Spring is in the air, here, in good ol’ Cream City, or as one of my nerdy pals likes to call it, “Old Milwaukee.” I think just for Ss & Gs, we should crank it up one more notch and call it, “Ye Olde Milwaukee.” Things always sound so much older when you put a “Ye” in the front, and an “E” after the “D.” Hells, yeah. Incidentally, there used to be a place down the road from me called, “Ye Olde Dinner Bell.” That place was so olde, I’m surprised I can even remember it. Ah, well. Seeing as how today is Friday, I thought I would have a little fun with Ye Olde Creative Beasts. Hunted for some viddies of some of the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) local TV ads ever made. I couldn’t find the Milwaukee ones I was hoping for (anybody got Doc’s Fine Jewelers?), but here are a few fun ones nevertheless, along with my 1-5 star rating:
Pretty frickin’ awesome. 4 Stars.
And this guy… Rudy. How could you not buy a car from him? Or get a pap smear? He’s adorable!
Ciento por ciento, excellente. 5 stars.
Okay, well, that’s about all the time we have today, Creative Beasts. Go on and get your nerd on. Happy Spring, Via con Dios and/or SEIZE THE PREY.
The Cathedral Square Farmers Market: could be betta.
Saturday morning I had planned on taking a drive to West Bend to check out their farmers’ market, as my friend Robin, who lives there, tells me it’s one of the best in the state. Additionally, Jeff-leen Farm has a stand there; a vendor who raises grass fed Piedmontese beef, about which I have also heard very good things. However. The West Bend Farmers’ Market begins at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 11 a.m. While I had every good intention to leave Milwaukee at 8:30 so I could get there by 9:30, The Master Cleanse and Mother Nature had something else in mind. And you know what they say about good intentions. Anyway, I wasn’t able to leave the house until 9:15. Robin was not pleased about this, and even less so, because I failed to call to let him know I was running late… again. Not until 9:15, at any rate. “Don’t bother coming.” He said. “There won’t be enough time for you to see everything.” Friends of mine–and others–can attest to fact that I am sometimes–ahem–not punctual. You could say that this is an “opportunity for improvement.” My friend Carrie said that for some people, not being on time is a control thing. “Trish!” She said, with her wily grin. “Do you try to control the world with your lateness?” I swear, I don’t. In fact, I’m making a resolution right now. I will be on time. Otherwise, I’m a bit like the spanky-white, brand-new polo shirt–that just got red Kool-Aid spilled down its front. Lateness is lame.
Anyway, and back to my brief conversation with Robin. Apologetic, and somewhat bummed out, I agreed, and resigned myself to visiting the Farmers’ Market downtown at Cathedral Square, which I normally would not do, because in the past, it has struck me as unworthy of the trip from Bay View. It’s small, and generally speaking; lacks a promising number of noteworthy vendors. Frankly, Bay View’s market is better, but it doesn’t start until next week, and since I was already on my way out the door, I figured, “What the heck?” So I went to Cathedral Square. It was about what I expected. Not much happening, though I did buy a grass fed black angus porterhouse steak from Ruegsegger Farms. It was $18/lb, so we shall see. Afterwards, I stopped by one of the herb stands to pick out some English Thyme, but a funny thing happened. The gal “manning” the stand refused to sell it to me.
“This has got to get planted in soil in the ground right away,” she said. “It can’t be put in a pot.”
“Okay,” I said. “Well, how about a planter box?”
“How big is it?” She asked.
“Well, it’s about this big.” I stretched out my arms. “It’s a window box. But it’s on the ground.”
“Why can’t you just plant it in the ground?” She pressed.
“Because I don’t have a space for it,” I answered.
“Why don’t you just cut out part of your grass?”
I looked at her, rather puzzled.
“Look, the owners are strict about this. They don’t want people planting them in pots because then they die after one season. They will last about 20 years if you plant them in soil,” she explained.
“Oh, I see. So you’re afraid I’ll come back next year and ask you for some free thyme. I promise I won’t, all right? I’ll plant it in the ground. I’ll make a space. How’s that?”
She said nothing.
“So could I have some thyme, please?”
“Nope. Because you don’t have your soil ready.”
“So you’re not gonna sell it to me.” At this point, we had an audience, and I stared at her in pure disbelief. “Wow,” was all I could say.
“Nope. Get your soil ready and come back next week.”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to get right on that.” I said. “See you never,” I thought, as I walked away.
Somewhat irked, I walked over to the Hmong farmers who had plenty of nice, cut herbs. I picked up a bunch of mint. “How much?” I asked the man.
“One dollar.” He said.
I handed him a dollar, and he bagged it up and handed it to me, smiled and said thank you. I like the Hmong farmers.
And that was it for Cathedral Square. I called my friend D and asked her if she wanted to come with me to the West Allis farmers’ market. She agreed, and at 1pm, she and her husband Tom and I went there together. It reminded me of when Dorothy and friends get out of the woods and past the poppy field, and on to Emerald City. Beautiful flowers, herbs and little legume plants everywhere. And the aromas. Like I said, herbs and flowers, but also, grilling Italian sausages and bratwurst and tamales… It was beautiful, truly. If I hadn’t been fasting, I could have seriously been tempted to partake in some decadent, unhealthy food consumption. Okay; so I was tempted. But I did not succumb.
I found a grass fed angus beef vendor at the West Allis market as well; Fer-Li Farms. Their porterhouse is $12/lb. I decided to pick one up so I could do a side by side comparison with Ruegsegger. Stay tuned, and may the best steak win. My final question for this blog is: Why must the Cathedral Square Farmers’ Market be so unsatisfactory; i.e., lame? It’s unimpressive and overpriced, and that is the way it has been for years–and in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on Saturday. I don’t know who organizes this particular farmers’ market, but I will say this: What’s the deal? I’ll say it again: This is the farmers’ market in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. It could be way better. It’s a great location, a great space and in a great city. Do it like you mean it. Represent, yo. …Oh, and I bought my thyme at the West Allis Farmers’ Market.
West Allis Farmers' Market: The Land of Oz.
All right, so if you if know what I’m sayin’, then you know what it means to be a Creative Beast. Where It’s At. Represent. And be on time.