Social Sunshine

As soon as the chimes of New Year’s bells finish ringing, thoughts of Spring flood the mind, bringing visions of an orchard’s and grove’s burgeoning blossoms, the return of songbirds for nest building and mate selection, and planting vegetable seeds among freshly tilled rows in private gardens, walled or not.

Along with visions of spring events ar e those of open-air farmer’s markets and all the tasty treasures available for purchase. Early April in Central California is no exception to this annual reverie.

Take a Saturday afternoon, travel to Templeton and its wonderful park, and you’ll find a haven for shopping cooks who delight in putting the best on the table for their families.

Locals from several towns in the area flock to the market on Saturday during the growing season. Mothers bring babes, pet owners take their favorite pooches, minstrels come to play for a ready audience, and the sun shines to keep everyone’s spirits up and welcoming.

Few are disappointed with either atmosphere or prices. There are fresh artichokes almost as large as a soccer ball waiting to find new home. On the same stand are baby purple ‘chokes nestled up to recently plucked squash blossoms for that aficionado of all things luscious.

Vine-ripened tomatoes beckon to the passerby, tempting with plumpness and bright color. A few steps away the red lights continue with quart after quart of strawberries to fill the hand of any small child, looking sweet and ready for shortcake. If the shopper needs flavorings instead, there’s giant garlic for the asking, along with other freshly picked culinary herbs.

There’s something for everyone, from vegetables to flowers to seafood.  Shopping for new ideas for gifts for the gardener on a birthday list couldn’t be easier than turning to the vendors who specialize in living plants.

If the shopper tires of buying treats, she can always stroll around the grounds, find a bench and rest, or talk with any of the friendly people who frequent this amazing Saturday gathering event. It’s easy to find those who will recommend their favorite restaurants, movies, or other shopping venues. With all of the sights, sounds, and smells of this park on the weekend, why would anyone choose to miss a chance to mingle and take in the merchandise?