Farmer’s Market

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Mission and the Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market
by Bimal Krishna das

As I sit under the shade of the beautiful trees Krishna has arranged for the protection of his devotees I can’t help but reflect on all the time and preparation that went into getting ready for the 2008 Summer Farmer’s Market. Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Missions’ booth began only as a thought months ago and has now become a full-fledged reality.

The organizers of the Farmer’s Market were pleased with our idea of preparing food as a yoga or meditation on Love of God and thus gave us a favorable welcome. By Krishna’s mercy we were ready to get going!

Lists of supplies and groceries, along with funding, had to be organized. All of the devotees and guests kindly made donations and other contributions, such as a fridge and a knife set, among other things. The task of going out and pricing groceries, cooking utensils, and pots and pans was daunting. Other necessities needing to be purchased included a freezer, two different stoves, a tent, and tables. We had just enough money to cover the charges.

Now that we had the supplies, we had to find a place approved by the Health Department to cook all of the preparations. Renting the proper facility can be expensive. Good fortune continued when the local Unitarian Church of Christ allowed us to use their ‘certified’ kitchen free of charge. Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Mission is indebted to them for their kindness and willingness to help us out. Through their charitable mood in the service of Jesus Christ they have come into connection with Srila Gurudev.

Time to cook! The cooks met at the church to prepare the bhoga the night before the Farmer’s Market opened, which happened to be Nirjal Ekadasi! Most of us had either worked a full day at our jobs or at home taking care of little ones. This day proved to be a challenge as we were observing a full fast without water! We tried to focus our consciousness on Srila Gurudev and Krishna, praying for their mercy. The cooking and cleaning was finished at about midnight, and while some devotees went home, others headed to the next phase of the project: loading all of the equipment to take to the market the next morning. By this time we had all hit the wall. The equipment was loaded into what turned out to be three cars and a truck. We finished at about 1:30 am and immediately went to bed as 5:00am would be arriving soon.

The next day at the farmer’s market turned out to be a learning experience. We were initially a little short-handed before reinforcements arrived. The booth was set up around 9:30am and we offered the prepared bhoga. To our surprise people immediately started buying full plates of beautiful chickpea and spinach subji, rice, spice cake, cucumber salad, and puris. We also had the most beautiful samosas for sale which have turned out to be the biggest seller. We stayed busy and sold out quickly by 11:30am! We were elated with our success…until the point of realizing we now had to pack up once again and rush to clean dishes and put things away before the Saturday evening program.

The program was like a dream as most of us were thoroughly exhausted. However, the kirttan gave us the nourishment that we needed. Deprived of food and water because of the previous day’s fast, we were more than happy to sit and take prasadam in the company of such wonderful devotees.

Service is our life in Krishna Consciousness. We are always praying to Krishna, begging for the service of his Devotees. The biggest choice we face comes when service is presented to us, be it simple or difficult. Do we accept that service or do we offer excuses? Service is not always easy and not always blissful, but when we try and carry out that service with a pure heart and with even an ounce of love, upon reflection, great blessings have come to us.

We are so fortunate to have a pure Devotee on this planet to serve right now. We are eternally grateful to His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Maharaj! Without his mercy we are but insignificant and worthless souls. May we always humbly pray for his service and association. All Glories to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Maharaj!

We offer much thanks to all of the devotees and anyone else who has contributed any effort, large or small to this project. There have been countless hours of selfless service dedicated to this project and the help will be forever appreciated. All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!!!