Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Market of Excellence

It's hard to believe that the farmers' market season is already half over, but the refreshing chill in the air this morning reminded me that autumn is creeping closer with each passing week.

Along with the cooler weather came a slight shift in the offerings at this morning's market. Though the usual August produce (tomatoes, peaches, corn) still loaded the tables, a few late summer crops are starting to appear: eggplant, kale, and even the first winter squash.

I made my rounds, inspecting the goods and talking with the farmers, and by the time I'd made it to the other end of the market, I was thankful I had brought my basket, my backpack, and two extra small bags. I heard a lot of produce begging me to take it home, and I was ready.


So I loaded up my bags with:

--kale and broccoli from the Fiddlin' Farmer;
--two huge baskets of Amish Paste tomatoes (mostly seconds, for making tomato sauce), garlic, and three small acorn squash from the Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe;
--triple ginger cookies from the Granola Lady;
--more Pink Thai Egg tomatoes from the Sheep Lady and spelt focaccia from her table mate;


--whole wheat pita bread from the Pita Princess;
--a quart of Harmony peaches and a half-gallon jug of apple cider vinegar from the local orchard;
--more tomatoes for canning, okra, Fairy Tale eggplant, and red onions from the Gentleman Farmer's Wife; and
--two quarts of the sweetest, tastiest plums I have ever encountered in my life from the sweet older couple who brought the amazingly good Red Haven peaches last week.

On top of all that, when I lingered to talk with the Gentleman Farmer's Wife, I mentioned that my birthday was next week (it was not deliberate, I assure you), and she immediately gave me a jar of her fresh peach jam as a gift. (I think she's still "paying" me for helping her out a couple of weeks ago, but I never turn down food gifts.)

As you might guess, the onset of cooler mornings has me ramping up my food preservation, especially where the tomatoes are concerned, and I'm sure I will buy just as much next week in the hope of cramming good food into every last nook and cranny of my freezer and my pantry.

Because when the food is this good, I want to be able to enjoy it as long as possible!

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