Friday, June 5, 2009

Saturday at Kansas City's Market

It's a sunny, 70-something early Saturday morning at Kansas City's historic City Market and the place couldn't be more packed. By afternoon, the temperature will soar into the 90s with humidity following closely behind. But now, with a cup of coffee in hand, purse full of cash, and armful of canvas bags, the hunt begins.

The City Market has had plenty of time to get it right since opening in 1857. In fact, so popular is this fresh food shopping emporium on spring and summer weekends, that it has grown into one of the Midwest's largest farmer's markets.

Purchase gargantuan homemade cinnamon rolls and crusty bread from an Amish mother and daughter. Grab a bunch of cilantro from a Thai vendor. Gather up a handful of scallions so large and plump that they would dwarf some yellow onions. Choose from tomatoes of every size and color, huge heads of bright green romaine, and zucchini the size of your forearm. Then stop by the Italian deli for prosciutto or purchase some coffee freshly ground right at the market.

As much as visitors appreciate the plethora of purchases available here, the atmosphere is what brings many people back again and again. There's a mix of every ethnicity from throughout the metropolitan area plus a pulsing, vibrant energy that infuses the market experience with excitement. A teen violinist lovingly plays her instrument for pocket change one week while a wizened saxophonist takes the same spot on another weekend. And great restaurants ring the market area, serving everything from smoky, savory barbecue to authentic Middle Eastern fare and Chinese dishes served by one of the area's best-known restaurant families.

Buying fresh food was never more fun or entertaining.

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