I just returned from a weekend in Oklahoma City. I have a special affection for Oklahoma having grown up there, and whenever I return I am always reminded how friendly people are. It isn’t just the matter of speaking to strangers or being quick with directions, rather there is genuine connection, an extended hand, and the feeling that you have just met a new friend. I found two such individuals at the Oklahoma City Public Market.
At one time the Public Market was the heart of Oklahoma City’s farmer’s exchange where people met on Saturdays to gather their produce for the week, visit the collectibles mall, and select flats of colorful flowers for their gardens. I recall one such Saturday many years ago when I visited the Public Market with my parents. We were on a mission to select the BEST watermelon in Oklahoma. The first step, select the proper seller. We visited each of the locally rented stalls, carefully inspecting the melon stems, comparing shades of green, discerning the appropriate ratio of weight and size, and of course, a lot of melon thumping. We selected a farmer with a cold locker where the melons were floating in ice water, and chose one that father said would have a large heart. For those of you who are not watermelon aficionados, this is a melon that has a large sweet center with few seeds. I never understood how he knew these things, obviously he had special powers.
On this visit to the Public Market I found fewer visitors and fewer sellers than my childhood memories recall, but I was glad to find a rejuvenation following decades of decline. There seemed to be a subtle stir of renewed possibilities. I found fresh paint, locally grown and prepared foods, and a rather robust selection of garden plants.
Inside the Earth2Urban market I met Meg, a pretty young lady with a warm smile and Cover Girl complexion. Meg has the clean wholesome look you would expect to find at a local growers market. On the counter beside her was a large bowl of green tomatoes. Meg offered suggestions as we considered the possibilities. I decided on an old favorite, the Cinnamon Apple Jelly, and to be experimental, a jar of pepper butter.
Across the street, Clay was laboring on the rooftop deck of a small but unique building. At one time the building provided power the local farmers, but in recent years it has sat vacant and forgotten. Clay is a young man with a vision, who dreams of turning this treasure into a restaurant and bar. When we approached he was making repairs to the neglected walls while carefully preserving the interesting architectural elements. Clay described the patio that is planned and smiled as she spoke of a view of the growing OKC skyline. He plans to open this September under the name of Power House. I cant wait for the opening.