Note 1, Tuesday Market
Here’s my one-time awkward greeting: I’m a local writer (and blogger) and community-minded do-gooder besotted by so many things about this place I call home. For Hilltown Families, I’ll write a monthly series of mash notes (love letters) focused upon this groovy spot on earth. Here’s mash note numb-ah one.
❥ I got an email today from an old friend and this was his sign-off—Think globally, hug locally.
When the global scene—wars, oil spills, religious standoffs, poverty… okay, you get where I’m going—is one that overwhelms, it’s no surprise the sweetest and most tangible victories are just that: so close they are palpable. One of the places I feel most certain hope is the place to dwell is sandwiched between the back of Thornes Market and the parking garage on Tuesdays from May through October.
That’s when Tuesday Market brings its tents and vegetables, bike trailers and musicians out to transform an underutilized bit of not-quite park-like space into a pop-up festival week after week. See the baby goat. Hear the music. Test a broom. Taste some maple cream. Buy berries, greens, jam, cucumbers, and all types of squashes. Cool off with shaved ice. Drink in the flowers’ colors. Ogle the pastel shells of eggs, the shapes of local mushrooms, or the spectacle of chocolate goat cheese truffles. Smile at your friends and neighbors. Be waved at by a small child.
Ben James, old friend and my farmer (we have a CSA share at Town Farm, which he and his wife, Oona Coy, own and run) is the beaming engine behind this swath of lively Tuesday activity. His express goals include creating exactly what I describe—a thriving community—and to make fresh, local food accessible. To that end, Tuesday Market not only accepts SNAP benefits, in conjunction with Grow Food Northampton (another tangible victory to talk about another day) an effort is underway to raise $12,000 so that SNAP benefits at Tuesday Market can be doubled. That’s all good, right?
Maybe because Ben and Oona have young kids—Wiley spent a good deal of last spring and summer and fall’s Tuesdays in a carrier on his papa’s back, there’s a real attentiveness to ensuring that Tuesday afternoons could be fine with small children if your sole “plan” were to be Tuesday Market.
❥ I’ve got four kids—15, 12 (almost 13!), eight and three—and sometimes Tuesdays are a family affair. This first week, there was a nap (phew), a playground hang afterschool and the bus ride home to keep three of my kids from the inaugural visit. My eldest and I walked downtown, though, obtained asparagus grown right in town, plus leeks, and burdock root (for stock made by the aspiring tweenage chef) and arugula (for me). I managed to conduct a little interview for a forthcoming story I’m writing (that is some satisfying multitasking), greet friends including farmers I’d missed seeing, snap photos and return to the playground to fetch the second grader.
The tween grilled asparagus and leeks for supper.
No question, Tuesday Market and me, we’re on hugging terms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!