I seem to have a proclivity for Things Uniuque. In fact, I myself am a Thing Unique, never really feeling like I fit -- a Block in a world of Rounds. Once, in voicing these sentiments to my mom, she firmly told me that No, I was not weird, I was unique. I laughed at her, assuming this was a Mother Hen's reassurance for her Odd Duckling. Looking back now, it is clear that I always have been this way and I always will be this way. In fact, it is clear that such a bent for the uncommon, for the individual, is somewhat genetic. I have many great aunts, I am told, who never married and who lived out their days in unabashed eclectic enjoyment. As will I, I pray.
This weekend, I found myself in Buena Vista, CO, returning from a visit to the Aspen, for the Music Festival and an operatic interlude to life's un-staged cacophonous drama. I lolled about the town for a few hours, waiting for my friend to finish his cycling climb and descent of Indepence Pass.
Signs proudly brandishing "Farmer's Market TODAY!" pointed with self-assured red arrows, lining main street and directing me like the lit batons bringing in airplanes safely to a grounded land.
I can't help myself when it comes to Farmer's Markets -- I turned. I had hours to kill; and, theirs would be an interesting death, I vowed. My arms turned the large mini-van to whose wheel I had been entrusted, and I followed the red arrows like Gretel and her breadcrumbs, remaining skeptical of this Farmer's Market's existence. A Sunday afternoon at almost 4:00? Indeed, it was not to be.
But, then a garden center on the corner seduced me with a "local produce" sign out front. Admittedly, seducing me in such a way is not a difficult task, neither for a garden center or local harvests. I'm easy. At least for produce. Men? Well, that's another thing entirely.
I wandered through glass globes claiming to be able to read houseplants with the skills of a fortune-teller mystic, myriad terra cotta pots, eyes and mouths offering any tree the ability to become an Ent, and lavender, sage, pepper plants, marigolds and columbine. Snaking through the labyrinth, I finally found my way to whitewashed boards filled with cardboard boxes of the advertised Local Produce.
Road tripping is usually not the time to buy produce. I told myself I would not, I could not buy. "It will get all hot and wilted by the time the hot car drives all the hours left home, and finally docks in the driveway," I spoke to myself, trying to convince myself of this statement's truthful logic.
Look, don't touch. I almost, almost kept my word. But then? In the last cardboard box, in which were originally shipped "Premium Stake Tomatoes," my eyes lighted upon "Purple Bells." I was taken. For these, a promise was worth breaking.
Once home, a quick interweb search revealed that these Bells, were Purple Beauties. And, moreover, I was promised that they will inspire me to "new heights of creativity." Still another source knighted the bell pepper as "the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world." This vegetable was special. This vegetable was unique.
Peppers contain high levels of vitamin C and A, and are a concentrated source of powerful antioxidants. In reading about peppers, I discovered that "the fiber found in peppers can help to reduce the amount of contact that colon cells have with cancer-causing toxins found in certain foods or produced by certain gut bacteria. In addition, consumption of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid, all found in bell peppers,is associated with a significantly reduced risk of colon cancer." People with "sensitive digestion" are often told to stay away from peppers as they are "irritating" and lead to inflammation. However, this reference asserts that the peppers actually fight against the bad intestinal flora which is often the underlying problem factor with many digestive issues.
Today, days later, as I yet gushed over my colorful find, my dad reminded me of that old nursery rhyme, Peter Piper and his peck of peppers. I wonder what color his peppers were? I suspect that his peck could not bring more delight than did my sole Purple Beauty...
~ Piper's Peck ~
Purple Beauty bell pepper
Yellow crook neck squash
Feta goat cheese
Cracked black pepper