Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Fine Day at the Farmers Market

Today I decided to go down to the local Farmers Market, for me anytime I can combine cycling and fresh locally grown food is a good day. I got the bike out, decided that one bag would be better than two, it would keep me from over buying, and set out.

Part of my route took me along the Saginaw River, where the city has done a nice job putting in a "Riverwalk" multi-use path. I saw a lot of folk making use of this walking, riding and rollerblading.

New this year at the market is the bike rack. So far I haven't seen anyone but myself making use of it, I did take the time to stop by the market managers stand and thank him for it.

I love the smell of a farmers market, it's one of my happy memories from childhood. My mother, sisters and myself would go on Saturday mornings, only thing missing from this one is the smell of blacktop. This market is set up in a large tent on a grass lot with a gravel parking lot, the one from my boyhood was a permanent structure with a black top parking lot.

One of my favorite things at the farmers market is finding the odd thing I can't get in my local grocery store, today I found two of my big food loves, Kholrabi,

and golden or yellow beets. If you have never tried either of these you are truly missing out. Kohlrabi is wonderful raw or my favorite, sliced and misted with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled, I'll be having it that way this evening. Kohlrabi tastes like broccoli but has a bit of a sharper, peppery flavor to it that can't be beat.

A lot of people don't like beets, and for good reason, they have never had beets anyway except pickled, even I don't really care for those. However take either red or especially these beautiful golden globes, clean them up and cut them up in a rough chop, toss em in olive oil and roast them and they are a whole different vegetable.

I'll try and get some more involved recipes for both of these veggies posted later in the week.

Lots of wonderful things this week, we are starting to get into the best part of the season. These onions were gorgeous, but I didn't need any, so I only got a picture. I had bought potatoes from this vendor last week and will be back for onions when I run out.

Now to one of my favorite subjects, HOT PEPPERS! I love the heat, I love the complexity of flavor that they add to so many dishes. If you only know of jalapenos and maybe Serrano peppers, you need to broaden your education. I had a wonderful discussion with the lady running the stall and bought a pint of mixed peppers from her. She let me know she was growing 25 different varieties! But not all were ready for market and she would have much more in the next couple weeks. I promised her I would be back and asked after a couple specific varieties. She then surprised me by pulling a plastic bag out of her pocket and giving a few Chile Pequins. A small fiery pepper which I learned to love from my grandmother in San Antonio, I had not had one in years. She said they were "precious" so far this year and she wouldn't sell them yet, but she gladly shared some with a fellow pepper aficionado. Try and get something like that at your local chain grocery. I will be visiting her again and you may expect a full post or two on peppers when I do.

So, let us know what good experiences or wonderful things you have found at your own farmers market in the comments, we would love to hear from you.

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