As I pulled into a parking spot in the lot where our Farmers’ Market sets up each week during the summer, I noticed it looks a little smaller than it has in previous years. The little ring of canopies and tables isn’t filling up quite as much space as it used to. This could change, as new vendors are often added after the summer begins.
I was pleased to see the raw cow’s milk cheesemaker at the Farmers’ Market this week, their first week back at the Market this year. Cheese is just one of the products produced at this farm, one of the oldest continuously operating CSAs in the United States. They also produce vegetables, milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, veal (humanely raised), and pork. There is a long waiting list to belong to this farm, but I don’t have to be a member to visit the farm store. Vegetables are for members only, but I can buy all the other products. The yogurt is exceptionally smooth and mild tasting, great for smoothies or just swirling in some jam or squished up fruit and a drizzle of honey. Oh, and they make many fantastic cheeses. I forget they are just a quick trip up the road, until I see them again in the summer, at the Market.
The cheese I chose is very similar to a pecorino, and I enjoyed it in an omelet Sunday morning, and on a dinner salad Sunday night. I also brought home goat chorizo, ground beef, granola, chocolate mint patties, an all-purpose seasoning blend, snap peas, more cornbread mix plus a packet of their chili seasoning blend (for just a dollar more!), raspberries, strawberries, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and zucchini. We had grilled hamburgers for our Independence Day dinner, with those onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and steamed zucchini on the side.
July 4th was also a Tuesday, which means CSA pick-up day! Even though we had a pretty powerful thunderstorm roll through last week, with wind, rain, and hail, the share was generous again this week.
This week, along with my vegetables and herbs, I grabbed a container of their goat cheese. It is so good on eggs, on salads, in pasta, pretty much anywhere you want a hit of soft, tangy cheese. The vegetable share featured kale, swiss chard, lettuce, salad mix, three different basils, sage, bok choy, scallions, radishes, and peas. This is probably the last week of peas, and these peas are a little older on the vine, so they will be perfect for boiling, mashing, and serving with some English bangers I have waiting in the freezer.
It was pretty warm Tuesday morning, and the herbs suffered in the hot car while I picked my peas, so I needed to use them up quickly. I still had arugula in the refrigerator from last week’s share, so I threw the basils and arugula into the food processor, along with some walnuts, garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, water, and salt, and blitzed it all until it was very smooth. It is a tasty pesto that will keep for a while, and can be used in all sorts of ways. The salad greens also wilted a bit, so those went right into the salad spinner, filled with cold water for a refreshing soak. I then spun them good and dry and stashed them in the refrigerator, right in the spinner. They will keep now and be a crisp, quick salad base for several days. The kale went into a kale salad with dates, almonds, parmesan, and a lemon juice and honey dressing, to go along with our July 4th hamburgers. There’s plenty left over to go alongside some other dinners this week.
The swiss chard this week suffered some hail damage, and wasn’t going to keep long, so I just went ahead and made a batch of chard saffron omelette filling as soon as I got home and got everything put away. That is waiting in the refrigerator for me to make the omelettes for a quick dinner one night soon, and I don’t have to worry about throwing out any swiss chard that goes bad too quickly. Throwing out food bothers me a lot, because I know how much work and passion and time go into producing it. It’s wasteful, and disrespectful, and I won’t do it if I can help it.
Our Farmers’ Market is small, but that is no measure of the variety and bounty of local foods available there. It also reminds me that hard-working, generous people are the producers of all this food. Although I live pretty close to many of these farms, the Farmers’ Market makes supporting all of these farmers easier. It’s one-stop local food shopping.