Captivated by a Squash Blossom?

Markets of fresh local produce are completely captivating. And a sunny Colorado Saturday piled high with greens and seedlings, flowers and sprouts was definitely welcomed after what my neighbor has wittingly dubbed “Cake Week 2012.”

And I’ve heard rumors that he’s made quite an incredible cake this week himself, so I’m feeling lucky to be living where I do. And I could probably squeeze in one more bit of cake this week. You know, if I had to.

But to be honest, a market can lure me in no matter what I’ve been eating. Or what else I probably should be doing.

Last October, I spent an entire day wandering through Mercato Centrale– a mind bogglingly huge and well-stocked farmers’ market in the center of Florence, Italy. As the first time I’d really traveled anywhere on my own, I had the leisure to do exactly what I wanted. And change my mind on a whim without consequence.

I’d planned to take a quick stroll through the market and consume most of the day in the Uffizi Gallery, as any self-respecting cultured visitor on her first trip to Florence should.

But IΒ was fascinated in the market by whole chickens with their talons stiffly and eerily waving from the cold cases. All parts of cows and pigs were available to turn into dinner- snouts, tails, organs, tongues, ears, tripe.

Cheeses made from sheep, cows and goats from farms I’d ridden by on my bicycle just two days earlier were neatly stacked around a hanging scale. Red currants, plump and fresh, were still lined up like little soldiers on their tiny branches. Heirloom varieties of vegetables and fruits so unique I couldn’t even place them all were around every corner. Squashes and zucchinis still had the blossoms attached. Incredible.

I never made it to the Uffizi. IΒ stayed at the market that day until it closed. And I left with a mildly unsettling confusion. And cheese, and oils and fruits. But I also left knowing something in me had changed. For the first time in far too long, I’d unconsciously chosen to do what captivated me instead of what I thought I should be doing.

So I’m a different person because of a market. Yesterday as I bought arugula for dinner and red onion starters for a few patio pots, I couldn’t help but also leave with a reminder to do what captivates. And somehow, I think everything else will fall into place~


19 thoughts on “Captivated by a Squash Blossom?

  1. “…a reminder to do what captivates. And somehow, I think everything else will fall into place~”
    What a great piece of advice … thank you!

    • Constantly learning, twisterfish. Sometimes I think I realize these things later in life than I should, but better today than tomorrow I suppose πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for following along! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday πŸ˜€

    • Thank you so much, especially coming from you! I loved your house by the beach photo… maybe a market by the house by the beach would be the ultimate in refreshment πŸ˜‰

  2. what a wondeful “picture” of the Boulder and Florence markets you have painted!!. i was in Florence many years ago as a college art student and I experienced the flip side of your trip – i spent time in the Uffizi and never found the market (although I did experience to one in Nice daily for the 9 weeks i was there and it seems very much as you delightfully described the one in Italy – dead game and chickens just hanging there upside down and the whole spectrum of color displayed in the locally grown fruits and vegetables – why were supermarkets ever invented???). i will cherish this post and your artful interpretation of a wonderful Saturday in Boulder, enhanced by actually meeting you and your beautiful self. xops

    • Oh ps! I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to meet you! You are every bit as beautiful inside and out as I imagined, and you have that grace only a true Southern woman can possess, I think πŸ˜‰ I really felt like I had a short visit from my own Maman. It’s wonderful that you could come to visit and get to experience the market at the same time. I hope your iPhone-in-a-pinch pics turned out well.
      I didn’t realize you were able to study art in Italy and France?! Amazing! I love that we would each be in our little heavens, across town in the Ufizzi and the market… and the market in Nice sounds perfect. How incredible to be there long enough to have daily visits…
      Please travel home safely today, and we’ll stay in touch. Didn’t realize you’d started with a WP blog initially- your photo of the colorful clothes line (complete with a happily wandering chicken) is lovely πŸ™‚
      Many xo’s to you as well~

  3. I understand about farmers markets, everything there is like eye candy, I have the same effect in a goumet shop or kitchen supply store, it’s fascinating and you want it all!

  4. You really captured your passion in this post, and the sentiments are a great reminder to us all. TK remodel is almost done, and I can’t wait to get back in there and cook my own food, especially some veggies, now that I’ve seen your farmers market pics! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, tks- if my passion seeped through the lines of this one, then I couldn’t be happier. t know you’ll be thrilled in your tiny remodeled kitchen!! Please cook some incredible veggies and then share your recipes and photos with us πŸ™‚ And of course we need a sneak peek at the “after” shots for your Sunset piece πŸ˜‰

  5. I can so relate to this Deb and love the photos of the beautiful produce! I am biding my time for our trip to France in August to visit the markets….hoping it’s as good as it was for you πŸ™‚ xo!

    • Oh Shira- that sounds like a wonderful trip and perfect timing. I’m wishing bountiful markets filled with everything imaginable (and then some)… and hoping for some of your beautiful photos upon your return πŸ˜‰

  6. What a fabulous way to spend the day! Markets in foreign countries are my favorite places to wander and take pictures. It’s always a bit frustrating that you can’t take everything home with you!

    • πŸ™‚ Definitely agree with you about the ‘take it all home’ part! I’m not generally too much of a rule breaker, but smuggling food back is sure tempting… πŸ˜‰

  7. It truly looks like the perfect Spring day, in fact it wasn’t too far ago I remember seeing the mountain side and snow/sleet on the ground in your hiking trails, mother nature sure does things quickly! These plants & gorgeous blooms are a definite testaments to this πŸ™‚

    • You’re exactly right, giaff πŸ™‚ Astute observation- seems like the crocuses popped up before the snow was even melted… and before you know it- viola! I love fall as well… so we can enjoy each others’ opposite seasons πŸ˜‰

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