This year, Christmas fell on Saturday, the regular day for the weekly People’s Market, which operates from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. out of Full House Fitness on Elm Street.
The market was open for business as usual this Saturday.
Around 10:30 a.m. about a dozen pre-orders sat bagged on a table waiting for pickup. The bags contained still-on-the-stalk Brussels sprouts, heads of cabbage, radishes, and broccoli, among other locally grown produce.
Santa Claus, in the form of Jada Bee, a regular market vendor and organizer, was also on hand to spread some cheer. She quickly swapped out a full Santa beard and hat combo for just a hat, to keep from overheating.
It was plenty warm inside, because the outside temperature at mid-morning had already hit 63 F degrees.
That’s just 2 degrees shy of the record high for Christmas Day measured at the Indiana University campus weather station, which has recorded temperatures as far back as 1896. The record high of 65 was recorded in 1982.
It’s part of a generally warmer trend for December this year. Of the December days already in the books for the IU weather station, 20 of them have recorded daily maximums that are higher than the upper end of the normal range for this time of year. The normal range for Dec. 25 in Bloomington is 24 F to 39 F degrees.
Claus responded to a B Square question about the possibility that global warming had been caused by Santa’s inequitable distribution of coal to naughty children. Claus said, “Santa’s position on global warming is: I didn’t cause it, because I use joy and wonder to power my sled. OK? And the coal is a holdover from a completely different dude.”
About the availability of fresh, locally grown produce this time of year, Jada Bee said People’s Market has arranged to have fresh vegetables from fall through spring . “It’s lovely throughout the winter, because we have smaller farmers who are specifically growing variety food to spec.”
She added, “So they planted things so that there would be good winter produce, growing well.”
There’s sometimes an excess of certain kinds of produce, Jada Bee said: “Like right now, we’re in Cabbage Town. We’re in full-on cabbage mode. There’s so much cabbage!”
Jada Bee suggested using extra cabbage to make colcannon, a traditional Irish dish. “You make buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. You sauté your cabbage. You put it together…amazing,” she said.
Jada Bee picked up a stalk of Brussels sprouts from one of the pre-ordered bags waiting for pickup. “They taste better on the stalk—they lose their bitterness when you cook them on the stalk.”
She described basic preparation of a Brussels sprouts stalk like this: “You clean it up a bit, pull off the dead leaves, pull off the top, put some olive oil or some other cooking oil on it, roast it in the oven.” After they’re roasted, the sprouts themselves pop off the stalk really easily, she added.
Under the Brussels sprouts was a bunch of radishes: “Winter radishes—they’re gorgeous!” Jada Bee said.
The online pre-ordering for the Saturday People’s Market always starts each week on Monday morning at 8 a.m. and closes on Wednesday at 5 p.m., or sooner if order limits are reached.
As customers pre-order their own food, they can sponsor boxes of different food categories, which are distributed by People’s Market to people who request them.
People’s Market will be open for regular hours next Saturday on New Year’s Day.