I’m pretty good about getting up early on Saturdays – and am also pretty good about getting out of here early enough to get to the North Market before 8am – that is, unless P. is getting up and going with me. He’s the only person I know who can stretch out taking 2 pills in the morning to a 30 minute ordeal. What that meant for us was that we got out of here later than we usually do, and didn’t get to the North Market until about 8:15. The good thing about that was that all the farmers were set up already. The bad thing about that is that between his late start and my tendencies to be a motormouth, we didn’t get to Worthington until 9:15. But more about that later – for the time being, let me tell you about all the stuff available at the North Market this weekend.
As they do every week, Wishwell Farms had some stellar looking grape tomatoes – just the perfect thing to be paired with some fresh mozzarella and basil in a caprese salad.
Toad Hill Organics had lots of pretty looking lettuces and other greens.
And the flowers at Combs Herbs were just gorgeous this week. While I was here, I bought some arugula.
I got a pound of shiitakes at Toby Run (yay for mushrooms!) to make paprikash – yes, I know – unseasonably hearty, but damn I’m craving it.
And Rhoads had, in addition to the strawberries they’ve had every week, some sweet cherries – this is just one of the two varieties they had.
Off to Worthington – by the time I got there after 9:15am, parking was almost impossible and the place was a madhouse. The holiday weekend brought out the mean in people, though – with all the pushing and shoving and rudeness and impatience, I could only snap a few pictures, like this of some of Mockingbird Meadows’ honey. That was just nuts – I was definitely reminded of why I like getting there as close to 8:15-8:30 as possible. Many of the farmers there start selling at 8am – while you won’t have all of the same produce you can get when everyone is set up, it’s definitely a more relaxed vibe before 9am.
After dropping my stuff back off at home, it was back to the North Market for the Grillmaster’s Festival, where I, along with Miriam Bowers Abbott (reviewer for The Other Paper), G.A. Benton (reviewer for Columbus Alive), Tricia Wheeler (editor of Edible Columbus) and fellow food blogger Jim Ellison (CMH Gourmand) judged the Thrilla at the Grilla, which pitted 2 local chefs + a mini-Weber grill against each other for a showdown to crown one the Baron(ness) of the BBQ!
Janel Hedgepeth of Latitude 41 (and last year’s Baroness of BBQ) had an extremely strong showing with her grilled pork belly dish, which topped a super-tender but flavorful cheddar biscuit that I fell in love with. The slaw on top tied everything together, and her dish, at least for me, edged out the competition by a narrow margin. Of course, pork belly is one of my favorite things in the world so I may be a bit biased.
John Skaggs (of MyCateredTable.com, and formerly of Giorgio, R.J. Snappers, L’Antibes, and Northstar (to name a few)), who was also Baron of BBQ in 2007, picked up another win this year with his Seasonal Veggie Skewers with Marinated Grilled Bison, and what if I’m remembering correctly was a Blackberry BBQ sauce. I loved the presentation and use of seasonal ingredients in his dish, and thought his extremely tender bison was absolutely perfectly cooked to bring out the best in the meat.
I had a great time judging, and tasting the creativity of what some of our Columbus chefs have to offer up close and personal.
So how are the rest of you spending your Memorial Day weekend?