Blueberries. Pink swiss chard. Heirloom tomatoes. Squash blossoms. Mint & rosemary. Sprouts. An excellent haul from The Green City Market this morning.
In general, I like to get to farmers markets early – before the sweaty heat sets in, finding parking isn’t an all-out battle and most especially before the dog-and-stroller brigade descends upon the tiny stalls. I get particularly annoyed at that last one. I like room to wander at my leisure, which is why I’m usually roaming the market first thing.
I highly recommend getting yourself out of bed and to the market at the crack of dawn for these reasons but more importantly because the selection is the best early on and the farmers have time to chat. These are fantastic and interesting people to talk to – no one knows how to better prepare something than the person who grew it. Today, for example, I chatted about Mint Farm’s goats and looked at pics of the kids (maybe next week), told another about the fantastic ice cream I made last week with his strawberries (it was rather amazing), discussed what type of mint I should purchase for spring rolls (they had 3 kinds!) and talked to probably 5 different vendors about a brewery whose t-shirt I happened to be wearing (New Glarus.) One said he was just down the road from the brewery and invited me to check out his elk ranch next time I was in the area. Good times.
Something else that I think is very cool is how local chefs shop and support the farmers markets too. I’ve seen chefs – local and nationally recognized – at farmers markets all over the country and if you’re into that sort of thing, early is definitely the the time to go. This morning, without really trying, I saw at least 5 chefs from local restaurants and it’s fun to see what they’re buying. You know, they get inspired by this stuff too and if you ask nicely, they’ll usually tell you what they’re thinking of doing with that big bouquet of squash blossoms, those orange beets or that crazy green with the name you can’t pronounce. Better yet, go to their restaurants in the next few days and order what they bought standing right next to you.
I’m not sure what exactly I’m going to make/do with my purchases. I’m sure I’ll eat half the blueberries right out of the carton and munch on a few of the sprouts before I forget them in the back of the fridge where they will slowly turn to mush. As usual, I didn’t stick to my plan or my budget. Oh well. All in all, it was a good day.