“Hi, sweetie. No eggs today,” Gloria says from behind the table in her stall.
Larchmont Farmers Market is part of my Sunday ritual. For five hours each weekend, the weekday parking lot is transformed into a magical neighborhood gathering place. Farmers drive two to three hours to bring their fresh produce to the heart of the city, where they then set up matching covered stalls and hang banners that attest to their organic certification. There are stalls with heirloom tomatoes, stalls with just-picked cherries, stalls with wild mushrooms. Stalls with cage-free chicken and still-warm eggs. There is foot-tapping live acoustic guitar, children with painted faces, and fresh roses.
I amble, taking in the people—both the vendors and the shoppers. I smell the oranges, wave at a neighbor. Let the music braid itself around the market smells. I taste a piece of homemade sweet potato pie. Mmm.
After a go-go-go week, the Sunday market restores me.
I stop at Gloria’s stall every week for fresh eggs and chicken. She always greets me with a big smile. Her farm is in Temecula—a two-hour drive from LA. Half the reason I buy eggs and chicken from her is her genuine smile and sparkling eyes. I swear it makes the food taste better.
The other reason is that the eggs taste like eggs and the chicken tastes like chicken.
The guy next to me with gray stubble says, “How come no eggs?”
“The rains, sweetie.” She calls everyone sweetie, in the most honest, endearing way. “They flooded us out. The chickens are okay, but the eggs, we lost all of them,” Gloria says, still with her wide smile.
It rained last week. God knows we need it. But it came too hard, too fast. Instead of soaking deep into the earth, it carried off topsoil—and eggs. It’s the new normal. As climate change accelerates and temperatures get warmer, rainfall is coming down with more intensity over a shorter period of time.
Hearing about the washed-out eggs unnerves me a bit. While a minor inconvenience for me this week, I know that climate change walks hand in hand with food production and farmers. Most likely it was not such a “minor inconvenience” for Gloria.
I say goodbye and head straight away to the French pastry stall—the best antidote for all things that unnerve.
I indulge and buy an apricot danish with custard. I eat it slowly, a smile spreading across my face. Savoring each bite, I am grateful. Grateful for the onions still with their green stalks. Grateful for the sweet gnarled carrots. Grateful for the soon-to-be-ripe avocado. Grateful to Gloria and her chickens. Grateful to all farmers everywhere.