It had been a lovely morning. The sun was shining brightly. The wind was howling through the meadows. The birds sang and twittered with delight as they perched on the tree limbs, while the bees buzzed throughout the garden, suckling on the rich pollen of the blossoms. The butterflies were fluttering through the forest; the frogs were croaking, and the animals were romping and playing in the field.
Theo and Mary awoke before dawn to prepare for their big day. It overjoyed them, since they had picked that day to open their fruit and vegetable stand in town. They piled five baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables onto the wooden cart. Apples, grapes, oranges, cucumbers, mangoes, tomatoes, and papayas were all fresh and tasty. They also had baskets full of coconuts, cartons of eggs, and vegetables, including string beans, carrots, onions, and cabbage.
Ray sat up on his bed, wiping his eyes and yawning a few times before stretching his arms high above his head. He gazed back at the comfortable covers he’d just left, and felt compelled to fall back in and sleep the rest of the day. Just as he was about to go back to bed, he realized it was his parents’ big day. They had waited so long for this moment, so Ray got dressed and went downstairs. When he saw his parents enjoying breakfast while the dog raced around the kitchen table, he smiled. Ray picked up the dog and gave it a hearty hug. He grabbed a fast mouthful and dashed to the barn to feed his animal friends. The family was on their way to town in no time to set up their stand at the farmer’s market before it started.
St. Matilde was set at the foot of majestic mountains, surrounded by lush forest and flower gardens. The marketplace was the hub of all activity in the little town. There were usually a mass of people looking for discounts in the rows of tents and stalls selling fruits and vegetables. Bins of pumpkins and squash, as well as jars of home-made jams, pickles, and salsa, were strewn around. Food vendors offered snacks and drinks, while peddlers sold quilts. Some merchants even sold discarded home items and secondhand apparel.
They separated the market into three retail areas. The first section of the building included gift products, clothing, home supplies, and eateries. Owners of fast-food vendors with grins on their cheeks urged consumers to dine at their establishments.
The crowded meat and fish department was next, where locals and visitors alike came to buy fresh seafood. A few fishermen unloaded containers of fresh fish from trucks to sell at the market.
Theo and Mary’s fruit and vegetable stalls were at the lower end of the market. There were at least twenty rows of merchants selling various fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and their items overflowed into the street from the market.
The sun was rising, and the market was busy, with a few sellers already open. As the family reached the entrance, rows of makeshift stalls and pushcarts offering various traditional delicacies, homemade gifts, and potted plants greeted them. Theo grinned at the familiar sights and sounds of a bustling market, while Mary was happy to be part of this community and have their own business.
When they arrived at their assigned location, they searched for their allotted stall and found it in the corner with a long corridor near the back door, leaving adequate space for consumers to wander. Theo was confident that the market would soon thrive with human activity. They cleaned their station and the surrounding area, while Ray helped by placing sale signs and arranging their items for sale on the table.
The market was up and running in no time. Some were buying, while others were just wandering about and taking in the scenery. It was the ideal location to be on a Saturday morning. Locals gathered at Theo and Mary’s fruit and vegetable stand, wondering about what they were offering. Because of its freshness and unique taste, it quickly became the most popular and preferred stop for all customers, not to mention they gave the cheapest pricing.
After biting into one of the fruit samples Mary had placed on the table, a customer commented it was the sweetest fruit she had ever eaten. She urged buyers to try Mary’s mango salad with tomato, cucumber, onions, and cilantro. It was so wonderful that they ended up buying some and even picking up a few unexpected items, such as Mary’s recipes.
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