No one would ever accuse me of being a “hippy.” Not by a long shot. Sure, I live in Marin and vote accordingly, but “hippy?” No. Not that I have anything against the hippy culture, of course. I just like wearing commercial perfumes over patchouli and have never been a fan of tie dye.
Which is why I always found it so curious that everyone would always tell me about the Fairfax Wednesday afternoon Farmer’s Market. The funny part is, they would tell me I would love it, and in the same breath describe it as a cute “hippy dippy” (which doesn’t sound like a positive phrase, if you ask me) collection of crafts, music, yummy food and organic produce.
At the description, my mind would flash to the overly crowded Noe Valley Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. I would picture the tiny parking lot where they would bring in a handful of tents, throw some chalk down for the handful of toddlers, bring a couple of folk singers and make the already congested area even more annoying. Picturing a version of that in down town Fairfax didn’t really sound appealing. So I spent my first entire year in Marin completely avoiding it. Naturally.
The first sign that I might be making a hasty decision about the Wednesday night Fairfax Hippy Fest was when I was having dinner at a friends house. They revealed the most delicious pre-roasted chicken from a bag, still steamy hot, and started carving. First of all, not having to make dinner is such a plus. And sure, you can get “warm” chickens every where. But this wasn’t a normal “warm” chicken. It was so hot and delicious, that the addictive smell wafted into every corner of the house, promising home roasted deliciousness. It didn’t stop there. There were potatoes, and grainy and crunchy rosemary salt that I could almost stick my tongue directly into. I refrained. Afterall, I was a guest at someone else’s house.
I could go on about the chicken, but the point was, it all came from the Fairfax Farmer’s Market. Wow, I thought. Maybe I should just check it out.
Coincidentally, the next week, I got an invite from some friends to join them there. With the roasted chicken still fresh in my mind, I agreed. I arrived on bike, although I could have easily have driven. Sure, it was crowded, but there were still plenty of parking at that point. (Side bar, I go several times a month in the summer and almost always drive – and have never not been able to find parking.)
When I arrived, yes, there were the folksy singers, and the throngs of toddlers dancing in circles, but it wasn’t a parking lot. It was the lush green center of Fairfax, under the redwood trees. It was warm, but shaded, and there were blankets thrown everywhere with neighbors laughing and sharing snacks.
I found my friends, spread out on several blankets, letting their kids play around them. There were piping hot sweet and savory crepes on sale, delicious grilled sandwiches and beautiful baked goods. And of course, there were the chickens.
I sat down and for the next two hours I felt like time stood still. Everyone was laughing, sharing sandwiches, lush ripe strawberries, cherries and plums. Kids were getting faces painted, and donning balloon dogs and swords. After a long work day this beautiful scene before me was such a pleasant alternative to grocery shopping in florescent lights and cooking.
Am I a hippy convert now, you may ask? No, I wouldn’t say so. But, I certainly see the merits in going native.
Jacquelyn Warner is a Marin based photographer. She was born in LA, raised in Texas, and has been sipping, dipping, hiking, bbqing, shopping and drinking here in the Bay Area for the last 14 years. She remains constant in her endless search for the perfect spot for just about anything in Marin.