Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farmers Market in August: A Little Cactus Tale

The Las Cruces Farmers Market was as crowded as we've ever seen it this past Saturday. It's a wonderful place to watch people, listen to music, get a massage, buy fresh produce, try out an herbal remedy, get a sack of fresh green chiles roasted, and...



... we always need to STOP to see the nice couple who sell the cacti and other low-water plants, just in case we find something to add to our garden. 



We were just digging around in our pockets for some cash to buy the last beavertail cactus when a little boy--oblivious to us, but focused on the cactus--leaned down in front of us, scooped it up, and said, "I think I've found my cactus! What's it called?" The cactus lady explained that its name was Opuntia basilaris. Handing over his two dollars and fifty cents (what a steal!) he said, 

"I think I'll call it Steve."

Then the budding young gardener ambled off, smiling and hugging his cactus pot to his chest. We were charmed. Next week, we'll try to get there early enough to buy a Steve of our own.

Not Steve

7 comments:

charlotte g said...

Well! That makes me a tad homesick, seeing the Oregons and cacti. But I wouldn't recognize Las Cruces now, with massages and herbal remedies and a Farmers Market not featuring a parking lot and produce in the back of a bunch of pickup trucks. And I worry if the cacti are propogated--they must be; surely you can't publicly sell dug up rustled cacti in public. I used to have quite a bit of desert property near Alamogordo, and theft of cacti and yucca was sometimes a problem. Frankly, you know the names of more cactus than I and I grew up there...which is why I don't, I guess. FYI, my dad used to hike the Oregons while attending NMSU, and bring back quartz crystals to install in his shortwave radios back in the day....

The Fabulous Penguin said...

Clairz, that first photo brought me right back to that day we all went to the market and museum and I am feeling almost emotional about it. It makes me miss you guys, miss the market and museum there at the end of the street, the brick oven pizza, the music. All through a simple photo. Once again reminded how much we want to be there.
"Keepng the dream of Las Cruces alive"

Mary Hulser said...

Well, our Steve sometimes gets a little prickly, but don't tell Auntie...so I've just spent about 15 minutes trying to read your post. Kanye cat insists on sitting next to the keyboard and hitting enter with his paw. Do you think it's because every time he does it I yell "Kanye.?.

clairz said...

Pat and Mary, I think of you both whenever we are at the market. Sadly, the tree we all sat under has been chopped down so that part of the mall can be road again. However, the wood is being used by a whole lot of local artists to make beautiful objects. The shady trees along there are gone, though, and sorely missed.

Charlotte, these nice cactus people are definitely propagators, not rustlers, and have a small nursery up by the Robledo Mountains. You know, the developers often clear off house lots out in the desert, regardless of the vegetation there. I just read a nice story in the newspaper about a woman who made a deal with the developers to rescue the cacti that otherwise have gone under the bulldozer's blade. She moved them all to a bare arroyo in the subdivision and transplanted them there, enlisting help from her neighbors in getting them well established. When she died not too long ago the city made a park there and named it after her.

becky said...

Clair, looks like fun at your farmer's market. I love the caption under you last photo :)

"Cactus Rescue..." that's awesome!

Sandy ~~~ said...

I want all the Steves and not-Steves...but I must learn to STOP watering them. I pitched a lovely something-or-other just last night because it started to lean over because I had rotted the base off! Geesh, when can I remember they are LOW water plants?

Deb said...

So sweet...made me say, "Awwwwwwww..."

Steve is a good plant name. If he chooses a girl next time, tell him "Deb" is a pretty good name....