Don’t know how I missed posting this one, but here’s another long lost post of the farmers market in October, 2010. This was right before I got sick, so unfortunately it was pretty much the last market I saw until mid-summer, 2011. Looking at this makes me inspired to make some cold weather dishes that encompass these seasonal ingredients. Keep your eyes peeled for some upcoming posts using these very items…’
When the farmers markets started up for the season, I unfortunately was still in the hospital being weaned off a ventilator and hopelessly weak (I couldn’t even sit up without toppling over). Going to the farmers market is the one thing that grounds me, no matter how frenetic the rest of my life is at any given time. It’s a yearly ritual that I hadn’t missed for years. Paul did a great job going to the markets for me, taking plenty of pictures, and bringing me fresh fruits and veggies (btw, a quick shout out to the folks at Select Specialty Hospital is in order – they were so great in adjusting my meals to make things that I could tolerate eating – their veggie omelet (which included whatever fresh veggies they had laying around, along with some nice melty cheese) is one of my fond memories of that time. The other biggie? The shampoo cap that was super relaxing – go figure.
I’m planning on attending the first markets of the year later this spring. Going without asparagus and morels and ramps and other spring goodies had me a little bit down, as did not being able to plant or tend to my garden. This year, nothing will keep me from picking up where I left off before I got sick. All of these pictures were taken at the North Market, if my memory serves right.
So, as the temperature plummets tonight and a little bit of snow falls, look at these pics as a reminder of what’s to come in just a few short months…what spring rituals are you most looking forward to?
When I was going through my drafts to see what I have and have not posted yet, I came across this market report from 2009 that has never been shared. I’ve got to tell you, looking at this makes me homesick for August/September when we can get the best of what summer has to offer (tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, eggplant) AND the best of fall as well (apples, winter squash, potatoes and other root veggies). Am I the only one who is counting down the days to spring in the same way that a baseball fan counts down the days to the first day of spring training?
What are you looking most forward to? Events, or seasons, or produce, or whatever, all replies welcomed. Next up, the market reports from 2011…
It’s been almost a year of my life since I got sick. Six months of hospital beds and feeling like everything is a struggle. Six months of learning all over again to performing the most basic of tasks (walking, grooming, cooking, writing, etc). I’m only now beginning to feel like my old self. Unfortunately, things that were super-important a year ago have been an afterthought for 2011.
Going through my picture archives, I’ve realized that I’ve missed opportunities to talk about events I’ve attended, pictures I’ve taken, meals I’ve eaten. I’m almost back at 100% so I’m hoping to spend the last couple of months of 2011 getting caught up. So, expect some old posts – even from years ago, they’re still fresh in my memories.
I’m starting with an older set of farmers market pictures – it’s funny how things don’t change much from year to year. And that’s a good thing, I think.
I’ve been sick for so long that being able to a farmers market is a dream to work toward. In the meantime, i’m going to post some yet-unpublished pictures to remind myself and you all of what to look forward to.
Check out all my pics from last year’s markets in the slideshow below.
Paul has been hitting the markets the past few weeks so stay tuned for ongoing market reports from the 2011 growing season.
Original Blog Post: 8/30/2009
Last weekend at the North Market, Jaime of Wayward Seed Farms convinced my wife to buy a small fennel bulb.
I’m NOT a fan of licorice. I’m not particularly fond of fennel seed, and the stink of a fennel bulb pretty much turns my stomach.
So, naturally, Becke came up with a recipe for me to make for dinner one night this week which used copious quantities of thinly sliced fennel bulb (the better to drown the dish in an overabundance of fennel stank, no doubt) along with a decent quantity (1 cup each) of onion and sweet red pepper.
The result? A dish that, surprisingly, tasted not at all as I’d expected. The fennel no longer tasted of anise — instead, it reminded me of nothing so much as slightly sweet cabbage. Since I’d had the presence of mind to avoid sauteing the vegetables into a sodden mess, the fennel/pepper/onion mixture was decently firm while not being crunchy. The final step of the recipe, when I melted the asiago cheese and coated the gnocchi and other ingredients with it, added a lovely glaze and salty cheesiness to the gnocchi, which had been prepared without the use of salt or oil per the recipe and were therefore quite bland.
