You’re at the farmer’s market. You pick up some nice-looking beets, some salad greens, some kohlrabi. You make a little conversation with the farmer. That’s part of the experience, right? You ask if they got time off during winter and comment on the warmer weather. As your order gets rung up, you wonder out loud how to cook a certain vegetable.

And the cashier says, “I stir fry it.”

Lately this annoys me. I’m not out in hot pursuit of interesting vegetables because my stir fries were missing something.

My gripe isn’t with the growers. These folks didn’t go into organic farming because of all the customer service opportunities. And they probably don’t have much spare time for hobbies like gourmet cooking. They devote eighty or a hundred hours each week to making stuff grow. I get that.

People talk about farmers markets like they’re some magical place. You start to believe in this myth because it really is wonderful to get your fruit and vegetables from the person who grew them. But not every answer can come from the farmers markets. It’s a good reality check, that there aren’t snap answers on how to learn to cook and eat well and with the seasons, no fast answers on how to do things right.

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