wonderful times my daughter Kristine and I spent at the gallery. The print was the first thing that Madalyn noticed when she arrived for her annual summer visit and said that she really likes it. We now have plans for she, Kristine and I to visit the Freer Gallery together the next time Randy and I go north.
I am a great believer in supporting your local merchant after all these are our neighbors and friends and together, buyer and seller, all support the local economy. If you are ever down this way stop in at the market and don’t forget to bring your walking shoes.