There’s a lot that I like about living in southern Maryland: rolling hills, an abundance of shade trees, a slower-paced lifestyle, the abundance of roadside farm markets, and a wide variety of residents. We have Amish and Mennonites, test pilots and astronauts, government contractors and farmers. In fact, these things generally outweigh the parts I dislike: the ridiculous number of taxes, a state government that caters to the central counties and cities, and the dearth of health-care specialists in our community. Oh, and for a county that had the 14th highest median income in 2010, we have no bookstore, no retailer that sells professional clothing, nothing comparable to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and just one Starbucks–without a drive-thru window. Before you feel truly sorry for me, Sweet Frog did just open a franchise.
Yesterday I discovered something new to like: the Loveville Produce Auction. I had wanted to go for at least a year now and got my first opportunity yesterday. Even from the parking lot, I knew I was in for a treat! Fresh summer veggies, watermelons, cut flowers, and flats of tomatoes abounded. The large auction was already under way, and the small auction was getting ready to begin. And I felt like I had stepped back in time 100 years. Amish and Mennonite farmers and children were everywhere: some were wearing shoes; most were wearing straw hats. My friend and I ignored the large auction because the bidding was on entire wagon-loads of produce. Yes, wagons. As in the things that teams of horses pull.
I marveled at the bounty of the fields, and I quickly figured out how to bid. I even got a small round of applause when I won my first auction: a pint of mixed cherry tomatoes for $1. At auction’s end, I wrote a check for $27.18 to cover my six purchases; the $0.18 covers the tax on the sunflowers that I had to have! Below is a picture of my haul. Much of my vegetables are hidden by my impulse buy: a half-bushel of red bell peppers (that I split with my friend) for $8.50. What does $27 buy? A flat of yellow beans; the bell peppers; one enormous cantaloupe; a quart of red potatoes; a pint of cherry tomatoes; a mixed flat of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, field tomatoes, jalapenos, and cubanelle peppers; and the gorgeous sunflowers. Will I go back again? Definitely. The Loveville Produce Auction is now another reason why I like living in southern Maryland.
Coming soon are pictures and a post about our peach-picking expedition this morning. Spoiler alert: There were lots of turkeys involved.