I threw the giant canvas bag over my shoulder, slipped on my white sandals and headed down to the farmers market. I passed children tethered by the wrists to smiling young parents wearing their most casual Sunday morning "natural" look. I passed the roasted corn stands and the doughnut vendors, and the high school musicians blowing popular classical favorites through the brass flavored instruments. I had to shield my eyes from the bagel stand, where warm bagel sandwiches and hot coffee beverages were being served to aid the still groggy sun in warming us all up. Browsing eyes lifted the necks of shoppers, which had an effect of slowing their feet and moving them in zig zag patterns, like tomatoes swaying on their vines. I walked carefully, but swiftly between them, as though I might bruise or cause them to fall if I got too close. I didn't have the luxury of being a tomato today, waltzing and tasting my way around the tables, I had an empty refrigerator and 15 more days left of salad to make.
Herbs lay flat on the tables, releasing aromatic nets, trapping shoppers and bringing their heads in close. Novelty carries a heavier price tag and gathers a larger crowd, the people walk by the familiar preachings of last weeks favorites, and gather around the soap box of the blueberry and the sweet corn, leaving cabbage, zucchini and squash sitting over-sized, abundant and on sale. I find a tall stalk of Swiss chard, It feathers out of my bag revealing the weight of my shopping endeavor and parting the sea of Sunday shoppers as I trudge back up the hill to the awaiting cats in our apartment home. I think of my nieces and nephews today, and of the carefree childhood joys and the newness of flavors. It is the same feeling that adults relive as they taste their first fresh garden tomato of the year at the farmers market.
In a salad bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3/4 Tbsp white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, a clove of garlic minced and a pinch of thyme. Add 1/2 head of fresh, dark, leafy Swiss chard. Add 3 medium fresh garden tomatoes cut into geometric shapes along the flesh of the tomato so that they hold together. Add some diced fresh basil (as much as you like). Season with fresh cracked pepper.
Christina's vote: "This salad made me want to yodel"