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Occupying Chico, with Gratitude. And Fire Zinnias.

Gratitude is the open door to abundance. [author unknown]

The Thursday Night Farmers Market in Chico, CA (north of Sacramento) is epic. It is the way the world would be, if the world were fair, if the world were beautiful, if the world were based on abundance instead of austerity. I guess it used to be that way. It still is, on Thursday nights in Chico.

It’s hot as fuck here – 97 degrees now, at nearly 8 pm, and probably over 100 degrees when we were there earlier this evening. But everyone was at the Farmers Market, or at least it seemed like everyone. The college kids who go to Chico State aren’t even back yet, but the streets were full, full of as much diversity as not-so-diverse Chico can muster. It’s OK; the produce is hella colorful. Think of a fruit or vegetable that grows in the summer. You’ll find it here. (Sorry, Berkeley Bowl; these organic tomatoes were picked about an hour ago.) People seem to know each other; they stop and shoot the breeze. Everyone is sweaty. And smiley. There are bounce houses. There’s meat on a stick and trinkets and horchata and roasted corn and sweet potatoes. Little kids in their underwear splash in the fountain in the plaza while their moms do Zumba routines in the bandshell.

We spent $40 and we bought (all organic or certified/no pesticide/grown locally): seedless red and green grapes; lettuce; basil; grey squash and half green/ half yellow squash; red and yellow cherry tomatoes; plums; nectarines; peaches; dino kale; onions; garlic; tiny little potatoes; beets; carrots. Everything tastes like food used to taste at your grandma’s house. Sometimes it tastes so good, it makes me cry. I can’t figure out why I deserve this; all I know is that I am very, very grateful.

The first picture below is of my favorite produce vendor. She arranges your produce very carefully on the scale; each potato, each squash is a china doll. And each china doll has a story, and a recipe. The love and caring that comes with your produce is free. The rest of the photos are of abundance. And the last photo is the fire zinnias. Most of the flowers cost $5 for more than you can hold in one hand; you have to buy them last because they will break your arm. The fire zinnias are a little more expensive, and I haven’t indulged myself with those. Yet.

All photos by hotflashcarol.


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