My opinion? This one’s a keeper. The only change I’d like to make to it is to replace the Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato and Basil sausages (we doubled the sausage quantity from six to twelve ounces, BTW) to something more to my liking, like a roasted garlic sausage. That’s purely a matter of personal taste, of course.
Isn’t it lovely? It tastes as good as it looks.
Gnocchi With Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fennel
(Reprinted from RecipeZaar with several minor changes)
From Cooking Light, April 2008.
25 min | 10 min prep
16 ounces gnocchi
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage, sliced (Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato & Basil works well)
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
To tell you the truth, the best (and the most restorative to the soul) part of my trip to San Francisco happened on Saturday morning. You all know how gung-ho I am about farmers markets, and here I was – visiting on one of the days that one of the country’s most famous farmers markets was taking place – the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
As I approached the building early on Saturday morning right as the sun was coming up, I was struck by how beautiful the clock tower was against the morning sky.
Saturday mornings are when the biggest market of the week goes on, where there are upwards of 120 different vendors both in front of and behind the building proper. Many of them are vendors from inside bringing their yummy foodstuffs outside. If you stop by the information booth on your way in, it’s much easier to navigate all there is to offer.
Some sights are very familiar to us here in Columbus – after all, most of what has been available for the past month here is apples and winter squash. So I didn’t get too excited about seeing more apples, although I’m sure they are delicious.
On the other hand, pomegranates are something we don’t grow in Ohio, so it was a bit strange for me to see something at a farmers market that I usually buy at the grocery store.
The only thing that bummed me out about hitting this farmers market was my inability to get anything that required a kitchen, because this broccoli looked absolutely amazing to me.
OMG OMG OMG. Strawberries? In November? :::sigh::: only 6 or so more months to go until we get local strawberries here in Columbus.
I’m not a fan of artichokes myself, but aren’t these some gorgeous specimens?
And grapes, grapes, grapes, as far as the eye could see…
Flawless, super colorful bell peppers again made me long for a kitchen and some cookware.
Luckily, much of the market stalls offered dried and/or smoked foods. If I weren’t worried about bringing it back on the plane, I would have bought some of this smoked fish.
Persimmons are another one of those fruits I don’t see locally. Anyone know what these taste like?
Cure your own olives? Really? P. would have loved this.
I did get some eggplant dip from this stand (wish I would have remembered the name of it!) along with some pita bites to eat later on in my hotel room.
Sunchokes are one of those things that I have tons of recipes for, but have never been able to find locally.
And I’ve never seen or tasted a kiwano in my life, but they sure look interesting.
Beans, beans and more beans. And across the way, I stumbled across Rancho Gordo, whose beans I’ve seen in local stores. If I didn’t already have a glut of dried beans at home that I need to work my way through…
This is a Buddha’s Hand – a citrus fruit mostly used for zest. At this same stand were some of the most delicious Valencia oranges I’ve eaten in my life.
A little after 9am, I hit up Roli Roti – if I were impressed by the 3 or 4 rolls of porchetta they had going the night before, I was doubly impressed by the collection of chickens they also had going.
The view from the pier behind the Ferry Building is breathtaking. I decided to eat my meal at a picnic table facing this, and could stare at it for hours.
I got a whole porchetta sandwich this time around ($8.50), and I think it was even better this time around than it was the night before. Part of why it is so good is the roll, which is made by Acme Bread Co., right inside the Ferry Building. The sandwich was so huge I still could only eat half of it in one sitting.
I did opt for a small side of their potatoes ($3.50), which when finished with coarse sea salt and rosemary were the perfect accompaniment to that wonderful sandwich. Honestly, folks – if I lived in the Bay area, I’d be getting this once a week, without fail.
After eating, I moved inside to check out the stores there – I didn’t get to explore as much as I liked, since I had to get back to the hotel, but this is a must-stop for my next trip.
Especially this mushroom store, that had varieties that I have never even heard of or have seen before.
Loaded down with bags, I headed back to the hotel. Still wish I could have spent the whole day there, but tourists were starting to pile in, and it got a bit claustrophobic.
Next up – the Tasting Pavilion.
You know I’ve been feeling under the weather when I start missing farmers markets. So unfortunately, during July I missed like 2 weekend markets in a row. It really bummed me out because it’s something I look forward to all week. But it was made clear to me that I needed to not push myself and let myself heal. Thankfully, I’m back to almost 100% (or 100% of what I was before the shoulder injury – which means I have good days and bad days with my back). I’ve returned to my weekly trips, and hopefully can get caught up on my reports by next weekend. The good thing is, most of what was available in July is still available in August, so the information is still timely.
