CLINE: Farmers market offers slice of life

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

We all have different views on the world, but time and again I'm reminded that the view from the periphery is always interesting. One of those times is during a weekly visit to the farmers market.

Suwanee is my market of choice, and my vantage point is generally a little ways from the main action and interaction. My duty on farmers market Saturday is dog detail, which consists of keeping the dog (and thereby me) out of trouble and out of the way. I'm not a man of many skills, but I have proven record of A., being able to stand still and B., very rarely dropping the leash.

These skills have allowed me to retain my dog duty (that and the fact there's no one else to do it), which in turn gives me a nice perspective on the market. Instead of noticing that Farmer A has a new kind of kale (you should be up on this stuff, it's a new "super food," don't you know) or that Goat Cheese Guy has a new flavor (Goat cheese? I thought the same thing, but it really is pretty good) I notice the people.

As people watching goes, this isn't Mecca (that would be the Gwinnett County Fair), but it is fun. In between letting children play with the dog (I've thought about opening my own booth: Pet My Dog for a $1) I like to check out the wide array of T-shirts (college-centric in the fall, places folks have vacationed in the summer) and the variety of people wearing said T-shirts. People are not in a hurry at the farmers market; there is a lot of perusing items, which makes it easy to do the same with the perusers.

Though the people change from week to week, the recurring cast is the farmers (loose term) themselves. There is the gregarious barbecue sauce salesman, whose personality seems like it could sell anything, the solid and Midwestern-like fellow who will sell you a steak every bit as good as one you'd buy at a restaurant, and the bandanna-wearing produce guy who has heads of lettuce as large as your, er, head.

Throw a wacky next-door neighbor in the mix and you've got yourself a Suwanee sitcom. Or maybe the next Food Network reality show.

On average, you see five or six cute kids, a couple of cool dogs and at least one person who makes you wonder if they have a mirror in their home. All together, a pretty good little Saturday.

While fresh zucchini is a draw for many mothers trying to plan a healthy meal, it is decidedly not for her brood. This makes the addition of King of Pops homemade popsicles stand a big hit, and keeps my dog petting booth idea firmly in play. The good news for families -- in addition to the popsicles -- is that the Town Center fountain serves as a nice reward for a patient child.

The reward for the patient person on dog patrol? A dinner of fresh food, including one of those steaks if the dog doesn't get it first.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/toddcline.