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Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: August 01, 2008 07:40PM
I've noticed that the variety and abundance of local seasonal markets are springing up in neighborhoods all over. Here in Seattle, we have one in a least one neighborhood almost every day of the week. There's a Wednesday market, a Saturday market, a Sunday, etc.

This trend has been around, but it seems like it's really taking off lately. I went, for the first time, to a Sunday Market out in Lake city, only about a fifteen minute drive from my neighborhood here near Green Lake, because my wife had bought some fresh oysters there that I thought were particularly good. I wanted to get more. And see what other produce they had, too.

What a revelation! I should be going to these more often. The boutique farmers, local foodie culture, the increasing awareness of fresh foods and unusual ingredients, it's all added up to a lively, prospering scene.

The one I attended probably had as many local sous chefs and restaurant assistants scouring the tables, as well as food hobbyists, cooks, and just people who like local produce. The people were informed, and eager to discuss their favorite items.

One exotic item that stood out. Edible flowers from a squash plant. Not sure what kind of squash, but it caught my eye. A woman standing next to me began raving about how good they are, how they're only available for a few weeks a year, and how best to cook them. So, I got a bag full, with no particular plan, just out of curiosity.

A few days later, my wife, following the suggestion of another patron she'd heard praising the taste the week earlier, suggesting optimal cooking methods, got ambitious, and prepared them Tempura style. Breaded, rolled in panko (french bread crumbs) and gently deep fried in peanut oil, in the traditional Japanese method. Easy for her to do, she's Japanese.

Oh my god! I thought they would be a novelty, an interesting curiosity, but it was way beyond what I expected. They were the most delicious, delicate, flavorful new thing I've tried in years. I was astonished at how good they tasted. Fantastic texture, bursting with flavor, exotic, unlike anything I've ever tried. I'm neutral about squash, so I didn't expect much. I can see why these are prized, sought after. Amazing. I want to go back next week and get more.

A friend of ours went to a market in another neighborhood, where one vendor sold only speciality potatoes. Over 40 varieties, blue, purple, yukon gold, fingerlings, nuggets. Expensive, too, but they're all the same price, about $4 a pound, and you can mix, match, try anything.

Have you noticed this trend, how these neighborhood farmer's markets are flourishing? What's it like in your town?
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: davester
Date: August 01, 2008 07:54PM
There are tons of them around here. There's one fairly close pretty much any day of the week. I agree, some of the products can be absolutely astoundingly good compared to even the fancy (i.e. Whole Foods) supermarkets. I very seldom get veggies, meat or fish at the regular (Safeway, etc) supermarkets any more. I'd rather pay more per pound and get less food (and eat smaller portions) at high quality farmers markets or the like than pay less for more quantity.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: graham1352
Date: August 01, 2008 08:06PM
I go to the Lake City market on Thursdays,and always get the squash blossoms.Just finished eating some. We stuffed them with sauteed onion and mushrooms mixed with
ricotto cheese,salt,pepper,nutmeg and one egg.Then we dipped them in a beer batter and fried them. The sauce served on top was a mix of tomatos,red wine vinegar,olive oil,salt and pepper all mixed in a blender. Then pressed through a strainer for a smooth sauce. Delicious.
The Italian bread stand has awesome breads as well.
Ben



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2008 08:08PM by graham1352.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: blooz
Date: August 01, 2008 08:20PM
There's a good farmer's market in Northampton MA on Saturdays. I'm planning on going tomorrow, as a matter of fact.
Lots of veggies, flowers, plants, a guy with a meat locker with selections from his own herd, maple syrup, apples, the works. They block off part of a side street in the middle of town for this and it seems like the place to be on Saturday morning.

I get lots of good food here, but so far no luck in picking up any of the attractive women who shop here.
Can't have everything I guess.



And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
—Friedrich Nietzsche
Western Massachusetts
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: August 01, 2008 09:12PM
panko are japanese bread crumbs, not french BTW.

Yeah, lots of farmers' markets springing up in Seattle. There are 7, one a day, but 5 of the 7 are in the north half of the city.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: August 01, 2008 09:24PM
Panko is a Japanese product, yes (pronounced paan-ko, not 'paynko') The bread crumbs are made from french bread. "Pan" is the French word for bread.

Also good to use in place of cracker crumbs when making salmon or crab cakes, it's much fluffier, excellent breading material for many uses.

Oiishi!
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: August 01, 2008 09:41PM
pain is french for bread. pan is french for section.

3 years middle school french, and 3 years in HS.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: August 01, 2008 09:55PM
Ya got me!

But panko's origins are in French bread, and I think the word is adapted from French origins. I spelled it wrong, more like how I pronounce it. "Pain" is a whole other thing! Ouch! But yes, you are correct.

Japan is famous for adapting and filtering western methods, materials, foods, etlc,, and making them their own, then giving them back to us.

Remarkably, Tokyo has the best French bakeries, outside of France, I've ever been to. Their pastry shops are incredible. They're serious about being authentic and precise. Great Italian restaurants, too.