I think this was the only weekend I saw golden raspberries at the Rhoads farm stand at the North Market – they have plenty of red raspberries these days, though. I love the look of the golden raspberries, especially in salads.
I’ve been trying to acclimate myself to hotter peppers this year. Banana peppers are one of those ones that can be either hot or sweet. I need to dig up that recipe for pickled banana peppers that Mrs. Rhoads gave me last year, because I really want to make a batch before summer is over.
If there were tomatoes last month, we’re in tomato heaven this month. There weren’t that many varieties back then, but every single one I tried was delicious. The flavor of fresh tomatoes is one of the things I miss most in winter.
I have really come to love beets over the last couple of years. My favorite variety of beet is Chioggia, which are also called “candy cane” because they have alternating concentric circles of red and white and have quite a mild flavor to them. This is the variety I recommend that beet haters try first – it just may change your mind about beets like it did mine.
Blueberries were especially expensive this year, although I saw the prices go down in later weeks. I think it’s a matter of supply in demand, at least in the beginning of blueberry season.
Red and blue potatoes are just the right thing for a recipe of patriotic potato salad.
For me, early July is the turning point for farmers markets, where the stands just explode with multiple varieties. What part of the farmers market season is your favorite? If you had to narrow it down to one weekend that you could go to the markets, which would it be and why?
July has been flying by, hasn’t it? I’ve been under the weather for the past few weeks, so there hasn’t been much time for anything except keeping up with my classes and nursing my wounds, so to speak. Still, I did manage to go to the farmers markets on the 4th of July weekend, even though I regretted it immediately afterward.
Not because of what was available, mind you. Had I been feeling 100%, I would have been totally psyched about everything I found. Instead, I was just sorta stoked.
I always walk by Honeyrun’s stand at the North Market, but I think I need to start taking a closer look, especially at their selection of infused honeys.
I’ve been going nuts for the peaches from Rhoads again this year. I bought a huge box to eat throughout the week.
Down at Worthington, AJ of Sassafras Bakery was timely with her American flag sugar cookies.
And speaking of infusions, there’s another (new to me) farmer who has been infusing different vinegars. I especially loved the deep color of the Opal Basil vinegar, so I picked up a bottle.
Since I developed an appreciation for beets, not a week can go by without me picking up at least one bunch.
At Gillogly Orchards, they had these wineberries. It’s not a berry I’m familiar with, have any of you ever worked with it? They kind of remind me of raspberries in appearance.
And lots of sweet corn available at all the markets. Once sweet corn season starts around here, I can’t get enough. It doesn’t even need butter or salt.
The person in front of me got the rest of the sour cherries for the year. I’m bummed about how short the sour cherry season is here in Ohio.
So how did the rest of you spend your Independence Day weekend?
I still wasn’t feeling 100% this past weekend, but I couldn’t resist the ritual of my Saturday morning farmers market trips, especially now since so many things are available.
We started, as usual, bright and early at the North Market – Mrs. Rhoads had the first peaches of the year, and was also kind enough to gift me a few ears of sweet corn, also new this week. I’m looking forward to eating the peaches out of hand – last year, her peaches were the picture of perfection.
After buying a few more things at the North Market (blueberries, shoo fly pie, and some really nice hothouse tomatoes from Wish Well Farms), we headed over to Worthington, early enough to beat the crowds. I need to remember to pick up a few ears of popcorn the next time around.
I love sunflowers, and love taking pictures of them. Each photo is almost like a painting. I wish I had an artistic bone in my body – if I did, my first subject would be paining sunflowers.
This head of red cabbage from Two Crows Farms turned into a fabulous slaw with a buttermilk-based dressing. It was a great side to the fish boat – nice and cooling and perfect for a summer meal.
I love that no matter what staple item you need, someone inevitably has it – like these carrots – would love to try these glazed. Not pictured but something I got a lot of were sour cherries – their season is short, but they’re great for making pies.
A quick trip to Clintonville to get some zucchini and a few other items. I’m always tempted by the artisan bread there, but unfortunately it’s just a bit too dear for my budget right now.
So where are your Saturday morning haunts? What great market am I missing? Who is your favorite farmer and whichever market you love?