‘Yes, we have no bananas’
I miss The Bonacker. Especially when I get a craving for corn.
The Bonacker was this crusty old guy who’d set up a card table on the grassy verge of the road near the power station and pile it with sweet corn that he’d haul over every morning in from, I’m assuming, his farm.
I’m assuming he was a farmer because he sold corn. But other Bonackers (AKA “Bubs”) were baymen who, instead of hauling corn, would “haul-seine”) bluefish and sell them right on the beach. Actually, many men of the Bonacker persuasion did both. They also raked clams which their wives would make into clam pies. (I have never tasted a clam pie, and have no plans to do so.)
But I did taste — and savor — my share of Bonaker corn. I’d stop by The Bonacker’s on my bike and fill up my basket. I remember it cost 10 cents an ear. If you bought a dozen, he’d throw in a bonus ear. I also remember that we rarely had any left over. Which was sort of a shame, since Corn Salad is one of my favorite creations. (You can find the recipe, which is actually more of a “method”, at “Friends, Romans, Countrymen: lend me your ears”.)
The Bonacker was so cool that if you forgot your money (which happened to me more than once) he would simply tell you to pay him next time. As for “telling you”, understanding him could be a bit of a challenge. The Bonackers, including “my” Bonacker, spoke a dialect that harkened back to the 17th Century when the first working-class English came over.
Bonackers left out pronouns, called each other “Bub”, and pronounced “ie” like “oy”. (That clam pie would be a clam “poy”, but I still don’t want to taste it.) They also used archaic English words like “wickus” for rascal, and “cattywumpus” for, well, cattywumpus.
Now, my Bonacker may be gone, but you can still find damn good corn out here at many a farm stand. My favorite — and not only because it’s close enough that I can still hop on that same trusty (now pretty creaky) bike to go score me some — is the one I (sort of) affectionately refer to as the Forty-Dollar Farm Stand.
I used to call it the Twenty-Dollar Farm Stand because, no matter what I bought, it cost twenty dollars. Me: “I’ll take that piece of cheese and those cocktail napkins” Farm Stand Guy: “That’ll be twenty dollars, please.” Or: “I’d like a pint of olives and some of that fresh mozzarella.” “That’ll be twenty dollars, please.” I’d hand over the twenty I’d tucked into my sneaker and off I’d go.
But that was the old days. Now I need two twenties — one in each sneaker. (If the prices get any steeper, I’ll need to grow another foot — and I don’t mean in height.)
Fortunately, the items that cost the earth are usually things I don’t buy except once in a blue moon for a hostess gift — things like jams and pickles. And their pies. I haven’t seen a “clam poy” there, but their other pies are so pricey you might as well just pile some dollar bills into a crust with sugar and butter and eat that. Yum.
I’ve got to give the Forty-Dollar Farm Stand credit, though. Expensive though their items may be, they don’t sell anything that isn’t made or grown locally. Once, at a different, not-so-scrupulous farm stand, I was standing behind this Fancy City Lady when she held up a hand of bananas and asked if they were “local”.
Oh, and the F-D FS corn is still pretty reasonable (at least you don’t feel like you’re chomping on an ear made of money) — and absolutely delicious. Besides, what’s not to like about a farm stand with a dog named Blue? (See the photo featuring blue-eyed Blue at the top of this post.)
And, speaking of methods, you can find an absolutely foolproof way to cook corn by checking out “To Hell with Kale”. Honest to the Bonacker Gods, you’ll get perfect corn every time. (Hint: gin and tonic is involved.)
Amagansett, New York. August 2019
15 thoughts on “The Forty-Dollar Farm Stand”
That took me back! I remember my Granda singing Yes We Have no Bananas, we have no bananas today ? been a long, long time since I thought of it!
Oh no! Hope I didn’t just “Baby Shark” you!
Noooo not at all, I welcome the memories that flooded in with it ?
He’s been gone a long time ♥️
Whew. So glad to spark a warm memory — and not an earworm!
Hi Alice, it’s sweet corn time in Carlyle. It was especially good at the lobster/clam bakes we had at the lake. The Henry houseboat got us to our destination and it was such a fun time! Thanks for reminding me.
Hi Ruth! Sweet corn time in Carlyle couldn’t be sweeter. How I remember those days! Only thing I regret is that I wasn’t around for those lobster/clam bakes. They sounded like SUCH fun. Great to hear from you, as always xoxo
Wait, what is a cattywumpus?
I sort of like the sound of a clam poy! I think I’d be up for trying it!
Cattywumpus means something is awry or disordered or pretty much all effed up. As for clams in pie, you, like Becca, are a Brave Food Soul. I’d just as soon put berries in chowder. Pretty cattywumpus, at least to me!
Lol fair enough! I grew up with savory pies, so I think it could be really tasty! It would be strange if you normally go for fruit pies though!!
Hahaha! You called it. I have absolutely no experience with savory pies. Not even the kind with four and twenty blackbirds baked in!
Oh, I love wine berries! And corn. I miss OH corn. This summer, I entered a contest from an Iowa magazine that would send you a case of corn if you won. I didn’t. I’d be up for eating a clam pie. Shellfish anything, I’m in!
You have wineberries too!?! How lucky! About that case of corn. They’d “send it to you”? How? By time travel? By the time it got to you, it would probably taste like clam pie. And not even FRESH clam pie.
Ha, you’re right!
I used to be able to eat 20 ears of delicious sweet corn. Now two is the limit. Still LOVE IT!!! BEV HENRY
Yes, isn’t corn the BEST?!? Thanks for reading, dear Aunt Bev!