I think last weekend (May 30th) was the first “real” farmers market for me. The first couple are always dominated by early spring veggies (greens, asparagus, etc.) but the true start of market for me comes with the strawberry sightings. My first stop is always the North Market (barring an event that closes the roads around it, like Race for the Cure, for instance), but I always get there so early that a lot of the farmers aren’t set up yet. You see, I’ve got a strict schedule to follow. If I don’t get done at the North Market by 8:10, it’s virtually impossible to find parking at Worthington, and if I’m not out of Worthington by 8:45, I can just totally forget about Clintonville. Yes, I truly am the crazy lady who makes her way through 3 farmers markets by 9:30am. But I digress. One thing I can always count on, though, is that Mrs. Rhoads will be at the market bright and early, with her lovely berries. Last week was full of beautiful strawberries. I’m enjoying these babies while I can, as we only have a week or two left for strawberries and they’re especially sweet and juicy this year. Also while at the North Market I picked up some feta from Blue Jacket Creamery. If you’ve never tried the combination of feta and strawberries before in a salad, you don’t know what you’re missing. Blue Jacket makes exceptional feta. I’m loving the different hues of pink in these peonies. If I had to pick one flower that’s a favorite in spring, these would be it. I’d love to bake a cake and top it (for decoration purposes only, of course) with a peony. Off to Worthington, where I ran into Rosie, who was on a quest for rhubarb during a rare weekend off when she was able to make it to the farmers market. Knowing I had to cook for my sister’s graduation party and already had a full fridge/multiple coolers, I didn’t buy much at Worthington this time around. Clintonville was especially crowded. I was happy to see familiar faces, like Denise of 2Silos, and many others. I was really bummed out to hear that the Clintonville Farmers Market had upheld it’s decision to not allow 2Silos to sell the Amish doughnuts, one of my favorite things to pick up every time I go to the market. I can understand the importance of wanting it to be “producer only”, but by going by the letter of the law rather than the spirit, it saddens a lot of market regulars for whom the doughnuts were a huge draw. I’ll seriously miss those doughnuts and fry pies. Disheartened, I bought a cinnamon roll from Frijolito Farms, one of the most outspoken supporters of the market’s stance. While it was good, it just wasn’t the same. This ginormous head of lettuce was absolutely delicious on burgers we grilled last weekend. Between that and hothouse tomatoes from Wishwell Farms, we were in burger topping heaven. I’m loving the new labels on Sweet Thing Gourmet’s jams. I also got to try (and bought) some of their spicy jams. The raspberry jalapeno was a real hit on top of brie rounds on pita crackers. Going to the markets every weekend is the highlight of my week. Not only do I get to reconnect with people – farmers who I have come to consider friends over these past few years, but I also get to restock my fridge with wonderful locally produced goodies. For locals – which markets do you frequent and why? For not so locals – tell me about your farmers markets. Which vendors are your favorites? I’ll be back tomorrow with my report on this Saturday’s market. Thank you everyone for being so patient with my procrastination. So glad I’m almost caught up with the market reports.