Looking, smelling, touching, tasting. For me, the Farmers Market is a party of the senses. One of the upsides of teaching a 7am yoga private is that by 8:15, I am wandering through the freshly displayed fruits and vegetables in Union Square. I find myself in the inspiring company of restaurant chefs and sous-chefs in their white kitchen jackets, conversing, inspecting, and buying in bulk. I follow their lead as they descend upon the sugar snap peas, the bunches of fresh herbs, the wild garlic and mushrooms.
The first Farmers Market thrill for me each spring is the emergence of favas and ramps, and after that wild strawberries. That was a few weeks ago, although you can still find them here and there. Now suddenly this week lavish orange squash blossoms are everywhere and the green curling shiseido peppers which are so amazing just seared in olive oil. Or a bunch of the most delicious french breakfast radishes dipped in goat butter and sea salt. Amazing raw milk cheeses and fresh eggs – fresh as in feathers stuck to the carton and you have to rinse off the stickiness before cracking them. And then the flowers…you can smell the roses from yards away, gently squeeze the snapdragons, inhale the scent of lilies and gaze upon sunflowers…
Touching and eating things that have recently been in the ground makes me feel that much closer to the earth. As I go through the frankly sensual process of gathering, preparing, and eating my Farmers Market meal, I feel clean. There is less of an intermediary between my food and myself. I have thwarted the takeout container and the hastily prepared meal. I am reminded that the tons of concrete, steel, glass, and miles of electrical wiring that surround me can’t entirely obscure the innate relationship of my body to nature.
So take the time this week to find one perfect peach or tomato or ear of corn. Look at its shape and color. Feel its texture. Inhale its fragrance. And then don’t do anything else while you eat it. Being mindful of our senses offers us a deeper, more satisfying experience of ourselves and of the natural world in which we reside.