See 'what's growing on' at local farmer's market

Thursday will mark the beginning of “fresh and local” season. Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market will kick off its seventh year, and Marktplatz will again be abuzz with trade in the best, cleanest fare that our pennies can purchase.

And as I sit here typing this in my white shirt and shined shoes, I am reminded that farmers get down and dirty in their chosen field. It’s generally sun-up to sun-down, and, like a dairy, there are no vacations. You know the old joke, “How do you get a million dollars in farming? Start with $2 million and go from there.”

What we purchase at the farmer’s market will be the end result of a lot of sweat and toil, a lot of trial and error and a lot of poker playing with Mother Nature herself.

George Sessions Perry, in his 1951 book, “Tales of a Foolish Farmer,” recounted his own experiences of trying to go from writing to farming — trying to make an honest living — and turning out a complete failure. Perry bought a decent piece of land near my hometown of Rockdale, and then chronicled how he bungled into mess after mess with both plow and pen. He wrote of wrecked trucks, and the near-comical, huge expenses incurred by his own inexperienced hand. (Perry’s 1941 fictional release, “Hold Autumn in Your Hand,” was a National Book Award winner, and is a fine novel about tenant farm sharecropping.)

While farming methods have improved, there is still the simple miracle of seed, soil and water, watched over with much care. But taste a locally grown tomato, and then compare it to a corporate-grown one, and the difference is stark. It is fresh, and it is simple goodness.

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