Su Lum: Oh say can you P
The new enlarged farmer’s market opened up this weekend, and appeared to be well attended when I bought a supply of shelling peas at 9:30 and again an hour later when I went back for more.
It’s too early for local corn and tomatoes, and soon it will be too late for shelling peas, so you have to get them while you can. I have tried pressure cooking and microwaving, even cooking them in the shell and popping the peas afterward, but I’ve found that the best way to prepare shelling peas is to shell them and put them in salted, boiling water for 10 minutes, drain them in a sieve and serve them with a dollop of real butter.
Ten minutes sounds too long, but it’s just right. When corn season comes, put one ear at a time in the microwave, husk and all, for four minutes, which also sounds too long, but trust me.
While I was pea-picking, I heard some peeving from the farmers about the lack of toilet facilities. It seems that they can’t pee in the restrooms at City Hall because you never know if a farmer from Grand Junction might want to get in there and steal all our studies, and they can’t pee in the restrooms of the Catholic church (We’ll take your soul, but not your scat?), and it is an Aspen tradition for shop owners to look people in the eye, solemnly shake their heads and categorically deny that they have a bathroom on the premises.
The upshot is that the size of the farmer’s market has been doubled, but now they have only one stinking PortaPotty instead of the piddling two they had before, and they are rightly pissed off about it.
We invite these guys to come here and add to our messy vitality
(not to mention the economy) and then we don’t even give them a pot to pee in.
Meanwhile, the food and wine crowd a few blocks away had a string of PortaPotties AND access to our public restrooms (cleverly disguised as an airport advertising kiosk) bordering the trampled park, and you know there will be even more PP’s at the Jazz event this weekend, exacerbating the impression that in Aspen, only the well-heeled are privy to the basic amenities.
The jury is still out on the expansion of the farmer’s market, though grumbles of “ticky-tacky” and comparisons to suburban parking lot crafts fairs are beginning to surface. Maybe we could put all the food stuff in one block and all the other stuff in the second block. Either way, the bottom line is that all these folks are here for the summer, and we can’t expect them to leave their posts and go running over to Wagner Park to answer calls of nature.
I don’t know how many toilets there are in the two city blocks that now encompass the farmer’s market, but it’s a LOT, and it behooves us to open our hearts and our bathroom doors to those who bring us shelling peas, corn, tomatoes, fresh garlic, juicy onions, bundles of basil, the relishes, the pastas and the artsy fartsies, too.
Let’s change our image as Greedhead City to a kinder, gentler Aspen, sending the message: give us your tired, your spoor.
[Su Lum is a longtime local who thinks we should have thought ahead. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]
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Though many are fatigued from the pandemic, rules for health and safety must be followed even more closely as winter approaches.