It's said that Japan is better at duplicating and refining other ideas than they are at being original, in some ways, that's true.

No French in Middle School, no French in high school, but one trip to France, to four to Japan. Love those baked goods!
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: digby
Date: August 01, 2008 11:03PM
Y'know, I keep hearing about someone or t'other taking a road trip to visit different baseball stadiums.

Wouldn't it be tastier to arm yourself with maps to the best Farmer's Markets before you hop in the car (or maybe the RV With a Mini-Fridge)?


If you do go on a Market Tour, be sure to stop by Madison, WI, where ours is picturesquely wrapped around the State Capitol. Sample the squeaky cheese curds, buy some apples from Kevin Henkes to go with your Humungous Caramel Rolls, and do try the warm Spicy Cheese Bread.


Hmmmmm, I think I have a plan for my retirement... start with Ann Arbor or Madison, end up in Seattle... yum.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: JoeBob
Date: August 02, 2008 07:08AM
Two local ones- one on the river in downtown Wilmington (NC), one closer to me at Poplar Grove plantation.
The Poplar Grove market has awesome organic farms represented, plants, veggies, wines, and organic meats. Not much seafood, but with my allergies, that's okay with me. A variable number of craft vendors, yoga, and once in a while, they have massage therapists there.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: trisho.
Date: August 02, 2008 09:50AM
graham1352, I want to eat dinner at your house every week...

I live in New York City (Brooklyn) and we've always had really good farmers' markets. The main one is the Union Square Greenmarket { [www.cenyc.org] } that is open almost every day of the week. There are several other green/farmers' markets available around the city on any given day. There's a huge Whole Foods at Union Sq. as well so a person can grab some great local produce from the stands and then grab some accessories from WF to finish off a dinner. Trader Joe's is also close to there so you can pick up a cheap wine too.

The produce at Union Sq. tends to be a bit expensive in some cases though. Because of that, my boyfriend and I decided to join a CSA in the East Village/Alphabet City for this year. We only get a half share but it's an insane amount of fresh organic produce from an upstate farm. Every Tuesday we get fresh squash, garlic, eggplants, beets, yellow tomatoes, kale, butter lettuce, etc...the list goes on. That night we make a huge salad that we eat for a couple of days. The cost of a half share was $350 for 24 weeks which works out only $14.58/week for several pounds of organic produce. That's only $7.29/week for each of us. And that really makes up all of our vegetable intake for the whole week.

We've been rather busy lately and have not been able to go through the produce so I've started freezing the goodness. I'm running out of room in our regular freezer and plan on getting a small chest freezer soon. It would be seriously worth it. Also, here is the schedule for what we get: [sixthstreetcenter.org]. Another great aspect is if you go there later in the pick up time window, they'll let you take more than what is normally allotted because they know others won't show up. So a couple weeks ago we got some some cute tiny yellow plums from the fruit share even though we don't pay for the fruit share.

We're going to be moving soon to another section of Brooklyn and the CSA in that neighbourhood has its pick up location literally across the street from our new apartment. We're going to just register a full share and share it with our friends/coworkers who live 5 blocks away from our new place.

Can you tell that I really love food?

P.S. I've been wanting to try zucchini flowers for the past few weeks. That's an Italian delicacy and I heard about it when I was in Italy for business again a few weeks ago. I didn't get a chance to try it then but would like to find some in the city soon. I noticed a lot of people talking about it lately too. I think we're experiencing a high raising of the food standard in the US. Too bad it's coinciding with an economic downturn though.



trisho.
----------------
Official Card-Carrying Mother Earthin' Sl*t.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2008 09:53AM by trisho..
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: trisho.
Date: August 02, 2008 09:58AM
digby, I want to do something like that in a couple weeks when my boyfriend and I go to upstate New York again for a small vacation. It's at a point where I take food vacations. I love trying new foods that are local to regions.



trisho.
----------------
Official Card-Carrying Mother Earthin' Sl*t.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: graham1352
Date: August 02, 2008 10:58AM
The best part about getting the squash blossoms is we only paid about $2 for 18 of them.
My 1 year old daughter loves them too. Their a nice summer treat. I've read you can eat the winter squash blossoms as well, but haven't tried yet.
Ben
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: decocritter
Date: August 02, 2008 05:12PM
I just went to the huge one in Decatur, yesterday. I get my coffee there from $4.99 to $7.99 per pound, for those that I buy. Better, fresher coffee, and beats the hell out of $12 plus per 12 oz at Whole Paycheck.

The farmers market has definitely gone up in price though, and it is much more crowded.

Have to be careful, because some things are much more expensive, while most produce is cheaper.
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Re: Attn: Foodies. Farmer's Market season, what's in like in your town?
Posted by: M>B>
Date: August 02, 2008 11:46PM
Not exactly on topic, but related for you travelers...

You want good road food while traveling √ this site out...

[www.roadfood.com]
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