Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I am in the process of joining a farmer's market group called Community Markets and yesterday they called the annual vendors meeting at a place called Glynwood a few miles west of Cold Spring. Glynwood Farm is located about a mile up a dirt road that runs off of Route 301. I had been expecting something like a conference facilty or a catering hall so when I got there I was quite shocked to find a fully functional working farm with sheep gilded by the morning sun idyllically grazing on the hillside, ancient fruit trees bowed under the weight of past abundance. Even in winter it was so picturesque and authentic that I suddenly felt myself transported from a world where the stock market was dropping faster than a clubbed steer and the sounds coming from the TV talking suits sounded like the cries of the damned in Dante's inferno, to some slower less frantic place.

In all honesty I had not been looking forward to this event. It had been indicated on the 'invitation' that attendance was 'mandatory' for new vendors. First of all the word mandatory always suggests to me a minimum prison sentence and in fact the program which seemed to focused more on the needs of fruit and vegetable growers than wineries seemed to promise that my confinement was going to be cruel and unusual in that I was guaranteed, like an arsonist at an insurance convention feel somewhat out of place.

I was again almost immediately surprised, as I pulled into the parking area there was an attractive young woman, evidently as confused as I was who had arrived somewhat late.
"I just drove from Pennsylvania,--took me about and hour and three quarters." She smiled somewhat abashedly as we both struggled to gain our bearings about where we were supposed to be.
"Well it's a beautiful morning for a drive." I supplied noncommittally.
"Yeah, and it's still better than making cheese all day."
I didn't have a response to this so I just returned her smile.

After the obligatory introductory speeches, the main speaker from Wegman's supermarkets stood up and began his lecture. I was surprised to find myself actually paying attention to what he was saying about how to price your cauliflower, unloading
unsold produce, grape pies, his charming story about tying a ribbon with a recipe card around usually unsaleable mammoth zucchinis and of course the gratuitous picture of his wife and child and finally the attributes of attractive displays. Like all up and coming young men associated with a profitable enterprise he conveyed the impression that his experiences and 'knowledge of the business' were somehow immediately cogent and prescient and worthy of attention. Still, in this context
his remarks seemed to convey an aura of authority and authenticity. The 19th century means of production meet the 21st century concepts of marketing so to speak.

Anyway, following a passable but pleasant lunch and another obligatory hour of heated conversation about the once again timely subject of Food Safety I discretely made for the exit infused with a sudden inexplicable urge to create attractive displays and to vertically position food. Somehow it reminded me of the program I had been watching last evening on the Discovery Channel about the 'Bird of Paradise' and the vivid plumage displays it puts on to attract a mate. What was I really doing here? Trying to sell wine? To attract a suitable female? Safe food? Safe sex? Was this my spring time mating ritual?

My response to this state of biological/mercantile confusion was after returning home to immediately run out to HomeGoods to try to purchase some device that would allow me to vertically position my wine at market. HomeGoods was fresh out of vertical positioners. They had none. (I would have been better off running to the doctor to ask for a prescription for Viagra.) I lept into the car and drove down to TJ Maxx in a panic where after several unsuccessful attempts to buy a broken down lucite floor display they were using for a motley assortment of picture frames I settled for three pair of socks.

Hey, life is just like that sometimes. Looking for love and acceptance sometimes you just end up with socks.

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