Do you remember this post? The one where you guys voted and decided to send me to The Crosstown Farmer's Market? The one held on Saturday? The one day when all my kids have sporting events? The one day maybe I can sleep in? The one I begged you to send me to, because I never had been? Got your attention now? Too many questions?
I finally went but before I get to that. Let's set the scene, shall we? It's important. I have an uncanny ability to blend in where ever I go. If we are in Crate and Barrel, Target, Williams and Sonoma...where ever I am people ask me if I can help them, I guess I look like I work there. If we are someplace, people ask me for directions, places to eat. You get the idea. Remember this.
So are you ready to go on an adventure?
Canvas bags, you know I'm trying to save the world here.✓
Let's hop in the car and go. Tour Guide Barbie is going to lead the way.
"Hello, everyone. Are all our trays in an upright position? Cell phones are off? Good. Today we are going to the Crosstown Farmers Market. It's called the Crosstown because it takes place underneath Stockton's Crosstown Freeway, which is actually Highway Four that connects two of California's major thoroughfares, Interstate 5 and Highway 99. As you can see, it goes through the middle of downtown Stockton. As we pull up to our destination you will notice... Excuse me. Miss, is there a problem?"
"Oh goddamn it, I forgot my battery to my camera! How in the hell am I suppose to take pictures if I don't have a flipping battery?"
"Ma'am. If you don't calm down, we will have to arrest you. The FAA does not take kindly to..."
"Well, it doesn't matter now does it? I have readers who expect pictures! What do I do now?"
"Ma'am, let's calm down and think this through. You said you were a writer. Why don't you just describe everything to them and come back next Saturday to take some pictures. Let's not ruin everyone else's trip with your hysterics. Now as I about to say, in 2007 Saveur magazine ranked Stockton's Crosstown Farmers Market number one in their top one hundred things beating out Thomas Keller."
"Ma'am? Do you have another problem?"
"I just want to know how anything can beat Thomas Keller? I mean it's Thomas Keller, for christ's sake. This is Stockton. Stock-ton. Hello? Do you even live in this town? Graffiti everywhere. Crime is non-stop. A full jail. Homeless digging through my trash. The city who gave a 2 million dollars, tax breaks, and property to a well known restaurateur but shut down it's Senior Meal On Wheels? We have something that good in our city?"
"Ma'am, get off the bus and take a look for yourself."
I do and it's dark, loud. You can feel the vibration from the cars whooshing over your head. You also hear every dialect of the Asian language. Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian. It's packed. I felt like I was in a big city, people arguing over prices, haggling. You can smell chilies, spicy hot mixed with a very faint fishy smell. You walk around and the fish smell gets stronger and stronger and stronger until you see it. Tables of fish. Fish heads, crawdads, striped bass, and many others all laid out on ice. Then you see the live chickens for sale and I realized I'm not at an ordinary Farmers Market. This is serious.
I go around and buy grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, chilies, onions, baby bok choy, plums, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers. I'm buying enough for 6 people for a week and I haven't even spent twenty dollars. I'm in love. Then it happens...
I go to buy a box of tomatoes for six dollars. There are dreams of spaghetti sauce, fresh salsa, and pickled tomatoes and then the farmer who is going to sell me the box goes..."So Tourist, how do you like our farmer's market?"
"That's funny being called a tourist when I live in town." I shot back.
Laughter all around. The funny thing is Katie and I were the only white people at the farmer's market and I'm whiter than a slice of Wonder Bread.
Krysta is so white...
How white is she?
Krysta is so white that she cannot pronounce Fiddy Cent she always pronounces it... Fif-ty Cent.
In the middle of my own hometown I was called a tourist. I remember my husband, Tony, that's Mr. Bourdain to you, saying something like, 'If you eat in a restaurant in a foreign country and everyone looks like you then you're not in the right place. Go where you are the different one.' I did that in my own home. How cool is that?