Sandra Rudick says time spent at the Farmer’s Market in Sallisaw is an enjoyable experience.
“It is interesting interacting with the people at the Farmer’s Market. I enjoy that as much as I enjoy growing the vegetables,” Rudick said.
“I love being outside playing in the dirt,” she said laughing.
“We raise and sell a variety of vegetables at the Farmer’s Market in Sallisaw,” Rudick said.
“At the Farmer’s Market you are always picking up information whether it is something that you grow, a particular plant or how to use a vegetable. I didn’t know there was so many different ways to fix squash,” Rudick said.
“You can take what you call a white squash and you can slice them like apple slices, put cinnamon and sugar on them, bake them in a pie crust and they taste almost like an apple pie. You can also take your squash, steam them a little bit, mash them up, add eggs and flour and fry them,” Rudick said.
“I also like to can the vegetables that I raise. I learned how to can from my mom using a pressure cooker. I grew up on a farm and the garden was very important back then when I was growing up. Because what mom took out of the garden, a lot of times was what we had to eat during the winter months,” Rudick said.
“My job was cleaning vegetables and snapping the beans. One of my first memories is sitting at the kitchen table snapping beans,” Rudick said.
“All the years I worked I always wanted a garden but didn’t have time to mess with one until I retired. I started out with four raised beds and grew enough okra, green beans, squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers that I wanted,” Rudick said.
“Then Mike decided he wanted to do Farmer’s Market. Mike being Mike, he never does anything on a small scale. He will study the seed catalogs all winter long deciding which variety he wants to see what will do best in our area. This year, we planted six kinds of cucumbers. Even with the averse conditions, two of them are still producing. They have a good flavor and that will be the two we will produce next year,” Rudick said.
“It is always good to try different varieties,” she said.
“Our garden is about 200-feet long by 50-feet wide. This is the first year for the blackberries and the second year for the strawberries and asparagus. With asparagus, you have to be patient, it takes two years before you can harvest it,” Rudick said.
She said that when she was canning Jalapeño peppers she didn’t know to protect her hands.
“I canned, I don’t remember how many Jalapeño, and went to sleep with my hands in ice water. Now when I mess with peppers, I have on rubber gloves,” Rudick said.
She said they used to raise and sell peacocks. But, because of the high cost of shipping, and with a lot of people raising peacocks, there was an over abundance of peacocks. They got out of the peacock business.
“I am down to just six pairs, because with the garden there is not enough time or energy to take care of everything,” Rudick said.
“I still raise a few peacocks because the birds are so beautiful. My favorite is almost impossible to say because each one has their own beauty in their own way. The white is the most elegant. You catch him upon his roost with his tail feathers spread it is like looking at a lacy bridal veil,” Rudick said.
“Mike and I have been together for 23 interesting years. He is a very interesting person because you never know what you are going to be doing next,” she said.
Rudick said she has four children, 13 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.
“I love being a grandmother,” she said.
“I grew up in the Miller Ridge Community, northeast of Sallisaw and my teenage years were at Hanson,” Rudick said.
“We were kin to everyone around there, so it was just one big family,” Rudick said.
“I remember the persimmon fights. You sharpen a stick and take green persimmons. You stick them on the stick and slung them at your opponent. It hurt when you got hit,” Rudick said laughing.
“I love to fish. As a kid, we always used a cane pole. I remember sitting on the bank waiting on the perch to bite,” she said.
“We didn’t have artificial lures. You either caught grasshoppers or dug worms for bait. You always had a cut cane pole and a bobber. If you didn’t have a bobber, you tied a piece of dead wood on your line and that was your bobber,” Rudick said.
“I like to fish for bass and crappie. The first fish I ever caught was a perch sitting on a pond bank with my dad. You learned how to bait your hook and take your fish off and then you learned how to clean them,” Rudick said.
She said she has a lot of good memories of growing up.
“I cannot remember the first time I saw a television, but I remember the first time my dad talked about seeing a television. He was a union carpenter and worked away from home most of the time. He had been staying with my mother’s sister in Oklahoma City. When he came home, he told us about the first television he had seen,” Rudick said.
“He was fascinated by the picture of the man talking about the weather,” Rudick said.
“I also remember the cold floor in the wintertime. When you got up in the morning, the fire in the fireplace burned out. We did the laundry with the outside wringer-type washing machine and heated the water outside,” Rudick said.
“I can remember riding in the rumble seat of my aunt’s A-Model Ford with my brother and going swimming in the creek. My aunt threw me in and it was sink or swim,” Rudick said.
“We picked strawberries and blackberries in the summer months to make money. We did whatever was available to earn money to help out. We had a lot of good times. It was work, but it was also fun,” Rudick said.