After two weeks of solid gloom, the weather cooperated last Saturday, and everyone had the same idea: Drive in circles around the farmers market, looking for a place to park.

The strollers and lattes were out in force, plus a group of anti-ICE protesters who marched through en route to City Hall. It was like a mosh pit, in other words, at the Clark Fork Market. The smart shoppers did their surgical strikes early, or hit the North Higgins market.

The action has been getting so hot under the bridge, in fact, that it’s begun to attract leeches. One vendor was outed (and booted) for trying to pass off Washington cherries as local.

I learned everything above when I rolled into the market around noon, an hour before closing. That’s when the boys and I typically arrive, sliding in when, as they say in Alaska, “the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”

Market report kale

I don’t condone bargaining, or asking farmers for deals. Don’t be that guy trying to negotiate the price of a head of broccoli like it’s a new car. These vendors are people with dirt so deeply embedded in their fingers it won’t wash out, and they work as hard as they do because they want to feed you. This is no place for scrimping.

At the same time, I am open to offers that are mutually beneficial. I didn’t arrive last week looking to score a box of kale, but it was offered at a price I couldn’t refuse. It’s been green-smoothie-thirty here at Market Report Central all week long.

By the hour of my leisurely arrival, the tomatoes were long gone, though the buzz was still resonating. Given this week’s hot and sunny forecast, next week’s tomato supply should increase sharply. The same can be said for huckleberries, which made a teasing appearance, and strawberries, which sold out by 10 a.m.

Also spotted in the market’s final minutes: peas, carrots, garlic scapes, potatoes, mustard greens, baby bok choy and some rhubarb that only Charlie Brown could love. All it needed was some strawberries and sugar.

The Market Report is a periodic account of the previous week’s farmers markets in Missoula. Send tips and story ideas to editor@missoulanews.com.

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