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How Do You Like Them Apples?

Cool is the rule,But sometimes, bad is bad Huey Lewis and The News - Bad is Bad

By Randall Grantham Community Columnist

In some of the best news we’ve seen in years, I am happy to report that all the indicators are pointing to an economy on the rebound. Of course, in a presidential campaign that has pinned its hopes on Obama’s inability to right the sinking ship of state he inherited, it’s a classic good news/bad news situation.

While, if true, it’s long awaited and long overdue, it undercuts the right’s efforts to cast our current president as a know-nothing socialist in domestic affairs. That certainly can’t be done on his record in International Politics and the fight against terrorists. Hell, he hasn’t apologized for the US in a couple of years as far as I can tell and he’s knocking off bad guys like tin figures at the County Fair plinkin’ rink.

So I’m sure that as red, white and blue as the candidates may be, they’re secretly hoping that the bad times last just a little bit longer.

Well, wait a minute Grantham, you might be saying, how do you know the economy is coming back? Maybe that dip in the jobless figure is just a temporary reflection of the holiday spending and hiring. You can’t just take a few financial reports and jump to the conclusion that it’s a come-back, you say?

You’d be right. My market research is not limited to such arcane and hypothetical numbers as unemployment, GNP or deficit spending plans. My market research is done at the market, literally. The fresh markets as they call them.

Long a tradition in Europe and other countries, open air markets have been making a welcome return to our communities as both a means of “eating local” and an outlet for those with talents long hidden by their 9-5 grind jobs that they may no longer have. Many of those have taken to setting up booths next to the vegetable stands, popcorn wagons and plant sales that are staples of the market.

I like them. They aren’t like flea markets in the bargain pricing department, but you can get some very good unique and artisanal food products there.

Friday, at the one in downtown Tampa, I got some pickled green beans (great for my Sunday Bloody Mary) and flavored vinegar and olive oil along with some Ezekiel bread, made from sprouting grains rather than crushed and dried.

Saturday, I saw many of the same vendors at Wiregrass Mall’s market and bought some butterscotch bread (French Toast, yum.), vegetables, and spice mixes and a hot pepper bush, both of which I used to make jerk chicken that night.

And I can tell things are looking up by using my patented “fresh market model.”

There were more people there than I’m used to seeing. There were more vendors selling out of product earlier in the day than usual. And some of the vendors that sold out of something in Tampa the day before, were still out when I saw them at the mall market. They had no reserves to fall back on.

But the most telling sign of the improving economy that I saw was the vegetable vendor that makes their rounds in these fresh markets. They had hired several new employees. One particularly rattled young man was working the register. When we commented on his tired legs, he remarked that not only was this his first day working for this vendor, it was his first day of work in 8 months.

This all bodes well for the economy, but not so much for those wanting to exploit our financial woes for their own purposes. But, unlike many of us, those guys don’t even need the job, so screw ‘em all, I say. And keep those markets open.

(Randall C. Grantham is a lifelong resident of Lutz who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway. He can be reached at LutzLaw@aol.com. Copyright 2012 RCG)

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