One of the many advantages of living in New Mexico is the availability of plentiful local produce. While it is an option to buy such items from a superstore, the best way to do it is from a local grower’s market.

That is exactly what I recently did and as a big city girl relocated to a much smaller world, I was full of happiness as I walked through this market. Vendors are uniquely welcoming and friendly. Although I suspect that their prices were a bit higher than last year because of the pandemic, I enjoyed buying six ears of corn for $3. Likewise, I grabbed a bag of just roasted Hatch green chiles for $5, minutes after they were removed from the roaster.

But these are some of the most sincere, kind hearted people I’ve encountered in a very long time. Because I didn’t need or want a full basket of red and green peppers, a young man selected four of them and protested my $5 bill, insisting that I receive some change. I refused and in return I received the type of thanks commensurate with a very large and extravagant gift.

Cleaning the Hatch chiles I couldn’t help but wonder how many dozens of peppers had to roast to pay for his mortgage. That realization made me want to return for another five bags, even though I would have to clean them and find room in the freezer.

And when I told the corn guy that I am a teacher, he honored me with a story about his brother who had inspired many, including an Army colonel. You don’t get all that down-home, feel good, warm fuzzy stuff at Walmart or Target. And so, I’ll be sorry when it’s October and the market shuts down until next May. In the interim, I’ll accumulate all of the green chiles and gracious appreciation I can acquire and fit in my freezer. Shalom.

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