June 17, 2017 | Comments Off on Buying local–absorbing happiness | Betsy Woodman
According to an Internet meme I’ve seen lately: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local, which is sort of the same thing.”
This morning, in Concord, NH, I felt that not only could I buy happiness, I could simply absorb it by walking around the weekly Farmers’ Market. What a scene! Moms and dads with strollers, babies in backpacks, kids getting their faces painted,
dogs socializing with people and with other dogs,
There was a cosmopolitan bunch of people there, too. Nila Gandhi
delivers her wares in her chutney-mobile
and sells samosas, pakoras, and rice-lentil cakes you can take home for lunch. Don’t call her chai, “chai tea,” though. Chai means tea, so who wants to sound silly by asking for tea tea? It didn’t take long for Will to discover that Nila grew up in Rangoon, Burma, a few streets over from where he did, so they often chat about that and compare notes. We’ve tried a lot of Nila’s chutneys (Blimey Limey and Tamarind Tamasha are our favorites), but this time we bought her new spice mix to make our own masala chai.
A few stalls over was Benjamin Meier, originally from the Black Forest of Germany.
He keeps a painted wooden cow on his table, to remind him of his frequent travels to India. Meanwhile, he serves as master cheesemaker at the Wilton (NH) Community Farm. I’m particularly partial to his Caerphilly, but his other cheeses are delicious, too.
After two years of buying salad greens from the folks from Kearsarge Gore Farm,
I looked them up on the web and realized we were connected (that happens a lot to me in New Hampshire.) The owners of the farm are Bob Bower and Jennifer Ohler, who run it with help from their kids. Jennifer’s late dad, Dr. John Ohler, was our family physician for many years in New London. When my mom had pneumonia, Dr. John popped in every afternoon to see how she was recovering. When my sister had a seizure, he was there within minutes after my panicky phone call. Patients and family members always felt better as soon as Dr. John arrived.
I owe the Ohler family a debt of gratitude—decades after her dad’s house calls to my family, Jennifer is keeping us healthy by helping us eat right.