Friday, June 10, 2005

The 17th Street Farmer's Market

strawberries2 I have a hard time making it to the Farmer's Market every week now that I have children and my synapses have somehow derailed. I just can't seem to remember to go until it's too late. All of the local organic (and non-organic) farmers come to 17th and Main every Thursday throughout the summer and early fall between 8:30 am and 2:00 pm to sell their wares. This year, in addition to the lovely fresh produce, eggs, and meats, there seem to be more stalls than ever with vendors selling a plethora of handmade goods. This week proved the exception however, when I actually noticed "Farmer's Market" written on my calendar and retained the information long enough to get into my car. I triumphantly returned home laden with bags full of eggs, greens, peas, and squash. Although I was drawn to the eclectic jewelry next door, I decided to spend my money at Amy Hicks' stall (Amy's Garden) and splurge on strawberries and flowers. I've been wondering where the local strawberries have been--not in any grocery store (I know of) as in past years. Amy's were beautiful and lushly fragrant, glistening, beckoning to me from beside the brilliantly colored flowers. I had to have them and as Amy warned me that they wouldn't last past today, I couldn't believe I had an excuse to eat them all immediately. They turned out to be a mixed bag; the larger ones, although pleasing to the eye were bland and less pleasing to the palate. The smaller ones, however, were exquisite little flavor bombs, sweet, juicy, and all too easily gobbled up. Even better, I didn't have to drive forever in my car and sweat it out picking in a strawberry field with two cranky children who are too hot to understand why this is supposed to be fun. I also found lovely bicolor squash and lots of fabulous greens--Asian greens, arugula, mesclun. Always popular, a crush soon developed around Amy's stall and I decided to get out with what I had. Although tempted mightily by the scent wafting from nearby of homemade crepes filled with amazing things like marscapone and rasberries or goat cheese and spinach, I resisted with almost inhuman inner resolve (where did that come from?) and browsed, bought three dozen farm eggs (I really, really love them) from the Brookview farm, and was talked into some freshly picked oyster mushrooms from Dave and Dee's Homegrown Mushrooms that did, in fact, lived up to Dave's hyperbole. Fresh mushrooms, like fresh eggs, really do taste far, far better than what we're all used to getting in the store--their earthy succulence perfectly complimented the organic steak with which I served them. Of course, to truly appreciate the subtleties of the mushrooms flavor, I need to make either a risotto or pasta dish that features them as the main ingredient. Maybe next week. I can only hope the proper sequence of neurons in my maternal brain fire properly on Thursday, reminding me to get there before the market closes.

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