I have said it before. And I will say it again.
Summers in Oregon are practically perfect.
Even though the sun has not shown his face much, the most certain sign of summer in Oregon is amongst us.
This morning I walked the four blocks from my house to the Salem Saturday Market. And walk I did. I still favor my right leg a bit. But I get around.
There was a day when markets afforded local farmers the ability to sell excess produce and for buyers to purchase fresh produce at a discount.
Those markets were similar to the produce markets in larger Mexican cities.
I do not have anything similar in Melaque. But there is a market in Manzanillo where housewives can buy their daily food from fish, meat, vegetable, and fruit stalls.
Our Saturday Market does not share that character. Jazz bands play while citizens buy emu and other locally-grown delicacies. No longer the home for bargain-shopping senior citizens and single moms. The average customer is far more likely to be able to describe the bouquet of a fine pinot noir rather than how to balance the food budget.
My cherries are a perfect example. Let's start with quality. They are not your usual Safeway bings imported from California. These are locally-grown. Sandra Rose. Rainier. Deliciously sweet. Lip-staining and juicy.
And they are not inexpensive. After all, these are Nordstrom people here. Not K-Mart. $4 a basket.
I wandered off with $12 worth. Enough to last me for the afternoon. In my own personal Tudor moment.
Two years ago I had an interesting conversation with one of the farmers at the market. He chuckled that not long ago, he could not find buyer for some of his more exotic-looking tomatoes. Then food faddie declared heirloom tomatoes to be "in." The farmer, being a wily marketer, slapped a sign declaring his wares to be "organic heirloom" tomatoes. He could not keep them in stock.
He was telling me the tale at my own expense. While he was talking, I was buying three pounds of his rebranded vegetables. Both his story -- and the tomatoes -- were perfect.
It may not be very warm in Salem today. Certainly not as warm as it will be in Melaque. But I will be celebrating summer in a truly Oregon fashion. With cherries. My hot tub. And a good book.
It is hard to beat that combination. But it is an experience worth repeating.
It is an experience worth repeating.