Hey, Denise! Long time no see, stranger. You were walking so fast by my tent I almost thought you were trying to avoid me, ha ha!

So how have you been? Did you see this beautiful kale we have today? I thought of you when I was harvesting it before dawn this morning. I know you like it fresh.

Oh… it looks like you already have some leafy greens there in your reusable tote bag. Kale, in fact. Have you… oh, god… have you been seeing another farmers’ market vendor?

Sure, of course, I get that you go to the Hidden Cove Farms tent for hand-triple-milled goat’s milk soap. Your sensitive skin reacts to my honey beeswax soap. See, I listen. I remember. Even though most people say beeswax soap is actually the best for sensitive skin because it doesn’t block your pores, and my handmade soap is a steal for only twelve dollars a bar. But yes, Denise, I hear you and respect your choices.

But be honest with me, please. It’s been weeks since you bought any produce from me, except for those Purple Comet Japanese eggplants last Saturday, and honestly, that felt like a pity buy.

I know you have needs. I know you like to meal prep your fresh salads for lunch at the office. So where are you getting your Sungold cherry tomatoes, Denise? Who’s sourcing your arugula for you? Tell me, who’s sourcing you?

Wow, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to raise my voice. But I thought loyalty meant something to you. Yeah, I know we never said we were exclusive, but I didn’t think we had to say it. I thought we had a commitment. Maybe for you it was just a seasonal fling, the devil-may-care excitement of springtime. Is that all it was to you, Denise? Pea shoots and eight-dollar asparagus?

Don’t you remember those first, tiny strawberries of spring? The ones that cost ten dollars a pint? You looked into my eyes and said that, even though the berries on the bottom were already going bad, they were so sweet and worth every penny. Remember that connection? That was real.

But I guess you’re not ready to handle the mature farmer-consumer relationship of the fall harvest. The winter squashes and potatoes are rolling in, and I’m ready to start thinking about settling down for the winter. But I guess you’re still playing the field, flitting here and there, feeling up everybody’s pumpkins.

There’s no use in denying it, Denise. That red on your shirt collar? That’s beet juice. Beet juice, Denise, from a Detroit Dark Red. And you know I’ve been focusing on Touchstone Golds this season.

Golden beets, Denise.

God, how am I going to break this to my kids? You remember my six homeschooled children, Flossie, Mandala, Amaranth, Sativa, Millet, and Jim? They’re over there, buffing the free-range duck eggs. I told you things at home had been a little tough since Sativa’s pet millipede crossed the rainbow bridge; they really count on our repeat customers for stability. I just don’t know how I’m going to tell them.

Look at little Millet, rushing over to the cash box, waiting to make change for you as you buy your local, organic produce for the week. This is his math class. If he can’t make change for you, what happens to his grades, Denise? Tell me that!

Listen, I don’t want this to end on a sour note. We can still be farmer and occasional customer. Here, I want you to have this kohlrabi. No, take it, please. I know you love them. I used to look at these gnarly, impossible-to-peel bulbs that taste like bong water and cost six dollars each and think of you. Now it just hurts.

Come on, Millet, let’s go count how many jars of eighteen-dollar beeswax lip balm we have left.