Months and months ago I promised myself that I'd bike again. So, I went to Target, tried on every helmet in the store (really, every helmet), and then bough a helmet and a bike tire pump. I came home buzzing with the anticipation of completing one of my goals.
Then the tires didn't inflate.
My excitement deflated. I threw in the towel, pretty ready to just sell the damn thing. It's basically just a big lawn decoration at this point.
For months, my dream remained shattered. Until this week, when I invited myself along on a bike ride with two friends. However, I mentioned that I would either need them to steal a bike from a stranger or borrow one from a friend. Since I'm not friends with criminals, my friend let me borrow her boyfriend's bike.
I went to bed at 10PM the night before in preparation for our 9AM bike ride to the South of the James Farmer's Market. Not only would it be the first time I rode a bike in decades, but it was also my maiden voyage to the market.
My one friend made us stuffed french toast and coffee before we hit the road. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of nervous. We committed to ride four miles there and four back, but might as well jump in head-first to this biking thing, I guess.
The first few rotations of my feet on the pedals brought with it a flood of happiness. The hill halfway through the ride did not. However, soon, we found some downhill and coasted into the farmer's market.
South of the James Farmer's Market
I've heard a lot about the farmer's market, so needless to say I was not only excited to get there because my legs needed a break, but because I was finally doing a Richmond-y bucket list item.
I was in dire need of beverage, so we headed to the back of the market to get some fresh-squeezed limeade. Then, we worked backwards to check out all the vendors. I met the head of the market, and she gave me a lay of the land. And she let me sniff many, many candles.
If I had to give the market a slogan, it would be 'The Mecca of Free Samples.' I tried bleu cheese, curry-crusted cheese, salsa, herbs, spices, empanadas, quiche, pickles, carrot cake and granola clusters. Eventually, I found myself knee-deep in some Moroccan mixed veggies.
Veg-ta-bowl Foods at the Farmer's Market
Again, I'm a sucker for free samples, so I unexpectedly found myself in a vegetarian tent. I'm kind of Ron Swanson-esque where I really value meat in my meals, so color me surprised when I devoured the sample of veggies and stuck around to chat.
Let's just start by saying that I'm a nuisance to bring to farmer's markets from a friend perspective because I can be really chatty. I just love talking about food (hence the food blog), so talking to the growers and producers themselves is right up my alley.
So I'm trying the Moroccan veggies and chatting up the owner of the stand, Veg-ta-bowl Foods, about his products. The veggies were really good, featuring carrots, onions, chickpeas, tomatoes and even raisins. How unique, right!?
I didn't quite know what to do with the Moroccan veggies hypothetically, but over rice would be a good start. I'm not creative enough for anything past that. Fortunately, they have a ton of other options, like the white bean chili and Brunswick stew, where I won't even have to worry about how to pair them with other foods.
Again, I'm a meat-lover, but mostly because of the flavor that meat imparts. But Veg-ta-bowl foods is really flavorful, making me reconsider the whole need-for-meat mentality I approach cooking with. Plus, the soups are really filling with hearty beans and spices.
Honestly, today's Saturday morning brunch/bike ride/farmer's market is an adventure I'd like to recreate regularly. The vendors I met at the market today are just a tip of the iceberg of the amount of vendors there in the summer. I can't wait to see what other vendors I'll meet in the future!