By Mickey Howley
This may be outing myself, but for years I hated tomatoes. Now if you are one of the faithful 19 readers of this column, you know half the time I’m either writing about the divine benefits of shopping local or how sexy local tomatoes can be. And while there never was a time I liked big-box stores, there was time when tomatoes did not suit my palate. I did not like them at all. Hard to believe.
My tomato epiphany came half way around the world, on the edge of the Holy Land. There they found me and saved me. I was working in Turkey as a teacher. And a traditional Turkish breakfast is olives, honey, cheese, bread, a hard-boiled egg, and a sliced tomato. So after months of ignoring them on my plate and with an intervention like discussion from my colleagues, I ate one. And it was like Nirvana. The joy of the juicy tomato. And there was a bit of sadness, for all those I’d thrown away, but no more.
And this year at the Farmers Market, the tomatoes are like that Nirvana-esque first bite. Jeannie and Claud Hayles have tomatoes that are vine ripened and totally organic, plus they have multiple varieties. It is that taste that is hard to describe, that sensation that just transports me back to when I came to love the tomato.
So come out early to the Farmers Market this Saturday, not only for the now ripe veggies, but The Race! The Mechanics Bank 3k race/walk starts at 7:30 down through town, you can register as early as 6:30. It is always a fun event. You’ll sweat a little but there is a cold melon reward at the end.
And there is a special treat also at the market. Big time downtown Manhattan New York, New York artist Andrea Ray will be here and is having one part of her three-part art installation at the market. Titled “Waiting on a Train for Love” the piece is a sound installation that brings the rhythm of the trains as they passed through the heart of Water Valley. This sound art will bring back the passing trains presence to Railroad Park. It is one of those art pieces where participation and imagination can bring the feel of Water Valley’s past to the present. Andrea has really gotten local information and history in the pieces, to the point where the sound will be on schedule for all the ICRR passenger and freight trains that used to roll right through town. Come pass by and listen.
Friday night there will be the Watermelon Carnival and Street Dance and Fireworks Show, but if you’re out and about stroll Main Street as well. A number of the stores will be open later, check out the galleries, and Bozarts will have the band Dutch Loves Bijou playing live music if you need an air-conditioned break.