I went shopping as usual at my local farmers market Saturday morning. That feels so nice to say. Words like “usual” and “shopping” haven’t been part of my vocabulary in a long while.

The market has been open with drive-thru service, but it's not just the fresh fruits and vegetables that make the farmers market special. It's the people — the farmers and my fellow shoppers.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Slow-cooked Short Ribs, Dill Potatoes

Heading into my first walking trip back into the market, I feared every “hello” and “how’s your family” would be terribly awkward from behind a mask. Turns out, I had no reason to fret.

The farmers, the folks running the market and I still recognized each other by the sparkle in our eyes.

I Eat La.: This chunky chili and fluffy cornbread will definitely hit the spot

At the market, I bought some meaty grass-fed beef short ribs, red potatoes, yellow squash, heirloom tomatoes and blueberries. It was as if I built my own southern girl’s kitchen kit for Sunday suppers. I went home a happy cook.

The short ribs went into the slow cooker until, like butter, the meat slipped right off the bones.

We perked up the tender new potatoes with some fresh dill clipped out of our home garden. My husband has a bumper crop of cucumbers, so we mixed a couple of those with the tomatoes for a cool, crunchy salad. It was summer on a plate, but without the unbearable heat.

I Eat La.: Ahh, strawberries. The sweetest season of them all

While I have been grateful for the slower pace of life, my heart hurts for small businesses like farms that are doing all they can to keep going. I’m doing what I can to help, and I know you all are, too.

While I didn’t stay too long, and I didn’t get too close, my trip to the market was a lovely, and important, step toward normalcy. I’m looking forward to safely taking more steps in the future.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.