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A Handful of Chiles

To say our vegetable garden didn’t do too well this season is an understatement. The only comfort is that many other people in our area had a similar experience. Not that we didn’t have some wonderful veggies, especially at first, but eventually the weather and the deer took their toll, and we ended up yanking out the garden early this year and relying on the farmer’s market for our “just-picked” produce. In a way, it turned out to be a good thing. It allowed us to find some locally grown goodies that we might otherwise have missed.

One treasure I found at this week’s market were the gorgeous chiles you see in the above photo — all of them hot. The farmer was selling them for a dollar a handful, which was a bargain for two reasons — neighboring stands were selling them at five for a dollar, but also, this farmer had huge hands, so his “handful” was extremely generous.

As he dropped two huge fistfuls into a bag, I mentioned that I’d be posting a photo of these fiery little beauties on my blog. He promptly added three more handfuls for free, including some chocolate habaneros — just to add more color to the photo. I came home with a whopping full bag of hot chiles, all for two dollars. Purchased at another farmer’s table, the same amount of chiles would have cost me nearly twenty dollars. And if my own chiles had survived the summer, I never would have met the generous farmer with the aesthetic eye.