Things to do

The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday. A photo story

Farmers markets are a cultural cross-section that is hard to find elsewhere in our day-to-day lives.

Purveyors and consumers can smile at each other and strike up a conversation if they so desire. “I picked that yesterday.”

It’s inherently fascinating to see who shows up to pick out local produce, support their neighbors and put their money where their mouths will be.

I went to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on a recent Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to document the scene. Were you seen?

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People often pick up a piece of produce, give it a soft squeeze — maybe sniff it for good measure — and place it back in the bin from where it came. They are even guilty of doing this to fruits and vegetables that don’t get any softer or sweeter smelling when ripe, but it makes you look like you know what you’re doing. Fake it ‘til you make it.

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The market is a big place. There is a lot to see, smell and experience. Some zero in on the fresh produce. Some are just there to peruse, walk their dog or see old friends. There are no outsiders.

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The flower assortments are amazing. There may have been one or more eager boyfriends/husbands/lovers grabbing some mid-Saturday arrangements, but mom was there too, to make sure her weekend centerpiece was perfect.

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Going later in the day may be the best time to go. You miss out on some of the better deals and the ripest offerings, but there is more than enough to sort through later on, and you only half the crowd to navigate.

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Bring a big bag. You will leave with more than you planned — especially when there is a greenery shed and you have a penchant for hard-to-kill plants for your house. How else will you carry that torpedo-sized watermelon or sack of soaps you impulse bought?

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You can also indulge in food from carts and trucks. Think carnival food but with a side of healthful eating.

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If nothing else, go there for the gratuitous produce porn.

Remy Thurston  @remythurston