One of the best things about Farmers’ Markets is… FREE SAMPLES. For how else would I have discovered the deliciousness of Bolani, a vegan flat bread from Afghanistan. Think of a flat-bread sandwich stuffed with vegetables like potatoes, spinach or lentils, then topped with Garlic Mint Cheese, Spinach Pesto dip, and Sweet Jalapeno Jelly. Very low-calorie, very delicious.
The first time I cruised by the stall at the SoCo Farmers Market, a laid back hipster type was giving out samples. They are not stingy about samples at the Bolani stall either. After sampling the bolani variety with their mint garlic cheese dip, I am sold. The next time I was at the market, I was greeted by young co-owner Naveen, who shared the story of how the company started. As with many Farmers’ Market vendors, the story is about a family business. With Naveen’s accent he narrated the story of an Afghan woman and her family’s struggle in the search for a better life in the US. An inspiring immigrant story to be sure but what is also interesting is how the Bolani and sauces were initially found in a few Bay Area farmers’ markets and slowly gained popularity through word of mouth and the power of a sample.
The SoCo Farmers’ Market is fast becoming our Saturday ritual. My husband comes along for the food trucks, the kids come along for the Kettle Corn. They also like the freedom of being able to go around tasting popsicles from Front Porch, apples from Hass Farms and exotic fruit like the cherimoyea.
There’s this commercial with Willie Nelson singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist”…it tugs at your heart and it’s playing in my head as I go from stall to stall. Shopping at the farmers market connects you with the hands that planted and grew the food. Like going back to the start.
Thank you to Anne Watson Photography for the fantastic images.