Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Early Bird Gets the Work

Come Saturday morning, I can't wait to get down to the square for the farmers' market. I'll get up at my usual weekday hour just so that I can have a good breakfast and get my chores done before I slip out of the apartment a good half-hour before the market officially opens and head down for the early shopping.

Granted, some of the vendors aren't fully set up yet by the time I get down to the square, so I might miss out on some good produce, but by going early, I have a better chance of being able to chat with the farmers for longer than usual.

Then, of course, I linger, wanting to support everyone by buying plenty of good food, and I stagger home an hour or so later, weighed down by all my purchases, and I face the prospect of actually doing something with it all.

So here's a peek into my market basket (and bags) for this week:

--spinach-basil pasta from the Herb Woman,
--a loaf of focaccia from the local bakery,
--two batches of cookies from the Cookie Lady,
--and whole wheat pita and baklava from the Pita Princess;

--two quarts of sweet dark cherries from the local fruit farm (some to dry, and some to turn into jam or cherry butter),
--a pint of no-spray blueberries from the Corn Queen,
--and red raspberries from the Herb Woman;

--broccoli, garlic, and fresh basil from the Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe;
--spinach and a large kohlrabi from the Fiddlin' Farmer;
--half a dozen ears of bicolor corn from the Corn Queen;
--flat Italian green beans from the Original Organic Farmer; and
--tomatoes, a green pepper, and okra from the Gentleman Farmer's Family.

About the time I got everything up to my apartment and put it all away, I had a call from the Southern Belle saying that she and my Adorable Nephews would be happy to meet me at the market in about fifteen minutes... so down I went again! This time the Southern Belle bought plenty of good fruits and vegetables to take home, and the boys, though a little overwhelmed by the crowd and all, enjoyed standing to listen to the Fiddlin' Farmer play a few tunes on his fiddle with a friend playing banjo.

Once they headed home, I headed back upstairs and started working through the produce I'd brought home. I froze the blueberries, packing them into a freezer bag later, and then I blanched and froze the green beans and the broccoli. I made another batch of pesto (is this starting to sound like last week?), and after a trip back down the stairs for my haircut, I returned to shuck and boil the corn, shaving the kernels off the cob to freeze.

By this time, of course, I was awfully hungry, so I saved some of that corn (drizzled with a little olive oil) and backed it with a plate of my classic summertime favorite, fried okra.

You'd think that after that I'd get a breather, but no, then I was off on a planned adventure for the rest of the day, so the rest of the preserving will have to wait until I have a day off on Monday.

Guess it's a good thing I was up early to get all this work done!


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