It’s a two-post kind of day so make sure you read on to the next one for a photo of a cute little project I managed.
Our CSA box this week had:
- peaches (is there anything that says summer better than a ripe, juicy peach?)
- summer squash
- banana peppers
- green peppers
- sweet corn (so sweet and juicy that salt and butter are not essential)
I went out of town today with my best friend to a couple of markets. I do not usually market hop as I love to support my local farmers and I like knowing what will likely be there when I go. Going to a new market makes me nervous and excited all in one. Two new markets put me over the top happy and I found some yummy surprises. First things first, here is what I bought:
- orange tomatoes
- green beans (enough to freeze, or should I dehydrate them?)
- dill cheese curds
I know, that is it. It was so tempting to buy one of everything…oh the goodies I saw and treats I was tempted to come home with. The reality of it though was that the last couple weeks have been crazy. I have produce that desperately needs used or preserved, a food budget that is tight due to having to eat out while unexpectedly caring for family, and the lack of fridge space that comes with a way-too-small-for-a-family-of-six-fridge and extra produce on hand. When we bought our fridge we were a family of three, eating processed foods, and living in a 600 sq ft home. It had to fit in one spot in the galley-style kitchen. Our house still isn’t huge (1400 sq ft), but still, I have room for and would love a bigger fridge…especially with three more mouths wanting fed and cooking most of our meals from scratch. Enough on my fridge, though, pretty soon I’ll be writing about it as much as I do laundry! Back to the two new markets and some.
The first market was about a 15 miles south of my friend’s town. It was a small market similar to my hometown market but with no crafts. Things that I liked about this market: lots of produce and food stands, all of it home-grown or home-cooked, nice selection of chemical-free and organics, friendly producers, and a much bigger variety of goods than what I have at home. Things I would have bought were I to have unlimited funds and storage: more beets, bread and butter pickles (they were made with sugar, otherwise I would have bought them in a heartbeat), okra, more tomatoes, trout, smoked trout, freezer jam, and apple butter. Overall, the main thing that I saw shining at this market was the fish farm people…not enough for me to drive all that way again though since I can get organics closer and the actual fish farm is closer than the market was. Nice stop, but I won’t likely be going back unless I happen to be passing through there at the right time.
The second market was in between of our little towns. This market was bigger than my hometown market, had no crafts. This makes it sound like I have an aversion to crafts and I don’t. In fact I very much like some of the crafts that our local has…handmade pottery, amish wood pieces and rugs, etc. I guess I expect to go to a farmer market and see more produce than baked goods, bird houses, and household decor. Not sure how you find a balance were you to be running said market. Time to get back on track. Things I liked about this market: twice the size as my local with nearly quadruple the farm food options, more organics, very friendly producers, and closer to my friend’s house. Things I would have bought were I to have unlimited storage or finances: herbs that I do not grow, more cheese, garlic, raspberries, sausage, brats, and hierloom veggies. I plan on visiting this market again, in fact I might just plan bi-weekly visits to my friend that coincide with market hours. The selection was great here even at 11 AM (they opened at 8AM). I’m used to having to be there at opening to get what is good.
Then there were two bonus stops. One was a free range chicken farm for eggs. There is a shed with a fridge. You go in, sign your name and how many dozen you are taking, leave your money in the cup in the fridge and off you go. Not many places operate on the honor system any more and these eggs are super tasty and healthy at $2.50 a dozen. The last stop for me was an Amish goods store. This is a frequent stop for me as they carry much of what I use in my kitchen. The gentleman that runs the store often talks to me about adoption as they were going through the process of adopting and he finds my twins as well as my older two intriguing. He once told me how he “loves that even as adults and parents we still see and know the differences between two sets of girls, but the two sets of girls only know each other as sister and that is enough for them.” If only all of life was so simple and sweet…the innocence of children is amazingly simple and good. Anyhow, I was in bad need of stopping here so my list was quite long:
- millet (all three of these new to me, thanks to the frugal recipes carnivals!)
- real salt
- corn nuts (a treat for my husband)
As always they had everything that I needed and I came home only forgetting the virgin coconut oil. I could shop for hours in there. They have a homeschooling section, kitchen gadgets that you don’t find just anywhere, mills, popcorn poppers, canning equipment, animal care items (not dog bowls…bird seed, feed sacks, water buckets, harnesses, etc.), drying racks and other hand crafted wood items, baked goods, cheeses, herbs, oils, eggs, and on and on. I always forget something at this store as I go in and just wander through all the odds and ends that make up Amish life and have a conversation or two worth having. So now my list is started for next time: Virgin Coconut Oil.
So there you have it, probably the longest market and CSA report I’ll ever post, but it was like a mini-vacation to me (especially at the markets today as that was without my children I adore but was glad to have a short respite from.) Tomorrow’s post will be a tutorial on making your own fermented salsa. Sounds scary, but isn’t…no pressure cooker involved.
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