Two weeks ago, the Chesterhill Produce Auction got underway with a bang! It is run fabulously by Tom Redfern and Bob Fedeski of Rural Action. Despite a few thunderstorms, everyone was in great spirits and looking forward to a great growing year. I was looking for ingredients to make a killer pie! I bid on some fresh asparagus, French breakfast radishes, multi-colored Swish chard and spring garlic. This is the pizza I made, but first a little psychological ditty about bidding at an auction. And it ain’t pretty.
If you’ve ever been to an auction of any kind, you’ll know that the little aggressive pilot light inside your unsually calm and empathetic soul starts heating up. At first, the auction looks daunting but as long as you follow the few rules of etiquette, you’ll have no problem. Rule number one: NO ONE IS YOUR FRIEND AT AN AUCTION.
This is an experience I (my auction number is 186) had last summer:
A flat of bodacious Mortgage Lifter tomatoes is held up by an Amish guy. These are the most wonderful tomatoes I’ve seen in my life. I am salavating already so I start the first bid.
” I have two, two, two dollars?” The auctioneer says and I look around daring anyone to bid against me. These tomatoes are mine.
A sweet old woman raises her hand extending her little pinky and smiles innocently; she instantly becomes my worse enemy.
“Humma-na-humma, two-fifty, two-fifty, do-I-have-a-three?” the auctioneer looks at me pointing his arm. I nod and grit my teeth hoping to look like a mafia hit man.
“Three-a-ma, Three-a-ma, humana-humana, do I have four-four-four-four dollars?” The auctioneer senses blood in the water now as he arm-points to the woman. She looks trepadacious and I think she’s gonna cave in soon. Then she nods and raises her pinky.
In my eyes, the bidder is not a nice old woman anymore, she is Beelzabub, lord of darkness and is trying to reek havoc upon my world. She is going for my throat and will crush me with that little pinky she keeps waving. Therefore I must counter her childish bidding with strength and the full might of my two years experience here at this auction. My next trumping bid is gonna be an ugly upper-cut to her psyche.
“Four-fitty, do I have four-fitty, fitty, fitty, four-fitty to you?” He says with an arm point. I nod an aggressive yes.
Now Beelzebub is turning and talking to others gathered around her for guidance. They back off, not wanting to help, or hinder this fight. She looks down, worried. She is going down like the Titanic. I smirk in self-admiration for vanquishing Miss Pinky.
“Humana-humana-humana, five, five, five, do I have…”
“Shoot, I’ll pay eight dollars.” The woman says, upsurping the process. She looks in her purse at the cash she has. The auctioneer looks puzzled but smiles at me and shrugs his shoulders.
My mouth drops and I wanna complain about her not following protocal. She has now cast me into a pit of doubt. My mortgage lifters have sprouted wings and are flying away like some 70’s cartoon. I look to the auctioneer for guidance. No help there because he loves when the price to goes up. The Amish guy who raised these tomatoes is smiling also. A sinking feeling drops from my chest to my feet.
“Ah, I guess we have eight, eight, eight, humana, humana. Are you in, number 186?”
It’s decision time for me now and all 50 people eye me, the poor bastard that got out bid by an old womans pinky. Or, I could still carry on and bid $8.50 for this flat- but that would make me a chump, paying too much at the height of the summer tomato glut.
I nod my head no. I am finished. Beelzabub won.
“Yay! I got those beautiful tomatoes? For only eight dollars? Yay!” says the woman over and over.
I shuffle away from the bidding and look at the other vegetables feigning a laissez-faire attitude. I know that I have been whipped but must keep my cocky composure or this flaw may be taken advantage of by other bidders.
The auction continues and I bid and win everything I need to make some glorious pizzas but all the while, I keep an eye on her, my arch-nemesis.
I had hoped for bidding redemption someday but I haven’t seen her again.
Below are the fabulous vegetables to be found at our little auction.So you think I’m being a little hypersensitive about vegetables, well just check these out.