Today’s Oklahoman has an article featuring John Leonard, a farmer I’ve frequented at the Edmond Farmers Market. Once I cleared him out of Cherokee purples and he gave me a free one that had a soft spot. He has contracts with these local restaurants:
Wedge Pizzeria, OKC (46th and Western)
Deep Fork catering, OKC
Trattoria il Centro, downtown OKC
The article is great; in addition to discussing the labor and pay-offs of organic gardening, it publicizes upcoming organic gardening workshops and gives harvesting tips. I wish the writer had mentioned how it feels to buy directly from the grower. And how the connection is evident in the way John handles the produce and lit up when I expressed interested in his funny-lookin’ tomatoes. Perhaps she didn’t want to get into the emotional aspects of food, and I don’t really blame her. It may turn some people off. On the other hand, there are practical reasons for knowing the grower: recipes and advice. The recipe part is pretty self-explanatory. The advice part: I bought a lovely hanging plant from John several months ago. His dad was manning the booth and wasn’t quite sure how to care for the plant. No problem. It was too pretty to pass up. So, a couple of weeks later, I returned and John was there. I described the plant and right away he said, “Oh yeah! My dad told me about you!” And he proceeded to explain how to care for the plant. Luckily, I was doing everything right. Well, “everything” was just to make sure the plant was in the shade. So, there you have it, knowing the grower can help you to not throw money away.
Also, as you become a familiar face, a relationship forms and your food develops a story, or at least a story that you can stomach.