September 9, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE By Lorelei Smillie | Image by Maren Greene

If you can force yourself to endure the agonizing pain of rising before 1 p.m. on a Saturday morning, you might be able to experience the delicious reward of the Farmer’s Market in Old Colorado City. Only a 10-minute drive from campus awaits a cornucopia of local produce, croissants, and cold brew. 

The smell of freshly roasted green chili hangs in the air as people cluster around a huge barrel of rotating green and black, waiting for the farmer to dole out bags of charred delicacy.

There are huge piles of cherries which seem to reach to the sky and ruby red tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. Vendors chat about the apple varieties that will ripen next month and give advice on which herbs to buy for the chimichurri sauce you’re making tonight.

One farmer offers customers free bites of blueberry pie, enticing them to gaze upon mountains of apricot cobbler and giant cinnamon rolls. The poppyseed muffins huddle together, short and squat, as if murmuring some gossip to each other about what the carrot cake did last Sunday.

It’s peach season, and as I touch the rose-colored fruit, I can tell this is the ripest fruit I’ve ever held. One bite is sweeter than pure sugar, floral notes hit the roof of my mouth and the juice runs down my hands and arms. Normally, I’m a little freaked out by the fuzz, but this skin is delicate and slightly tart, meant to be enjoyed right down to the pit.

The promise of autumn is already on the farmers’ minds: they tell me it will bring squash, pumpkins, apple cider and hot chocolate. These warm and cozy foods will prepare us for the inevitable frost, at which point the market shuts down and the tired Earth sleeps for a while. For now, however, the sun beats down on the tops of our heads and practically demands that I go sip on a large iced coffee.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen more and more young people strolling through the farmer’s market each weekend. The pandemic certainly changed the way we eat –– trends of making sourdough starters and whipped coffee took the internet by storm, alleviating boredom and transforming an everyday chore into a stress-relieving form of creativity. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram stories, we’ve seen countless snacks become viral sensations, like pesto eggs, cloud bread, and cowboy caviar.

Home cooks, restaurant chefs, and amateur bakers have begun to post their creations online, showcasing intricate dishes like towering pavlovas and flawless ratatouille. Equally as popular are simple photos like a sunny side up egg on toast, which capture the essence of a slow Sunday morning and the enjoyment of a single moment in time. This emphasis on mindfulness has struck a chord with many young people suffering from stress and burnout. The act of cooking and eating has become a meditative activity and a time for imagination and inspiration.

As we recognize food as a divine form of art, I hope we will cultivate a greater consciousness of what we buy and put in our bodies. Inundated with choice at the supermarket, it is easier to eat with the rhythms of the ground. Buy what’s local and in season –– it tastes the best.

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