Friday, September 10, 2010

Scenes From The Farmer's Market

Over the course of the last few years, I have developed into a Total Devotee of the farmers' market. I go twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays), all-year-round. I buy about 90% of my produce from the market... with a little bit of cheating in the winter if I really want a red bell pepper or a tomato. But this time of year, there's just no need for the produce section of the grocery store. I thought I'd capture a few shots from my beloved Wednesday market, when my friends Sophia and Nikki and I met up for some friendly time and fresh produce.

Beautiful nectarines & peaches! My true addiction. This is my favorite vendor, Kashiwase Farms - They offer great flavor, loads of varieties, and a good price for their all organic fruits. Some weeks I buy them by the flat, and I don't share them with Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats either! He is content with oranges and apples from the super market, so why should I waste my precious beloved fruits on his non-discriminating taste buds?? Ha!

Also, Kashiwase always offers a tasting table so that you can taste all the different varieties they have each week, and then buy accordingly. I am all nerdy about it... I taste them all and sometimes I even take notes on the ones I like best, so that I won't forget.

It won't be summer much longer, but every time I see an apple or a pear, I quickly avert my gaze and run back over to stand near the watermelons. I need to hold on just a little longer. This week, we came across this huge bin of big organic watermelons for $5 a pop ... so I bought two!! Gluttony! yeah! If they are still there next week, I'll buy two more. They are great. And heavy.

Recently I was trying to articulate just why I love the farmers' market so much.... One of the things I noticed is that, for me, going to the farmers' market is a bit like going for a hike. Seeing all the food, and the shifting of what's in season and what's not, is a way of being in harmony with nature. And somehow, that brings me a very peaceful and relaxing feeling.

I love seeing when the first tomatoes arrive, and noticing when the corn is no longer available... Seeing the different colors of the seasons - all the vibrant reds and yellows of summer and deep greens and darker reds of winter. And everything in between.

Eating seasonally also really makes me appreciate the different flavors so much more. When tomatoes are fresh and corn is fresh, I really love to dive in and eat them all the time. When asparagus arrives in spring is always one of the most exciting times, because you know it's just the beginning of the bounty to come. And this time of year, I am seeing all the lovely winter squash and pears showing up and getting ready to enjoy those wonderful flavors again. (but maybe not just yet!)

Summer squash and sunflowers in the late summer light... eat those zukes while you can!

Look at these beautiful dry-farmed tomatoes. Sooooooooo good. One of my weekend projects is to do another big batch of tomato canning. Preserving food is one of the great ways you can make seasonal foods last all year. I've got a freezer full of corn kernels, basil leaves, pesto, and so on... plus a cupboard full of pickles and canned tomatoes. With more to come!

In the last week or two, grapes have also started to make their appearance. I picked out some amazing, super sweet little organic champagne grapes, but snapped a picture of these pretties together.

Finally, my foodie friends and shopping companions! Nikki's baby G. is a serious fan of lemons. You should have seen this little guy just munching away... happy as a clam. Hint: don't try to take it away from him!!

Sophia is showing off her giant parsnips! Ole!! What is she really going to do with three huge parsnips?? I'm not sure. Nikki and Sophia seem to think that I should explore the world of parsnips, so I will give it a go. I've cooked with them a few times, but not often. This is another one of my favorite aspects of going to the farmers' market : seeing all the different foods that are available and getting to ask the farmers and the other shoppers how to prepare them and "what's your favorite way to cook parsnips?" or "what are you planning to do with all that okra?" and so on. It's a chance to connect with friendly people and delicious food. Long live the farmer's market, my life just wouldn't be the same without it!

11 comments:

  1. Ah, awsome! We have lots of Farmer's markets in Stockholm too. Best thing ever! You're kind of proud when you've bought something from there (at least I am!!)

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  2. What beautiful pictures! I love going to the Farmer's Market. It's so much more fun than going to the regular grocery store!

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  3. Erica Rose6:40 PM

    Going to the farmer's market is kind of like therapy to me. I walk slowly, drinking in all the sights, sounds, and smells. When my husband goes with me, I have to force him to slow down because he walks way too fast for my liking. About the parsnips, check out Alton Brown's, Good Eats (I'd search youtube). He did an entire episode on parsnips.

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  4. These photos are beautiful! I love going to the markets. Sadly the markets we have here don't quite compare to the sorts of markets you have there! Everything looks amazing.

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  5. What beautiful pictures of a beautiful market. We are total obsessive devotees of our Saturday farmer's market, for all the reasons you highlight here, but it is so PACKED with people, and everyone pushing huge strollers and carts through the narrow isles, that ours isn't the relaxing experience that it sounds like yours is. Maybe if I stopped being so lazy and got down there earlier in the morning, it wouldn't be so crowded, though ;)

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  6. I love the Kashiwase Farms peaches! They're the best. I'm trying to get my fill of watermelon before it's all over, only a few more weeks. :-)

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  7. Your Farmers Market are on the same days as ours!
    All of your pic's are lovely. The other day I was so tempted to bring home some squash from a local farm but like you, I'm trying to extend the summer vegetables a bit longer. I don't want to let go of summer.

    Baby G rocks!!! My family grew up eating lemons peels and all.

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  8. What gorgeous photos! I can't get over the nectarines and peaches.

    It's so cool that the place near you features dishes from the author's book, too. It's so much fun!

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  9. I am now craving nectarines! I am so glad it's spring as they will be in season soon :D

    Farmer's markets are such nice places to visit and you always walk away with fantastic produce and dozens of of recipe ideas in your head!

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  10. parsnips, cha cha cha!

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  11. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Just reading your posts makes me feel healthier and definitely inspired! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos (I didn't know anyone at lemons raw--pucker.) and your comments. Farmer's Market poetry.

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!