Wow, I finally made it to the Kollwitzplatz Farmers Market, the oldest all-organic market in Berlin. I felt too shy about my German to talk to the large, hearty herbalist who was sharing shots of her homemade Schnapps with her neighboring vendors. Maybe next time. I bought delicious heirloom white carrots, wonderful with butter and salt, somewhere between carrots and parsnips in flavor and texture. And cabbage and onions and lettuce and green beans and a pumpkin and a chicken and eggs and fresh goat cheese and apples and sage and parsley and, most importantly, flowers!

As soon as I grasped the bouquet, the vendor bubbled over in the fastest, most excited German I’d ever heard. I tried to wait politely but eventually had to cut her off to let her know I had no idea what she was saying. I thought she’d just take my money and leave it at that. But no, she asked the other people around to help translate, because she so wanted me to know that every flower in this bouquet is from her own garden and tended by her own hand, and that the orchid plant has been living at her farm for over 70 years! She turned to her friends and asked a question I could understand: “How do you say gardener in English?” One said “florist!” And she said “no, that’s something different.” I was able to say “I understand, you are a gardener.” I wished I could say “I know that word because it was my grandfather’s surname!”

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