Saturday, September 8, 2012

Farmer's Market Dos and Don'ts

Last week, I decided to start another tradition in our household - taking a three-mile bike ride to the nearby Farmer's market every Saturday.

Yes, this is my next food related adventure. Not that supermarkets don't have tomatoes, or berries, or mushrooms, they certainly don't have such fresh, flavorful and delicious tomatoes, or berries, or mushrooms as Farmer's Markets do...

My interest in Farmer's Market produce started after I read an article about how long it takes for produce to get from farm to the market - it takes months, and sometimes quite a few months! So, do not expect finding freshly harvested tomatoes in the supermarket.

There is more! I remember reading in one of the Martha Stewart's books that store bought eggs taste nothing like freshly laid eggs (you may also remember A Simple Life about my unsuccessful attempt to keep chickens in my yard). Since then, purchasing freshly collected eggs from the Farmer's Market and comparing the taste with the store bought eggs was on my want-list.

We arrived to the Farmer's Market at about 9AM, and found it busy and beautiful. Apparently, many people discovered this market's beauty and taste way before I did!

True, produce is a bit more expensive here, but this is the only  place you can get just laid eggs with bright orange yolks, milk capped with cream, berries from the fields... Also, if you want to shop like a chef, go early in the morning. But you can also get a much better bargain if you go to the about 30 minutes before the market's closing.

If you are new to the Farmer's market like I was last week, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. To make your trip to the Market be a wonderful experience, here are five Dos and Don'ts:

Number 1: Be a good friend, bring small bills, change and bags.

Number 2: Walk around before buying - you may find better selection just a booth away. 

Number 3: Get to know your farmers, ask questions or suggestions on how to pick better tasting peaches or which sort of squash should be better for soups or grilling.  This will connect you to your food.

Number 4: Have a list of what you need, but also buy one ingredient you are not familiar with, try it out. 

Number 5: Bring your kids along, no matter how young or old they are. Let them smell and taste the produce, let them help you select each fruit or vegetable. 

It hurt so bad!
As you know, usually I come up with great rules or points... after I learn them from my own mistakes. So while on my first trip to the farmer's market by bicycle, I bought more produce that I could carry. I got two dozens eggs too because, after I got the first dozen, I found a booth around the corner where one-day-old eggs were sold - so I bought them too. When placing the produce into my bike basket, I carefully placed the eggs on the very top to make sure they don't get squashed by anything... except for that ...  on my way back home, thinking that a big truck driver may not see me, I tried to get onto the sidewalk to avoid it... but I lost control and flew out of my bike onto the sidewalk... together with the two dozens of freshly collected eggs!

Only six eggs were spared, so I made omelets for lunch. The eggs were amazingly fragrant, flavorful, and delicious. They were beyond a comparison to the store bought eggs. How could I not discover this sooner?!
With love always,

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