Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday at the Farmer's Market with the Regional Plan

The Planner Guy and I were up early this morning in order to be a to be at the Flagstaff Farmer's Market where he, his coworker Kim, County planners and volunteers from the Citizen's Advisory Commission were holding an Open House to gather public comment for the Flagstaff 2012 Regional Plan update. Public opinion about a variety of community planning topics is gathered, including that pertaining to transportation and sustainability. Members of the community can ask questions, share thoughts and concerns about the regions current direction of growth, and obtain resources for further learning about the issues and how they can be involved in contributing to the process. Among the issues important to me, as one might suspect, is the further expansion of bike (wider)lanes and the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. I'd also like to see greater emphasis on expanding public transit so that living and working car-free (or at least car-lite) is an easier option for more people. Being married to a City Planner and a city employee myself, I've had ample opportunity to give my input, but kept a low profile at Bob's booth in favor of capturing photos of the market and its patrons, especially those on bikes.

Bob and I made ready our bikes the night before since we needed to do some shopping ourselves for the coming week - our usual front porch dining needs, Dr. Hummus, Rainbow Valley Farmer's Cheese, Village Baker bread and fresh produce. I anticipated needing two panniers, Bob's saddlebag and my bike basket for all our bounty for the return ride home.

The Flagstaff Farmer's Market could the perfect place in Flagstaff for interacting with die-hard bike commuters and Sunday bike commuters. I refer to some as Sunday bike commuters since I suspect that many attending the market travel to the market by bike more for family recreation than as part of their lifestyle. In no way do is this a criticism since everyone has to start somewhere and Bob and I are from from being independent of our car. I wonder how many will eventually make that leap from biking to the farmer's market to biking to their weekday errands and to work?

It would be naive to say that making the transition from driver to pedaler is a simple task. A considerable amount of planning and preparation can be involved. After all, as progressive as Flagstaff is compared to other communities with with respect to supporting bike infrastructure, it is still a community developed with the car in mind. This woman I spoke to lives in Kachina Village, outside the City limits, and typically parks her car close at the nearest FUTS access and bikes the rest of the way in.

While recently a number of the cycle chic blogs have taken some unfair hits for allegedly only featuring youthful female bike commuters, I was really happy to have the opportunity to capture several "this is what 50 looks like" women modeling the benefits of the active, bike commuting lifestyle. They are women closer to my age and the women with whom I would like to identify. They prove that getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down or settling down.I loved this woman's casual little bag. A great wicker basket from Arizona Bikes on Aspen Avenue adorned the front of her bike, too.

But let's face it, many Flagstaff bike commuters are young - and male. This young gentleman was particularly well-dressed. Perhaps he just came from church? Maybe he's channeling Gene Kelly? Or maybe, he just knows how to dress. A crisp white shirt and khaki pants always work.

Many at the Flagstaff Farmer's Market chose to travel in pairs. Better for carrying large bags of produce back to the homestead? Or maybe it's just more fun that way to get to know one another.

Back at the Regional Plan booth, I found Bob and Kim in constant discussion with visitors to the market. Scanning the comments, I noted many suggestions related to bike infrastructure and public transportation. Bob told me that one person he spoke to works at Flagstaff Medical Center, which provides their employees with financial incentives to bike to work, thus encouraging healthier living and providing more parking for patients.

Eventually, it was time to do our shopping.

I cannot leave the market without some delicious Dr. Hummus. Required eating for our front porch.

Bob requested tomatoes and some veggies to saute with pasta. I like the little basket the vendor provides to carry selections to the cashier.

Brian of Manna, local makers of handmade soaps and lotions, sold me a tin of Rosemary Shea Butter. Fresh and heavenly. I couldn't live without rosemary.

After rounding out my shopping with four Molly's Tamales, a loaf of French bread from the Village Baker, and two butternut squash, I was exhausted and needed a newspaper and a cool watermelon cocktail. A perfect rest before helping Bob pack up and head home for homemade blackberry pie with fresh whipped cream and a front porch napping session.


Dottie said...

I always love to see your farmer's market pictures. Fresh produce and happy cyclists make a great combination :) And serve as I reminder that I really need to get out to the farmer's markets in my area before the snow rolls in again.

She Rides a Bike said...

Oh, I know! I love the Farmer's Market and I think most bike commuters do too. I keep meaning to do a series of post about the things that make us alike within the bike commuting culture. Do we all have a tendency to pedal to the farmer's market? Does our dream house come with a large front porch for dreamy evenings sipping wine? Are we mostly a bit out of step with the mainstream as we fantasize about what could be? Anyway, I'm thinking of going to the Wednesday night farmer's market at St. Pius this week on the other side of town. Just to see what it's like.

RidingPretty said...

I love Tamale Molly, the little handmade, hand tied tamales I always use to get in Sante Fe, NM. But wait you are speaking of Molly Tamales...yes, they are very good too. Alas I can't get either tamale here. Boo-hoo.

Anyway, what a great post. I love Farmers Markets. Did you see my lovely Farmer's Market lady here. The bike she rides is older than her 21 year old son!

Thanks for being positive and looking for what unites and not divides. I so look forward to your proposed future postings along this line!

She Rides a Bike said...

Riding Pretty:
I did see your Farmer's Market lady and thought she was wonderful. I hope to one day be that little old lady in linen slacks and a slouchy blouse on a bike riding to my appointment with the local butcher or coffee house group. I see them all the time and they are so elegant and cool at the same time. I always see them as more sophisticated and interesting than I could ever hope to be. They fascinate me endlessly. Before I married the Planner Guy I lived alone in a little Victorian cottage I bought in Louisville. I had an overgrown cottage garden and planned to grow old there. I fantsized that young women would visit me for tea and lemon scones and ask me to recount tales of all my lovers and travling adventures. Naturally, I would have owned a really smashing vintage bike with a front basket always stuffed with flowers cut from my garden.

Rachelle said...

I love your blog. I often read it on the train to and from work. How I envy bike commuters. Thanks to your blog I think I will have to fix up my bike and use it for errands on the weekend.

Beany said...

This was an excellent market report!

I especially liked the older (than me) generation featured here. Everyone is beautiful...on a bicycle! :)

Although I am farmers' market devotee, I live only a few blocks away and prefer to walk the distance than bike.

Phoenix Cycle Chica said...

We have Dr. Hummus at our market too! And we can't leave without stocking up...

She Rides a Bike said...

Thank you so much for your comment! It's always nice to hear from new people, as well as returning readers. I checked out your blog - devoted to puppy love and running, two of my favorite things.

Adrienne Johnson said...

I am with you on liking to see some older woman on the blogs. At 38, I am more interested in the ... mature woman : ) After decades of the SF bike scene being saturated by the 20 something crowd, there are more and more of us hitting the road!

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