Sunday, July 19, 2009

THE HARVEST - the markets

Finally made it to my first Farmers Market of the year. Every summer I put this off for as long as I possibly can. Why deny myself wonderful organic vegetables? Because I lose all control when I walk up to the farm stands. As I see all of the freshly dug and picked vegetables I immediately have grandiose ideas of the risottos I will make and dinners I will steam and sauté, each and every night. And every week I over buy. It can quickly turn into a money pit. Last weekend I had finally decided I could wait no longer. …. 6:30 am sharp I waddled up to my detached garage with my shopping basket, camera, camera tripod, shopping bag and garbage to toss out. I balanced everything perfectly, well almost, and I pressed the button of the garage door opener and…..nothing....It would not open. I’d sprung a spring!

I was stranded at home on one of days I look forward to most in summer. Not ready to give up, I fiddled with it for an hour or so and finally then threw in the screwdriver. I hung out by the window and in my garden waiting for neighbors to emerge from their homes so I could get recommendations of good repair people that wouldn’t try to sell me an entire new door. It was the oddest of days as all my regulars were apparently in hiding. Mid afternoon I finally discovered Jerry, my neighbor across the alley, and he reliably gave me a name and number to call. Left them a message and made mental preparations that I would be under house arrest for the weekend. Around 5pm my neighbors Mary Anne and Clinton arrived, I shared my woes with Mary Anne. All she said was, let’s talk to Clinton. Not 15 minutes later he had a replacement spring attached and it was as good as new…relatively speaking. I do have wonderful neighbors! But I had missed my long awaited day at the market.

So yesterday I got my chance to try again. And yes, I held my breath when I hit the garage door opener to head out. Garage door opened smoothly… now, which one to go to? I have a several favorites and as I was going to Hyde Park, to volunteer at LaRabida Children’s Hospital, directly after so I decided to go to Oak Park’s Market. It was a bit chilly (record low temperatures Friday night) and arrived to the smell of deep fried donuts, a tradition at this market. it almost felt like fall. All I had to do was look at the blueberries and Rainier Cherries and I immediately recalled it was July. Somehow I didn’t get either of these, which I must admit I now regret. I circled the stands, as is typical of me, to see what everyone has before choosing vendors.

I ended up at Nichol’s Farm and Orchard’s booth. They always seem to have fantastic gourmet varieties and often something I’ve never seen before. This day was no exception. They had these unbelievable looking carrots in deep purple, another in rusty orange burgundy and also the classic carrot. I believe one may be Cosmic Purple and the other perhaps Purple Haze… I’m still researching. I couldn’t resist trying each. By the way, they don’t taste much different from the standard carrot, but they sure are fun. I decided Clinton and Mary Anne had more than earned a sampling from the market and I picked them up a little of everything I was buying for myself which included English Shelling Peas and a handpicked blend of new potatoes. I wish I could tell you what exotic sounding potatoes I chose, there were about 12-15 to choose from, but alas I can’t remember and as you can image from the description of what I seem to need to bring to each market….I could not write them down and shop at the same time.

I also stopped at the Red Hen Bakery stand and picked up a Multigrain Boules. And just for me I picked up an individual cherry tart that I inhaled with a cup of tea. I also bought a cinnamon scone which I am proud to say I saved for my Sunday morning breakfast.

Hmmm….where should I go next weekend I wonder…

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