Squashed at the Farmers Market

Close up receding photo with shallow dof of a display of fresh vegetables at Farmers Market with squash in the foreground

My family has several Saturday morning traditions, one of which is entirely indulgent and one of which is totally organic: visiting the farmers market.

The wife and I began shopping the local farmers market some years ago. We had hoped to enjoy a morning walk and find some unique and inexpensive veggies along the way. What we discovered there in the Sport Chalet parking lot was much more.

This particular parking lot is empty for most of the week, but when Saturday comes, so does a fleet of sun-beaten farm trucks. They rumble to a stop with mismatched plastic crates full of produce, as well as pop up tents to shield their shoppers from the California sun. Granted, this all happens while the Oswalds are still in bed counting the last of their sheep.

By the time we arrive, all the colors inherent to strawberries and star fruit decorate these makeshift storefronts. It’s as if the Garden of Eden has sprung up in the middle of a forgotten stretch of asphalt, and brought  life along with it. Farmhands who get to spend the days away from the fields offer more samples than you need. Their children sometimes help run the booths, and other times just gaze into smartphones while mom and dad work. Moms in workout clothes with expensive strollers make their way on through. There’s usually an ol’ timer strumming a guitar in the middle of the market to sing folk songs and Beatles covers to a crowd that includes hippies, yuppies, and immigrants. I especially like that part.

When I began to take an interest in photography, I realized that this nearby farmers market might be one of the most visually arresting locations I could shoot. Plenty of natural light shines down upon all sorts of familiar and alien textures. The range of color is simply amazing. It rivals the sort of bright and vivid hues you spot in tropical reefs, with a far greater variety than anything your local supermarket cares to collect. (And hey, the prices are nice too!)

This photo focuses upon one squash-filled table at the market. When I happened upon it, I just stopped and stared at all the different types and textures of gourds available here. I had no idea what differences there might be in taste, or name for that matter. But I knew that I needed to take a picture of this mountain of squash.

After all the mileage I got from shooting these veggies, I didn’t even think to buy a squash from the poor guy working the booth. But the beauty of a farmers market like this is he’ll probably be back next time we show up. Next Saturday, buddy.

What’s the most photogenic vegetable out there? Give your answer in the comments below…