It is a lazy Saturday morning. The cold sun is casting pale light on the creamy white curtains. We are lounging in bed, avoiding the inevitable tidying, sorting and dish washing after a successful Moonlight Market last night. We did well at the market. It is rewarding to see people queuing at our stall, squabbling over the last two custard filled croissants or encouraging their friends to taste our new caramel cream sauce.
I love the markets and the chance to interact with friends and familiar faces in our small town. It is the two monthly markets that helped me to feel more a part of this community. It is gratifying to prepare treats for folk who are so appreciative. Nicol and Klaradyn, in their generosity, open up their restaurant garden for a first Friday of the month market under the stars. When I asked Klaradyn why we can't pay to set up our stall, she answered that it is something they must do. Their foresight and kindness has enhanced the sense of community in this nook of the Eastern Free State.
I have learned which customers like which products, and we try to satisfy them at each market. Hilli, who lives alone always buys a small tub of plain cream cheese. Ed the engineer who teases me about leaving the profession, and Jessica, his wife, want some garlicky hummus. Alexis, a delightfully dignified horsey lady, phoned me at home before one winter market to find out whether we would be there in the cold weather, and whether I would be making pannacotta, a vanilla cream dessert. She returns my used tubs for recycling and always brings a carrier bag for me to fill with a selection from the table. Brian nags for honey when we have decided not to sell any more, Candy can't get enough croissants, Sue loves our bacon, and Karen will only buy the pannacotta when it is in the wide shallow tubs and not the deep narrow ones where her teaspoon cannot reach all the way to the bottom of the tub in one scoop.
I love these people. They have taught me to love this town. The second Saturday morning of the month farmer's market, set up as a tea garden on Fonteyn and Zoe's farm has its regulars too. The two Carols almost always come, one buys halloumi and the other a tub of thyme chabrie marinated in olive oil with garlic and rosemary. Willie and Annelieze usually chat to me in their Swiss German accents and always buy something. They are interesting and interested. I met Liz and JB, an American missionary couple at this market. They love my ice-creams so much, especially the coconut ice cream, that they will drive all the way from Lesotho to our farm, when they have a craving for it. Pierre, the Canadian Frenchman enjoys a chocolate croissant with his morning coffee.
I usually treat myself to a pot of tea at the morning market, and a punnet or two of seedlings for my garden bought from Alita, a headmistress for a local Christian school and a gracious lady. She is my age, but something about her reminds me of my mum. Last month I came home with a tray of tiny onion seedlings which are now planted in between the larger onions in our tunnel. They had been planted too far apart. I also buy at least six R4 samosas from the lovely Muslim couple whose stall is next to mine. He does catering for a living and has kindly agreed to collect glass jars for me. Having enough jars to preserve the summer harvest is always a challenge.
I could go on and on about the wonderful people in this wonderful town, but I am afraid I might bore you. So, with purse full and heart considerably fuller, I get up late, shower, wash my hair and prepare to spend most of my Saturday tackling the mountain of dishes waiting in the kitchen sink.