Saturday, June 09, 2007

There Must Be Something in the Square...

It's a gloriously sunny, if a bit chilly, Saturday morning in our little town, and as I flung open the windows to let in the fresh air, I could sense the impending activity in the air. So I grabbed my basket and headed down to the town square for none other than the weekly farmers' market and my weekly dose of gastronomic excitement.

I showed up exceptionally early, wanting to talk with a couple of the farmers on related business before they got too busy, and I spent a good hour or more wandering around, talking with people, and buying plenty of good produce.

Really, if there's a better way to spend a summer morning, I don't know it. (Okay, sometimes garden work or baking is just as refreshing, but on a social level, you can't beat the market.) And since by now you must know how much I love the farmers' market, I trust you won't mind if I open up my basket and share all my good finds with you:

The Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe had bags of fresh spinach as well as fresh mixed greens, so I bought one of each of those, along with a bunch of two-toned radishes for making sandwiches.

The Fiddlin' Farmer was back with small heads of fresh romaine, so I picked up a bit of that to mix with the other salad greens.

The Chef-of-All-Trades, a woman who has worked at a number of local restaurants, was selling her homemade granola along with the local mushrooms, and since I hadn't made my own granola in a while, I decided to try hers. She shared the table with another woman who brought in fresh herbs and vegetables, so I bought a pint of her snow peas along with a bag of lamb's-quarters, a wild edible plant (weed, to some) I've wanted to try but hadn't found in my backyard.

The Sheep Lady had small bunches of fresh herbs for sale, so I snagged a small bunch of cilantro as the snow peas inspired me to consider a new variation on an Indian dish later on, and when I found red potatoes at the table of another new farmers, I knew I was onto a good idea. (Curry, anyone?)

The Part-Time Farmer was back with more of his small, sweet strawberries, so I bought another two quarts so that I could make another micro-batch of jam (with lavender and rose petals and vanilla) this morning. And gracious fellow that he is, he gave me a little discount since I had brought my own bags and left the quart boxes for him to reuse later. (I do it to recycle bags, but if it helps them and leaves me with a little extra pocket change, I shan't complain!)

The Goat Lady was back with her soaps and a small amount of her homemade fudge, so I bought a small block of peanut butter goat milk fudge from her. I asked her about making goat cheese, but unfortunately, thanks to the usual mire of agricultural regulations that apply industrial standards to small producers, she's not allowed to sell any. So much for that idea!

Finally, I had a chance to stop and visit with the Original Organic Farmer and to try some of her new floral preserves. I had bought some of her rose petal jam last year and am still enjoying it, and when I saw she had rose hip jelly, I snagged a jar. I also tried her peony jelly, which was intriguing but a little too cloying for my taste. Instead, I ended up with a jar of her lusciously spiced pumpkin butter... now there's a treat!

Adventure, intrigue, romance... there's definitely something in the air around the farmers' market, and it's worth making a visit every week just to find out what's new in the world around you.


At 6/10/2007 10:30 PM, Blogger Tina said...

Mushrooms! Will she be there in two weeks when I come to visit? I wants me some mushrooms! Preciousss mushroomses...;-)

At 6/11/2007 11:53 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Seeing as how the mushroom folks are a regular fixture at the market, yes, I strongly suspect you'll be able to get your preciousss mushroomses... ;-)


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