The market was already packed when the opening bell rang at 8:30 this morning, and the wood-fired oven was already sending fragrant campfire scents into the air. In the mood for a bagel, I popped in line and checked out the offerings of the day. It was hard to pick which toppings I wanted - check out this selection: asparagus and bacon? hummus and radish? pork shoulder with jam? YES PLEASE.
There was a bit of a strawberry explosion, as last week one or two farmers had berries for sale - this week, the flats were out, the tables were piled high, and there was a definite smell of strawberry fever mingling with the Tastebud bagel smoke.
One farmer bragged that her strawberries were "Picked at 6 A.M.!" so I started off the morning with a fresh-baked sesame bagel with cream cheese, rhubarb, and fresh sliced strawberries.
I had just purchased a big bunch of basil, and snuck a few leaves onto my bagel. I'm a sucker for herbs in sweet foods - like the famous herb iced tea from last summer. Something about the fresh, complex flavor of basil, thyme, and mint set off fruit really well. I suppose it's a bit like when my parents put salt on papaya, mango, and melon, or the strawberry and balsamic phenomenon. Savory flavors punch up sweetness, and the result is an unexpected treat.
Speaking of herbs, a lot of farmers were featuring gorgeous chives, almost two feet long with pretty purple tops. I bought a bunch, along with my basil, and both are sitting in my kitchen in a vase of water - an herb bouquet. Beautiful and edible... the perfect combo.
Scanning the market, it was a pleasure to see summer veggies starting to appear. Amongst the standard spring fare of rhubarb, greens, and beets, farmers have been laying out baby summer squash, broccoli, and of course, strawberries. It's funny to hear little gasps of disbelief, along the lines of "Isn't it too early for strawberries!?" before grabbing a flat of fragrant Oregon reds. Groundwork Organics had a huge selection of berries and both spring and summer veggies, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that the line stretched away from the booth about a hundred feet. At least it gave me a good chance to snap a bunch of photos.
My roommate Greenbriar's parents are in town from North Carolina, and we're planning on having a BBQ on Monday. They are a pair of die-hard foodies (and loyal Lemonbasil readers, too!) so I'm sure it will be incredibly blog-worthy. Until then, have a great weekend, and eat well!