Saturday, August 2, 2008
Another Saturday, another market!
The Park Blocks were buzzing early this morning, but I arrived just in time to catch a few shots of the market set-up and talk to my favorite farmers before the crowds descended. I love walking around the market before the starting-bell rings. Nobody can sell a thing until they hear the chiming at 8:30, so everyone is more than willing to chat and give tips for the best of the day's harvest. I skipped over to my dear friends at Monteillet Fromagerie to sample the day's new cheeses, and found the perfect peach for breakfast from "the Peach Ladies". Ah, how I love market day!
It seems every individual fruit or vegetable decided it wanted to be the most colorful, enticing item on the table, because the market was an explosion of jewel-tones this morning. There must have been more than eight varieties of beets, from ruby red-orange to golden yellow-pink, to a rich, dark beauty that was almost black. The carrots also put on their Saturday best, and I snatched up some beautiful babies that are so sweet they could be dessert.
The Great Summer Squash Invasion has also begun in earnest, as farmers around the square were hawking their little green and yellow jewels for bargain prices. The amazing Vicki of Sun Gold farms laughed as she told me how she sends her son out the pick the zucchini every three days, pulling in a huge harvest every time. I finally got around to picking out some gorgeous zucchini blossoms that I'll be experimenting with today, as well as some great baby squash - all for pennies. I'm sure, when my own squash plants explode in a few weeks, I'll be laughing at the thought of paying anything for them, but I'll deal with that irony when the time comes.
Tote bag in hand, I decided to adopt a new strategy that would maximize my time leisurely strolling and sampling, while allowing me to make the most of my paltry fifteen bucks. For some crazy reason, the Wells Fargo ATM located at the corner of the market was taken down, and I had to stretch my dollar. Luckily, there were some great deals, and I managed to walk away with all of this:
I made three circles of the market. The first time around, I made a list of all of the items I wanted - just smelling and observing what was at its peak - while snapping pictures like crazy. On the second loop, I recorded prices and quality at various vendors, and the third time around I purchased my goodies until the cash ran out. The only thing I wasn't able to get was a bit of corn - but there is plenty of time for that!
All in all, a fantastic morning. I can't wait to experiment with all of my veggies - especially the squash blossoms which I've never used before. I can tell this August is going to be a great harvest, and I hope you can all find some fabulous local treats this weekend. I leave you with the prettiest flowers of the day.
This post is a submission to A Scientist in the Kitchen's To Market To Market: Celebrating Farmers' Markets Everywhere blog event. Check it out!