My friend Melissa and I made habit of frequenting the little farmer’s market that opened near her house last spring, and our favorite vendor is Kevin, a very kind, helpful and talkative man whose small-scale farming operation is called Chile Llama Farm.

The end of farmer’s market season here has been rough. Although our freezer is stocked full enough to eat vegetarian chili once a week and pesto twice a week until next July, we miss the vast quantities of fresh veggies we had at our disposal from May-early December. Here’s a one-week haul from our CSA last summer (and that’s not counting our additional veggies from Chile Llama):

Farmer's Market Haul 6/28/08

After New Year’s, I called Kevin, and he said he had enough lettuce and spinach for our two families to come out and pick our own. We were thrilled and drove out to see him on Saturday, which dawned a beautiful, cold and sunny day. The following pictures were taken by Melissa and her husband Christian.

Our girls had a wonderful time eating “candy carrots,” as the organic gardener Elliot Coleman calls them. In winter, the carrots that are still in the ground freeze, and their starch turns to sugar. I’m afraid the girls didn’t leave any for Kevin!

Harvesting Candy Carrots

Candy carrot

Lucas was mostly interested in playing with the rainwater collection containers and other farm gear, but also tried his hand at picking lettuce.

Little man

Chile Llama lettuce

We had a wonderful time, enjoying the moment, but also enjoying the ripple effect of our children knowing where their food grows, and the wonderful, fresh, organic veggies we’d be eating over the next few days. (Tonight’s dinner was pasta with raw cherry tomato sauce out of our freezer, fresh Chile Llama spinach sauteed with garlic and Chile Llama greens with a vinaigrette dressing. We also roasted Chile Llama beets for tomorrow, one of our little ones’ favorite foods.) It was just a wonderful, beautiful day.

Future farmers

More fun with friends

Fun with friends

Right about this time of year, I start getting the urge to sit down with seed catalogs and plan our garden. And in two months, we’ll be able to start planting! But tonight, I’ll be working on the Valentine’s Day Countdown Calendar. It’s coming along nicely, but I may have a couple of late nights to have it done by Wednesday!