Farmer’s Market finds

The challenge this weekend. What kind of dinners can you cook from items found at local Farmer’s markets. And could we really find local honey?

My sweet husband had a recipe going in his mind for yet another beer to brew. He also had a pretty busy weekend ahead of him with other things he wanted or needed to do so I made a simple suggestion, take Friday off and let’s go get your supplies and hit a farmer’s market while we are in that area.  I had wanted to go as there was going to be beekeeper there who had local honey. Something I was after.  To my very happy surprise he worked from home that morning and off we went to a town not to far away, where we joke one road holds many of the things we need.  Only thing missing is  the ocean and it might be perfect to move to. To bad it’s inland.  My husband procured his brewing needs and my youngest son got to crush some barley for his old man while we were at the brewstore. Yet another fun educational moment for the family.

Next we headed up the road to our favorite hot sauce store. Yeah you read that right. They sell sell mostly hot sauce along with a few BBQ sauces and dried herbs and odd snacks. Like a lollipop with a scorpion in it my son got and chips made by the ever famous Blair company. After tasting and finding our new burning needs were off to one of our favorite farms.

I had an image in my mind of what this market would be like. I have to say I was rather disappointed. I was more disappointed in the bee keeper who seemed more interested in making trendy little cute over priced honey and texting on her phone then actually caring about how she was making an impression on someone who just drove in from out of town just to try her products. The honey she offered wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t any different from the stuff I get at my local grocery store. So I was not going to plunk down $15 for not even a pound of honey so she could drive off in what I guess would be her German automobile and buy another pair of Prada shoes. I am sorry that is totally judgmental on my part but well that’s the impression she gave off to me.  I did manage to get to buy some produce from a local farm but not the one we were visiting. The woman explained her farm name and even some gardening tips. Never had seen a purple bell pepper so I had to buy it. I also picked up some Lemon Boy cherry/grape tomatoes, a green bell pepper and some fresh radishes.  Home we went to try to cool off for the rest of the afternoon.

The next morning we were up early and off to our own town’s farmer market. I have only been a handful of times but each time I have come away with something good. I plan to make this a regular stop. I love the live music and friendly faces ready to help you. The prices are good too. This stop I found a Stevia plant . I bought it as I want to try my hand at growing it and at making a sweet syrup that is suppose to be great in coffee/tea and baking I heard about. And at only one dollar it was hard not to pass up that chance.  If I am unhappy I really didn’t loose much.

We picked up some fresh cut parsley, and lovely large tomatoes from one vendor, a beautiful artisan bread with shallots in it from another, and to my delight there was  a friendly beekeeper with local honey. We got a pound of honey for half as much as the Martha Stewart wanna be was selling and a jar of wood polish as well. He was happy to let us taste all the different products he had to offer and talk with us. I took his card in case I don’t see him at the market for awhile. I might need to stock up for winter.

With our goodies in our bag we got back in our car and drove to the little seaside farm near our home where our favorite fish monger is on Saturdays along with another local farmer who sells fresh grass fed , hormone free meats.  We got local fresh caught shrimp and some local clams from our fish monger. Walked over to the meat man and got a lovely london broil cut. I also learned why I never can find a hanger steak anywhere I go. There is just one per cow and the nick name “butchers cut” is because the butcher usually keeps it. We were told his wife gets upset when he sells out of them. We bought his last one. I hope he didn’t sleep in the doghouse that night but I am so so looking forward to cooking that up later this week.

So what did we make with our  finds at a farmer’s market?

Saturday’s dinner we had grilled clams and shrimp that my husband did and I did  a tomato bread salad with herbs.  The herbs came from my own herb garden that is on my deck outside my kitchen.  My husband made up a great garlic butter for the clams. We had enough of the tomato bread salad left that I had it for lunch the next day and it was just as good if not better from having sat over night. Here is a link to the recipe I found on Epicurious

Tomato Bread Salad with Herbs

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tomato-Bread-Salad-with-Herbs-13025

Sunday night my husband grilled the london broil to perfection with nothing more than salt, pepper and a little olive oil. It was heavenly. I did a red pepper orzo from my CIA book. Only thing I changed was I used a purple bell pepper instead of red so maybe it should have been a purple pepper orzo.

So go check out your local farmer’s market. You never know what you might find. I am hoping to make a regular habit of this. It was fun, cheaper than the grocery store and it was nice for my son to meet the folks that grow our food. Now I just have to take the fish monger up on his offer to come up and visit him with my son at the docks. That should be really educational.

Till next time,

Slainte!

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