Rain rain go away! It’s market day

Published 10:00 pm Monday, August 11, 2014

What do you do when it’s pouring rain Saturday morning and you want to get to the Farmer’s Market? You grab your umbrella and go. I sloshed my way around all the vendors, gathering up some corn and tomatoes, filling my bag with produce for the week. A summer salad is on the menu and I discover a bright yellow zucchini squash that looks interesting. Then I notice a young girl perched under her big red umbrella, her table filled with bread and cookies. “Who is this enterprising young teenager,” I wonder, as I head over her way
Fourteen-year-old Jennifer Stoltzfus wanted a summer job. Her mother suggested bread baking. She had learned to bake bread at her Mennonite church and loves being in the kitchen. So it was a natural for her to set up a table at the Farmers Market and sell her various breads, including Italian Herb and Cheese Bread, Tomato Basil Bread, and White Bread baked with non-GMO flour. A glass covered dish displays Blueberry Muffins and Monster cookies. “And my zucchini bread is especially popular,” she smiles, ignoring the rain dripping from her umbrella.
Jennifer’s family moved here from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania when Jennifer was only five. Her father has nine siblings. The family had all lived within a 15 mile radius in Pennsylvania. He was part of a prison ministry, Gospel Express Ministries. They traveled as a group, teachers, preachers, and family singers, around Pennsylvania then relocated to the South to expand and continue the ministry. “They raised money by holding auctions,” she explains. “People would donate cattle and other goods to be auctioned off. But I was young and don’t remember too much. My dad left the ministry and worked in construction for a while. Now, he delivers barns by truck, and he’s very busy. He just came back from delivering one in Texas.”
I inquire about her life. “I have two older sisters and we were home schooled until the upper grades. My mother made sure we were up at 7:30 and starting school by 8 a.m. so it wasn’t a big adjustment to change to public school,” Jennifer assures me. “And I have cousins at school, and friends from playing softball so it wasn’t too scary to switch from home schooling.”
The steady rain has kept many people home today. But as we chat, customers approach her table and make their purchases. “Usually I’m sold out by now,” she tells me as she pulls another loaf from under the table. The sky is dark and rain continues to fall. My shoes are soaked from all the puddles. I realize my notepad is getting soggy and it’s time to head home. I’ve enjoyed my visit with Jennifer. I tell her goodbye as I hurry off to the protection of my car. Next time you’re at the market, look for this charming teenager with her bread stacked on the table; the Tomato Basil loaf looks especially delicious.
– Linda List

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