Montclair Farmers Market and Mayoral Politics

This morning, various political causes were in full view at the Montclair Farmers Market.  It was the first time we saw a public display declaring “Jean Quan for Oakland Mayor 2010” on the street.  There was a volunteer at the adjacent table, and the all-important cinnamon loaves were luring us nearby.

Both Jean Quan and Don Perata have declared their mayoral candidacies online and you can keep up virtually for now.  They each have base camps:

  • Candidate Perata’s website is called “Believe in Oakland, Perata For Mayor 2010.”   Perata has posted his appearances, including the Laurel on February 27th.  The site also has a donations section, of course.  Over on Facebook you may join his group, which has 512 members, or friend him along with 254 others.
  • Candidate Quan’s website has been live for a while, and serves as a fund-raising channel.  You may also fan her through Facebook, which she seems to use actively – by posting appearances, messages, images and more.  Oh, and there are 254 fans as of this minute too.

We wonder how these online efforts will influence voters during 2010, who knows?  As the real campaigns get underway later this year, however, we suspect there will be evidence of live humans ready for their meet ‘n greets.

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The Loneliest Fruit In Montclair

Usually, the Montclair Farmers Market conjures images of great looking fruit or veggies.  The reliable vendors show up with their seasonal cornucopias, along with all the other goodies.

Until now, I never considered how the fruit might actually feel.  What happens to the fruit during the Sunday market?  We came across these images taken by photographer Heather Jean, and they tell the story – and made us smile.

Farmers Market, Only The Lonely

In “Only The Lonely,” one luscious strawberry has been left behind and will never get consumed.  Don’t you feel a little sorry for the lone piece of fruit?

Farmers Market, The Disregarded

“The Disregarded” fruit are assembling together, and no longer lonely.  Why are these good-looking folks thoroughly abandoned and orphaned?

Farmers Market, Freckled Fruit

We are optimistic about the “Freckled Fruit,” properly displayed together.  These bashful and not-so-beautiful pears gather strength in numbers.  Don’t you think this fruit will go home with Montclarions?

Nothing like anthropomorphizing the fruit to make your day, hhmm.

Farmers Market Is An Art Exhibit

When shopping for veggies, have you ever taken a minute to admire their sheer beauty?

One Berkeley native, Kimbar, casts an artistic eye and likes to create veggie still-lifes.  She visits the Montclair Farmers’ Market regularly, and just added several winter images to her art exhibit.

Let’s start with some freshly-harvested brussel sprouts.  Even if you are a sprout hater, the range of natural green-blue colors, shapes and sizes are oddly compelling.

Brussel Sprouts

Next we see a cornucopia of veggies, which rivals the old masters.  I wonder if Kimbar captured what the vendors presented or set the stage herself.

Veggie Art

The last work is a radishes bouquet.  If you look carefully, you will see these radishes are a close-up of the veggie cornucopia.  They look so nice in their natural and root-filled state.

Radishes

There’s just something about these winter seasonals which are irresistible – whether you love to eat ’em or simply hate ’em.  This should snap us out of the storm doldrums, right?

Postscript:  Hardly anyone made it to the Farmer’s Market this weekend, except for the vendors who faithfully showed up with their goods.  The weather and holiday weekend conspired to keep the place empty.

Farmers Stick Around Until 2pm

The Montclair Farmers’ Market is one of our success stories.  Farmers conduct business here every Sunday, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and we’re faithful shoppers.

Tomorrow the farmers will test extended hours until 2:00 pm.  If we show up, they will be there permanently.  I think its a safe bet because many folks appear right before closing time.

We all seem to like this compact market, which requires one walking loop on LaSalle.  While I’m not a chef, it’s still nice to pick up fresh-picked fruit, veggies or nuts.  I typically buy a small sweet potato pie which seldom makes it home.  Sometimes I try a few oysters, because the shucker’s hard at work there.

The freebies are the real draw.  Most recently, the lush peaches have been sliced for sampling, much like a wine-tasting event.  How come this isn’t done at a standard supermarket, organic or otherwise?

Not For Tourists cynically called the weekly market “Rich People and Fresh Veggies,” but went on to explain that “It’s still pretty cool.  Every Sunday, the fresh veggie peddlers and the go-getting entrepreneurs with their recipes…do their thing.”

During market hours, you experience the small-town feel of Montclair Village.  There’s usually live music, mayoral dog campaigns, various fundraisers, political canvassers of all stripes, and our city rep, Jean Quan, holding court monthly.

It’s the only time when locals get out and actually commune with each other.  Maybe I’ll grab an Indian curry and hang out tomorrow, now that the hours are longer.