Today I went to the last farmer’s market of the season. It’s getting too hot, so it’ll be on hiatus until October, when the weather cools down.
I was sad to say goodbye to what’s become my Friday morning ritual, but for one last time this Spring, I bought some stunning produce which I’m excited to be cooking with this week.
I didn’t take my camera with me today because I really wanted to enjoy shopping and talking to the farmers and not worry about getting shots, but I’ve put together a little collage of photos from previous visits to the market this season to give you an idea of what it’s like.
I bought carrots, leeks, celery, kohlrabi, peppers (different varieties), tomatoes, baby potatoes, limes, cabbage, tiny zucchini, spring onions, curly parsley, strawberries, and a few other bits and pieces (bagels, cake, organic halawa, and organic coconut oil).
Here’s some of what I’ll be making over the next couple of days:
- Strawberry jam with all those strawberries! They’re a little soft but incredibly fragrant; the last batch of jam I made with strawberries from the market was delicious.
- Peperonata with the yellow, orange, and red peppers (I’ll share with you—it’s a lovely Italian dish that freezes beautifully)
- Vegetable stock with the carrots, celery, and leeks
- Homemade tomato sauce with the tomatoes (I bought way more than what’s in the photo!)
- Malt vinegar pan-fried potatoes with those tiny little potatoes (there was a recipe in the travel issue of Bon Appetit using white vinegar but I substituted malt vinegar and they were AMAZING)
- Margarita cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo with the limes
And here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of your visits to the farmer’s market:
- Get there early. I know, I know—this means waking up early on the weekend but you won’t regret it, I promise. The earlier you get to the market, the more choices you’ll have. You’ll get first pick of all the produce (so you can choose the best), and you won’t be disappointed that what you’re after has sold out. The market I go to is pretty small, and the more unusual produce (purple beans, white mulberries, karkadé flowers) is only available in really small quantities.
- Get to know the farmers. They’ll be able to tell you about what makes their produce so special, and chances are they have an awesome recipe for those heirloom tomatoes you just bought. And if you take the time to get to know them, they might just save special produce for you, and maybe even take special requests (this is how I was able to get a crate full or organic squash blossoms for a dinner party!)
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you find something that looks interesting, buy it! You can worry about what to do with it later. Be adventurous!
- Talk to people. So you just bought that weird vegetable you were curious about? Go ahead and ask that lady that’s buying five kilos of it what she’s planning on making—maybe even get a recipe from her! And share your recipes and experiences, too. This is what makes farmer’s markets so much fun—you get to meet other people who are as passionate about getting their fresh produce as your are.
- Bring your own re-usable baskets, bags, and crates. It’s good for the planet! Plus, it’ll help you stay organized so unpacking is quick and easy once you get home.
I’d love to know what your farmer’s market is like, and what you usually buy. And if you’ve never been to a farmer’s market, then I hope this inspires you to go.