Call of Duty
by Roxanne Garcia
Rarely do you see me shed a tear, but today, of all days, was the day. I received a phone call this afternoon from a vendor who has been with the Tucson Farmers’ Markets for over thirteen years and has developed quite a following. Even if you’ve never tried her goods, almost everyone who has visited the markets knows her: Adela Durazo, “the salsa lady.” She called to tell me about something that happened to her following the Sunday market at St. Philips Plaza.
After packing up and returning home from the market, Adela found a message on her answering machine. The message was from a young woman who had missed the Sunday market because she was busy preparing a welcome-home party for her husband who was arriving that night from Afghanistan. She was in desperate search of “the salsa lady” from the farmers’ market and was willing to drive anywhere to meet her to purchase some of her salsa for the party. It turns out that her husband’s only request for his return was that salsa from the market he had visited before he left for Afghanistan, two years before, and his wife was determined to get it for him. Now, Adela had already spent over five hours in the sun. She was nearly ten miles north of the market location, at her home, all of her goods neatly packed into her car, when she heard the message. But immediately Adela phoned her back and suggested they meet somewhere–she was glad to do it. “It’s no problem!”
Our vendors are the best of the best. They love what they do. You will love what they do. I love what they do. Every weekend I interact with hundreds of people including market customers, farmers, city officials, local chefs, and staff members. I engage in a range of conversations from sustainability, to lease agreements, to my personal favorite, food. If I haven’t said so before, I will now–I love my job. It warms my heart to hear stories of men and women whose lives have been touched by the hard work and excellent products at our markets, and this particular story has been both humbling and inspiring.
Ours is a community of hope and inspiration, and together we are building our future. We can never know all the ways that we touch each others’ lives, and I am certain that there are many more stories like this one. Let’s share them! If there is a story you would like to share please send it to me. I would love to post it to our greater community (and hopefully not cry)!