Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Pickle Project: Buying Cucumbers

"Japanese Shorts" at Vue's Farm Fresh, June 27, 2010.
Once I'd gotten the crock, the next step in the Pickle Project was to find the right cucumbers.  I'd seen pickling cucumbers at the Tuesday farmer's market in Pasadena, but I wanted my mom to help me pick them out and she wasn't due to arrive from Virginia until later that day.  So I waited.

On Thursday, we went to the South Pasadena farmer's market, but nobody had pickling cucumbers.

On Friday, we went to the Eagle Rock farmer's market, but nobody had pickling cucumbers.  I was beginning to despair.  After all, Daniel had only agreed to lend me the crock for 14 days and I was now three days over my time limit.  I dodged Daniel's calls for several days.

On Sunday morning, we went to the Alhambra farmer's market and as my daughter would say, "BINGO!", we found the perfect cucumbers.

Mom and I took a full loop around the farmer's market to check out all the cucumbers we could find before returning to the first stand we'd visited.

The owner of the stand, Mr. Vue, was very knowledgeable and seemed pleased when we told him we'd looked at all the cucumbers at the farmer's market and decided that his were the best.  Mr. Vue nodded and  proudly showed us the palms of his hands, which were rough and had obviously done their share of hard work.  He told us that his hands were the hands of a farmer and that he'd picked these cucumbers himself just that morning.  My mother, in turn, showed him her equally rough hands and said she too had the hands of a farmer.  Mr Vue and my mother had reached an understanding.  Although Mr. Vue's cucumbers were normally priced at $1.50 a pound, I asked him what the price would be if we bought all the cucumbers in the bin.  Mr. Vue did some quick accounting in his head and came up with a very good price... 75 cents a pound.  Sold.

Just as we were getting ready to help bag the cucumbers from the bin on the table in front of us, Mr. Vue waved us off and pulled out an even fresher batch of cucumbers from his truck.  In the end, we bought 19 pounds of "Japanese Shorts" from Mr. Vue.  We excitedly took our cucumbers to the car and went back to get the rest of our fruits and vegetables for the week.  As we looked over the peaches from the stand around the corner from Vue's stand, we realized that Mr. Vue was coming towards us holding a giant bag of Chinese broccoli.  He told us he wanted us to try it and refused any payment.  I guess Mr. Vue knows the look of a potential dedicated customer when he sees one.  The Chinese broccoli was delicious.  Thanks, Mr. Vue!

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