Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Farmers Market back in session

If you missed the opening weekend, you're in luck. Our vendors will be back this Saturday and every other one till December. They started early this year and are running longer. I am pleased at this change.

Many of the same vendors returned for 2009, but we have some new ones too. As I previously mentioned Gunpowder was there with a full range of items. I picked up some ground bison and made some burgers on Saturday afternoon. It's amazing how lean the meat is. I'm not sure if the patties shrunk in size at all after they were grilled. I was quite pleased with the purchase - 1 pound for $6.

And if you don't have any greens ready yet in your garden, I highly recommend these folks to the left. I'm sorry I don't know their name, but let me tell you, their greens are fabulous. They do a mixed bag or you can simply by a head. They're also selling micro greens. Last week they were selling micro arugula and micro celery greens. I tried the micro arugula. I was told it was super concentrated so a little went a long way. And while I do like it, I did not get that big arugula pop I was expecting. Maybe it's because one time I added them to a bunch of other greens and the next was between a bison burger covered with cheese and my bun. It's pretty neat stuff. You may want to give it a try.

But for a wider selection of greens you need to try this vendor. Their selection included swiss chard, spinach and other greens, along with ramps and a bunch of other goodies. I was disappointed since they did not have any leeks, but oh well. And I was also a bit shocked at the price. It might be partly due to the fact that I have a bunch of chard and spinach coming up in my garden - although it's not ready yet - that I could not bring myself to pay $8 for a large bunch of spinach (or chard). I don't remember it being that much last year. And I know as soon as I prepare it, it will cook down to almost nothing. So I really needed a large bunch - but couldn't pull the trigger.

I guess the one expensive item I did pull the trigger on was sheep's milk cheese from a new vendor - Everona Dairy in Rapidan, VA. Be prepared, this is not inexpensive cheese. We bought something called Stony Man, a very smooth tasting cheese, not overpowering at all with a nice flavor. But even though I bought a small piece, I think less than 1/2 pound it was still around $12. This was one of the least expensive because I think it was a smaller cut. I'm sure I will continue to throw some business their way, just not every week.

There are plenty of vendors I haven't covered here that are worth checking out. There are a couple great bread stands - one with mostly loaves and the other with breakfast goodies. As you can see by the expression on this shopper's face (and a neighbor), their selection was delectable. I also want to report that Charlie Koiner and his daughter had their stand set up, so that was great to see. They did not have a lot to offer, mostly some giant spring onions. And these are monsters. For a $1.50 there is no way to go wrong. I've used them in a miso/noodle soup and with some homemade pasta already this week, with still plenty to spare. Can I find a role for them in my pizza?

So get on out there and support these local vendors. They are offering some great fresh stuff. While you won't walk out without your wallet or purse being a decent amount lighter, I think by the time you eat all you bought - and you better - you'll be pleased with your purchases. See you on Saturday morning.


Vagrarian said...

The first Greens Guys you mentioned used to sell at the Takoma Park Farmer's Market, and their lettuce mix is superb.

If you go to the Takoma market, allow me to plug the Clear Spring Creamery. They sell milk and yogurt and both are great; from grass-fed cattle raised in beautiful western Maryland. The fact that the vendor is a childhood friend of mine has nothing to do with that...

Springvale Roader said...

I picked up some stinging nettle greens that I plan to make a pesto sauce with tonight. I'll report back on that experiment.

I was surprised at the prices some of the vendors had. I saw bags of greens that were as expensive, if not more, than similar quantities in Whole Foods. I am for supporting local farmers, but shouldn't local equate to at least the same price as Whole Foods, if not less?

Anonymous said...

Stinging Nettle Pesto: the Verdict.

Meh. Not bad, but not flavorful, either. Stick with basil.

Springvale Roader said...

D'oh! That was me.

socoblogboy said...

Well I had previously not thought about making Stinging Nettle pesto and now I'm definitely not gonna do it.