Thursday, June 25, 2009

USA Summer in CA

Hey all, So I have not gotten lost in NZ! I made it to CA! 

I landed in LA spent a day with my grandparents, went to San Luis Obispo to see Paul, drove to Santa Rosa and started Drawing class back amongst SRJC's oak trees. I am seeing old friends again and doing the things I loved here...sorta...I'm busy as usual. But I have managed to get in touch with some friends, have dinner at Penny's (the best home made pesto, parmesan, pine nut,olive, undried tomato pizza ever!), eat my favourite frozen yogurt, and tonight I went to the Wed Night market in Downtown Santa Rosa!

Vanessa, her friend Ben and I rendez vous-ed at the JC, drove to my house and then walked to the market on foot to avoid parking...and to be green of course! I bought some of the beautiful local produce that is so abundantly available here- peaches (so many kinds), plums,  apricots ($2.50/lb), cherry tomatoes (special$3/lb), thai basil ($1/huge bunch) and squash ($2.50/lb). 

Vanessa bought blueberries as soon as we arrived and shared them with us all. I've never seen someone so excited about blueberries! Her enthusiasm was infectious, as always, and therefore I was excited about blueberries too! Blueberries YAY! BY this time Hilary and Blaze met us and did some shopping at the market. Vanessa then proceeded to purchase things she wanted from vendors, all of whom she knows because she works for one of the locals farms. So it was a deal on Peaches, followed by discounted Collared Greens and bargain Honey! Shop with her and you'll get discounts and friendly smiles wherever you go! I jumped on the collared greens and the peach band wagon, not that I know what to do with greens. Hence, my greens have journeyed home with Vanessa, where, apparently she is going to make them into the best thing that anyone's ever tasted.  Just add tamari and apple cider vinegar. 

Last year, Vanessa introduced me to Justin and Sam who are regulars at the Wed Night market. Their stall is known for their tomatoes and last summer at the end of a few of the markets, I made out like a bandit. I had bags full of free produce- peppers, tomatoes, squash and sometimes fruit. As soon as Justin spotted Vanessa in the crowd this evening, he jokingly gave her a hard time for not working with him as his normal partner in crime, Sam, was off doing something techie for American Idol (?). Vanessa had assumed he was joking when he asked her earlier in the week and therefore he was pretty busy and had no one to select out the best cherry tomatoes from the worst cherry tomatoes and put them into baskets. After chatting a bit I ask him if he wanted help and he said he was probably okay followed by a 'you dont wnat to come back here and some sort of half response. That was good enough for me! I put down my bags and started sorting baby tomatoes. 

I spent the next 2 hours working behind the stall sorting tomatoes, weighing produce and chatting to customers. It was so easy and fun too. Justin is nice and a very easy person to be around. I enjoyed myself, doing something different and while I've had many jobs, this is a new one to add to my list. I always like helping customers and this job reminded me of working the info desk at Melb Uni, something I also liked. I've forgotten what that feel like after being out of retail so long. And this is the short, sweet and busy kind of help. The 'buy tomatoes and leave' kind of help not the 'lingering, nagging endless customer service' type of help. So at the end of the evening, I helped Justin pack up, filled a tub for the CHA (Californa Homeowners Association...a charity, who knew?) and filled 2 plastic bags with plums for the bouncers of the bar that Justin goes to in the evening. He then dropped me home because I had even more produce now that he had given me and he paid me $25. Super nice!  What a lovely evening in an unexpected way. See you next week I said =)  

I LOVE BUYING LOCAL. Supporting your local community is so important! 

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