Saturday, September 29, 2007

And Miles to Go Before I Eat

As the Eat Local Challenge Month draws to a close, and as I realize there's only a month left for the farmers' market, I've been squirreling away good fresh local produce as much as I can. (When I truly get to the end of my preservation season, I'll give you an update as well as llinks to other inspiring pieces about canning and such; I just haven't had time yet.)

So with backpack, basket, and extra bags all in hand, I headed down to the farmers' market this morning with gleeful anticipation. Though there were fewer vendors on hand (most likely due to the relocation of the market because of our local Oktoberfest), they all had plenty of colorful and delicious offerings for the passers-by. I'm afraid I was so entranced by it all that it took me over an hour to do my shopping, simply because I lingered to eye all the produce and to talk at length with lots of people.

By the time I had filled my pack to an almost unbearable weight and my basket to overflowing, I had stocked up on plenty of good things:

--broccoli and sweet potatoes from the Amish farmer;
--oregano, basil, Chinese cabbage, small potatoes, and the fantastic Dutch apple jam from the Cheerful Lady (Handyman Joe ran away when he saw me coming!);
--butternut squash, pie pumpkins, okra (unbelievable!), red onions, and Kennebec potatoes from the Gentleman Farmer's Wife;
--luscious red raspberries and carrots from the Madcap Farmer;
--Brussels sprouts, pasta squares embossed with fresh parsley, tomato and mozzarella focaccia, and a ginger cookie from the Spelt Baker;
--more cider vinegar from the local orchard; and
--Glenora (purple) and Red Reliance seedless grapes from the local vineyard.

I rushed home to unload my bags before heading out again to meet the faithful Persephone, who awaited me at the public library. We drove out of town, wandering through the dew-dappled countryside to another local orchard, where we found plenty of apples (I filled a small bag with Pinata, Jonathan, and Golden Delicious), chestnuts, and other goodies to bring home. I even found a couple of small jars of locally produced maple sugar... wicked expensive, but oh so good to enhance baking! We sat out by the pond to enjoy a mid-morning refresher of coffee, apple fritter, and shared agrarian dreams... not a bad way to spend time with friends!

We rounded out our adventure with a stop at West Point Market (where I bought cheeses and teas and chocolate, all entirely non-local but utterly irresistible) and lunch at Aladdin's, a local Middle Eastern eatery. (Ahhh, falafel!)

I think I've got enough food to last me through the week, and I'm sure a few things will end up in the freezer or in a jar (depending on where I find room). It's worth traveling a little way sometimes to pick up additional goodies, though most of the time I manage to make do very nicely with the bounty I can find here in town.

And I am really looking forward to eating all this good food!



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