Each year, Healdsburg’s Farmers Market opens on the first Saturday in May. Regardless of weather, it’s an early indicator that summer has arrived and our rainy season is over, until October.
I hopped off my bike and parked near the twin footbridges crossing Foss Creek. Stepping into the canopied market, I spotted everything from sausage, cheeses, and pork tamales, to plenty of colorful vegetables. Baskets overflowed with leafy greens, along with fava beans, carrots, asparagus, and fresh cut flowers. Off to one side, pots of tomato, pepper, and strawberry plants were available for the home gardener.
After making the rounds, I sat on a shady bench near the creek. The cool breeze of early morning had now settled into a warm stillness, persuading me to remove my jacket. As I reached for my backpack, its contents of colored pencils, sketchbooks, paints, and brushes spilled on the ground, causing me alarm, but no damage. After dusting off these supplies, I began to sketch.
Public places, like this market, are challenging for me to draw because people often move too fast to capture on paper. Looking into the crowds, I search for people lost in conversation so they stay put for a longer period of time. Sometimes when I start a drawing and the person moves away, I’ll look for another person in approximately the same position, and combine the two. And in this drawing, the static background of canopies, umbrellas, and food stands provides an anchor, and also reflects the festive atmosphere of the morning.
An hour passed when my wife Marilyn and her friend Sarah stopped by to say hello, with baskets full of fava beans, kale, and alstroemaria flowers. Marilyn mentioned the tomato plants at the far side of the market and how excited she is about our garden. I agreed, I can’t wait to plant a kitchen garden in our back yard this year. It’s been years since we’ve done so.
After finishing my drawing, I packed up my art supplies and rode home, excitement building at the thought of breaking out the dusty gardening tools to plant our very own vegetable garden.