Switzerland – May 25, 2009

It feels like Zambia.  Yesterday the temperatures reached the highest point (32C) for that date since 1906. Did they have global warming then already? But I doubt western Canadians believe in global warming, not after last week’s snow!

The farmers around here are busy making hay and silage. On my walk this morning I strode by heavy stands of wheat heading out, canola fields with only the odd wilted bloom left, barley beards waving in the light breeze. It feels like July in Alberta.

The farmer’s market in Baden feels like both Zambia and Alberta. At 8 a.m. Saturday morning stands of fresh vegetables and flowers line the narrow city street for several blocks. It smells of fresh bread and peony bouquets.

Brightly coloured vegetables on the farmer's market in Baden, Switzerland. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Brightly coloured vegetables on the farmer's market in Baden, Switzerland. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The first customers check for the freshest rhubarb, crispest lettuce medley, while vendors set up their wares on neat tables. Except for the setting, probably not a lot is different from the farmer’s market in downtown Edmonton, where Johanna and Harold Huising used to set up ‘shop’ every Saturday morning during the growing season.

What reminds me of Zambia? The bright array of fresh produce, much of it locally grown. Families that work together, a child helps her parents set up the crates for vegetables. The pineapples, mangoes and avocados that fill one stand. The crowds that begin to fill the street.

But, there’s no bargaining done here. The streets are clean without the smell of garbage nearby. The tent roofs covering the stands are clean whole canvas sheets. Prices are higher than in the grocery store (in Zambia most shop at the open market because it’s cheaper).

Whether I am in Zambia, Switzerland, Alberta or anywhere else, there is something about the local farmer’s market that always fascinates me. The array of fresh foods, especially the ones I don’t usually use, makes me want to go home and start cooking. The dark velvet sheen of Eggplant, the prickly leaves of cactus, the creamy striped bulbs of fennel, or shiny golden zucchini cry to be chopped into exotic dishes.

Roadside market stand on the way to Lusaka, Zambia. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Roadside market stand on the way to Lusaka, Zambia. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Obviously I’m not the only one that feels like that. By 9:30 a.m. it’s hard to pass through the street in Baden. No different than Kitwe, Zambia or Edmonton, Alberta.

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