Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday in Hamilton, Montana (Part 1)

Mari and I spent Saturday in her new hometown of Hamilton, Montana, population 7,411.

If it was a TV show, today would've been Mayberry R.F.D. meets Seinfeld: a great day about nothing in small town America. We started out at the Farmers Market, then went to the Hamilton Public Library to check out a few books to read on snowy days, went for a short hike up Roaring Lion Creek, and then stopped for lunch at Nap's Grill (great burgers, among other things).

The Hamilton Farmers Market, about half farmers market and half flea market, is held every Saturday from May through early October. They close off a couple of streets in downtown Hamilton, and farmers, cooks and craftspeople set up booths to sell their produce and products.

They usually have a great selection of locally-grown, organic produce at good prices.  It's unlike any farmers market I've been to, because the people tending the booths are the people who actually grew, cooked or made the products they are selling.  They are very enthusiastic about their goods, just like proud parents. 

This late in the season the fruit and vegetable pickings are getting a little slim, but seasonal items have picked up.

There are other goods of local interest, like Native American items (this guy was a good sport and hammed it up for his picture),

Tie-dyed shirts,

And chipotles roasted on the spot.

There is also live music. This guy was good--he'd lay that larger guitar on his lap and play a kind of new-age bluesy music, and he'd smack the guitar in different places with his open palm to add his own percussion.

The crowd is always great. There's a broad mix of people ranging from farmers to yuppies to hippies, but all the people are laid back, and everybody gets along fine.

Next week, to end the market season, they will have an expanded Farmers Market in conjunction with Apple Days.  This is a very big event in the county, with "Apples Galore--pies, butter, cider and more!" We plan to go check it out. I want to get a real caramel apple.