29 May 2010
you should really go to the West Allis farmers market
So living in Milwaukee is weird sometimes. I'm not talking about actual day to day living here, as that is mostly boring/the same as everywhere else. Or at least every other mid-size postindustrial decaying American city. What was my point?
Yes, okay--Milwaukee, specifically people's attitudes towards it. In short, they are rarely positive. I know several people who actively hate it, some of whom live here. One of my sister's work friends apparently called it a 'shithole' recently. This happened right before she visited a few weeks ago, but her friend said it before Tracey mentioned visiting me. It just sort of came up, apparently? That is probably a fair representation of the general opinion of Milwaukee in the Midwest.
And you know what, I get it! Well, sort of. I'm not going to get into Milwaukee's problems, both historical and current, and I am really not going to get into how uncomfortable it makes me when Wisconsin residents from outside the Milwaukee metro area (read: mostly white people) talk about how the city with our largest population of African-Americans is just completely awful.
What I will talk about instead is one of the awesome things about Milwaukee, namely its numerous farmers markets! I went to one today! The one in West Allis, specifically. Which, ha, one of the awesome things about Milwaukee is not actually in Milwaukee's city limits! But there are at least four other farmers markets in the city, one within walking distance of me which doesn't start for another three weeks, dammit. Anyway, I went to the one in West Allis today, and while it was sort of tiny, especially compared to the Dane County Farmers Market (stupid Madison), but it has a ridiculous amount of flower vendors, some awesome ladies that sell a wide variety of herbs (Cook With Herbs website; they seemed really excited about their recipes when I talked to them, so probably they are worth trying), a tamale vendor who actually sells vegetarian tamales (which are rare like... something that's rare! whatever, it's late), and an awesome woman who make the most delicious veg spring rolls I've tasted in ages.
So, uh, in conclusion, Milwaukee does actually have some cool things? I am possibly/probably going to go to West Allis every week, just to eat tamales and spring rolls. I'm pretty excited about all the herbs I bought too. I got three (!!!) kinds of basil (sweet, Thai, and cinnamon), two kinds of mint (Korean and mojito), lemongrass, and rosemary, Vietnamese coriander, and culantro, which is used in Carribbean cooking and apparently tastes like cilantro but is not stupid and impossible to grow like stupid, stupid cilantro. I completely forgot to get chives, which are really easy to grow, but I guess I can do that next week. I already transferred everything to planters (made from quart yogurt containers!), so I am feeling pretty good about my container garden. And about summer, still! Awesome. I hope your summer is going well too.