Have you noticed, amidst the cacophonous noise of the spring peepers, that high trill: the mating call of Anaxyrus americanus? In marshes and field edges across the Pioneer Valley, the American toad is singing this song, the females laying their eggs in ponds and pools. And unlike frogs (whose eggs are clumped together in sacks), the eggs of the American toad are strung together in long ribbons of jelly, wrapped around twigs and reeds and rocks so they can’t be easily washed away.
This year more than ever I’ve noticed how the mating call of the American toad erupts during the very same weeks all of our markets are starting up. The Greenfield Farmers Market, the Amherst Farmers Market, The Farmers Market at Forest Park, the Springfield Cooperative Farmers Market, the Northampton Farmers Market, Tuesday Market, and numerous others in our cities and towns.
Picture these markets, if you will, like a string of toad eggs stretched across the valley, threaded through its various habitats and municipalities. Consider the life of this place, the fertility of our soils, the determination of our farmers and food-makers, and how all of that fecundity is displayed and dispersed from the makeshift space of these markets. How precarious it is, how temporary, how abundant.
Tuesday Market opens this week, our numerous stands full of food and the people who made it. And we cannot wait to see you there.