Opening Day at the Farmers’ Market

This past Saturday was the opening day of the Downtown Milford Farmers’ Market. I’ve missed my Saturday mornings walking around outside, looking at produce, baked goodies and listening to music. It was great as well to see the smiling faces of some of my favorite folks who faithfully come weekly with the items they grew or made.

My husband and I had turned this into a fun date morning and planned to fix a dinner together with what we could find at the market. First we went to breakfast at The Corner. I’ve been wanting to come here for a long time and was thrilled when my husband brought it up. If you do go, remember they only take cash, so come prepared. Hubby had the African Hash which being me, I always have to try his food too, was spicy and honestly left me wishing I had ordering that. I had ordered a sweet potato hash as I was craving sweet potatoes (still am oddly)> It was delicious but it was the smells and spice coming from hubby’s plate that got my senses. The poached eggs that came with both were cooked perfectly. It’s a lot of food some come with an empty belly. Neither my husband or myself ate lunch that day from amount of food we had there for breakfast. Simple fruit snack help me over till dinner.

After breakfast, we walked up the street to the farmers market. It was early yet but everyone was set up and ready to go. Music was playing by a great band and there was face painting for kids who brought a canned good for the food bank. Gotta love that. This will be going each week, so bring a canned good for a worthy cause. I wonder if they would paint my face if I brought a canned good.

Bring your pup to the market too.

Heading over to look at produce

What was available was radishes, salad greens and other greens, spring onions, asparagus, lots of herbs in pots and pretty flowers for the garden. Strawberries as well. The weather here has been interesting and I know how it’s affecting my garden, somethings were ready early and some are dragging along.

Fresh local strawberries

We always stop at Vaiuso Farms booth. There are always all kinds of fresh herbs, greens, veggies, herbs in pots, plants for the yard and often, my favorite singing vendor who will sing to you as pick your produce. He wasn’t there on Saturday but a few of the guys I got to know last year at the market were. It was great to see them again. I apologize for the dark pictures. Vaiuso is always in the back in the shade (smart move guys) and I didn’t think to turn my flash on when I was snapping away.

My hubby picking out greens for dinner and scallions and one of my favorite smiling friends from Vaiuso Farms

More of the happy crew from Vaiuso Farms. My pics of the produce didn’t come out as well. Next time, I’ll snap more, with a flash.

The guys here are always happy to find what you need, like potted catnip for my new kitty that somehow was in front of me but I missed seeing, and have given me some great recipes. Don’t be afraid to ask when something will be come available either. They are there to help. I’ll have better and more pictures in the weeks to come.

My must stop weekly, is at Stonewall Apiary. I am sure I have posted several times before about the honey and the many uses for it. Really Stewart is not paying me, I just love the honey he sells and other goodies. He has beeswax furniture polish that I love to use on my reclaimed barn wood table my husband built for us, candles in pretty shapes, and of course honey. Delicious, raw, beautiful honey. This week he also had bee pollen, which is great nutritional treat on ice cream or in yogurt and a host of other things but did you know it’s great for seasonal allergies? Yep no lie. One more reason I eat it.

Here’s Stewart, owner of Stonewall Apiary. Nicest guy you could meet and always helpful.

Mmmm liquid gold. Stewart sells honey in all different sizes. The smaller ones make great gifts for friends and family in baskets.

Stewart always sells eggs. I really need to ask what he feeds the chickens as I have tried eggs from other farmers out in New Haven but for whatever reason, I think his eggs taste the best. I am not just saying that either. If you have never bought eggs at a farmers market before know that not all farmers package their eggs together in the same size. Just a heads up. Oh and fresh eggs need a little needle prick at the end near the air sac if your going to hard boil them or getting the shell off will be a chore.

Stewart also brings goat cheese from Beltane Farm. It’s my seasonal addiction. I am unable to eat cow diary but goat dairy I do fine on. Beltane is out at the New Haven markets (and many more around Connecticut) as well but it’s great to get my cheese here in town when I can.

My other addiction is Sunflower Farm. Which I didn’t get a picture of her table of goodies but you can see the butterfly bushes in the picture at the top of this post with the dog in it. sunflower always has the best soaps on the planet. Ok maybe because I am goat and bee junkie, the fact I can come home with honey soaps and goat milk soaps thrills me, but there are so many scents and types to choose from. Then she has lotions, oils, oh and don’t forget the jars of relishes. I am lucky I live close enough to make a short drive over to the store for the other goodies they carry.

A short walk up the street and under the railroad tracks you will find Villa Gourmet. On Saturday’s they have a fresh fish market and all kinds of other goodies to make your dinner complete. She also carries grass-fed beef. On this day we picked up some scallops and a small package of bacon for our dinner that evening and talked about the cooking classes the store offers monthly.

After that stop we began to walk back to the car, me window shopping of course, when my husband suggested a final stop at Cafe Atlantique for a coffee. This is a great place with delish coffees, wines (yes wine) pastries, sandwiches and often lots going on from talks to Milford Radio broadcasting there to live music. We were to full from our breakfast but the pastry counter sure looked yummy. Those had to be the largest croissants I’ve ever seen. I actually debated if I could eat one.

Then a drive home past the harbor….

….and we were home with our bags of goodies. Here’s what we picked up:
3 bars of soap
1 dozen eggs
huge head of salad bowl lettuce
scallions (to be used in father’s day dinner)
radishes
scallops
bacon
strawberries (for munching and dessert on father’s day)
Potted plants of rosemary, oregano, and catnip for my new kitty.

Just a side note to those new to farmers markets. I often bring back the empty egg cartons and washed jars to the markets to help the farmers out. Some folks accept them and other don’t so ask. Many dairy farms do put a deposit down on the their bottles and you get it back after you bring the bottle back. Which reminds me I need to bring a milk bottle back.

So what was dinner from our finds that day? A wonderful seared scallop and bacon salad that my husband and I cooked together. It’s more fun to cook together and to shop together made it even more a treat and the dinner that much more pleasurable.

The salad was simple and quick to put together. I tore up the lettuce and gave it a quick spin in the salad spinner. John cut up carrots we had in the fridge along with radishes we bought at the market, I sliced up some red onion. John patted dry the scallops while I fried up the bacon. Took the bacon out and placed on paper towels and quickly seared the scallops in the bacon fat. Plated up the salads and sprinkled with arugula and clover sprouts. We made a quick dressing of flax-seed oil, walnut oil and balsamic vinegar to drizzle on top and Voila!, dinner was served.

Later this week I will share the yummy dessert I made for Father’s Day and topped with some of the strawberries.

It’s my hope you will go out and explore your local farmers market and get to know your food better and how much better fresh and local tastes. Check out Local Harvest to find a farmers market near you.

Till next time,
Blessings and yummy eats!
Shelly

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