A Man and His Beets

I watched this older bespectacled man appraise beets for several minutes.

His balding head was bent almost at a 45 degree angle examining bunch after bunch of this scarlet vegetable with long green leafy fronds.  He held them up close to his wire rimmed glasses as if under a microscope and then brought his arched head even closer so he could smell each one.  He ultimately shook the condensation off one bunch and handed them to the farmer to weigh.  My conclusion was he bought his beets first for clarity of life purposes and only secondarily for nutrition and taste.

He took out his wallet, juggling several things in his arms at the same time, and then paid for them with a familiar word to the farmer, a man who’d driven hours in the early, early morning through the rain from upstate New York to sell his beets at the Saturday market on 14th Street in NYC starting at 6 AM.

I arrived at 7 AM just as the rain was stopping and thought I’d arrived in paradise.

A photographer’s paradise as well as for those who worship nature’s bounty.  It’s all here.  Quail eggs, please.  O, yeah.   Do you buy them by the dozen?  And, even more basic, what in hell do you do with them?

Oh, the colors of this market.  The shapes.  The market of exquisite, I call it.

I first heard about it from friend, Bonnie Luria who posted a photo of radishes last year that knocked me down with delight.  Cousin Mary knew about it, too, and down we went on the N subway which she calls the “nice” subway so she can remember where it goes.

More to come on nature’s bounty but, first, I’d like a side of  that beet and orange salad with tangy vinaigrette and a quail egg omelet with a side of hash browns– cuz c’mon…they are good with everything and nutrition doesn’t always have a long leafy frilly tail….well, except on a rainy day in paradise.

©Pat Coakley 2009


5 comments on “A Man and His Beets”

  1. What a beautiful image, full of humanity and narrative! Beets, the aging arm, the shine of rain on the pavement… I love it.

    • See, this is why I love this blog: readers and “lookers”. I loved this photo but could not tell you why. I have images of him full body, studying the beets, every which way..but, then, I decided I wanted an image that was as close-up of him as he was close looking at the beets. Thanks, Don!

  2. Hi, Pat–
    This photo is gorgeous. The colors and textures are so lovely. I love the green market at 14th Street (I love all green markets, to be honest.

    How wonderful that you’re here in NYC! Will you be here long? I’d love to treat you to a glass of wine or a yummy Vietnamese sandwich and a bubble tea (or, you know, something else that appeals to you).

    Have a great visit!

  3. That’s a darn good image Pat. It’s not even Wednesday yet. Uh Oh

  4. I love how this says so much about a green market without showing the obvious bounty of its contents.
    The narrative, the crop of the image, the suggested background.
    Not the least of it is the inclusion of a person.
    I like seeing figures from behind- a way to be pulled into following rather than coming face to face.
    This is your talent, your skill.
    To take an essence and make an entire stew from it.

    I love this shot Pat.
    Oh, and thanks for the mention here…..

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