It’s getting real hot real fast, and even the children electric with youth and sporting a total lack of self-imposed limits aren’t sure if they enjoy the humid heat making sweat rings on their t-shirts and scorching unprotected skin to the shade of a ripe tomato that will hurt tomorrow, but mom has aloe and ice cream and everything will be alright. Either by ignoring the sunburn on purpose or just in the excitement of the bubbling crowds and half-forgotten smells, the farmer’s market calls once again.
Greens, greens and nothing but greens! Chard, kale, salad greens, scallions, peas, garlic scapes!, strawberries, and so on. An early wet spring brought in greens by the armful, perfect for reviving a dense and dwindling winter diet of root vegetables and meats. Sure, we have grocery stores with everything all the time, but as for food actually in season where we live, it is once again a miraculous return of naturally bright colors we only saw in fancy art galleries or decidedly un-natural magazines during the winter.
Burning hot summer, however, knocks early like dinner guests too eager to wait. Little snippets of real summer fare are showing up again – squash and their blossoms, broccoli, new potatoes, even some early cherries! Get ‘em while you can, folks – load up early and preserve by the armful.
Ready to eat
Rich dark roasted sausages with peppers and onions bursting in your mouth and sometimes slipping to the ground on gentle but firm buttery ABC buns go fast from Babes in the Woods (getting my 4th of July pig roast from there!). The line for Mexican Tacos with perfect freshly hand-made tortillas and spicy, well-seasoned fillings stretches always longer on the lower north corner. The intensely rich and fruit-packed Pantheon Popsicles are getting ever more popular as radiation rains down from the heavens on poorly sunblocked necks and foreheads.
My attention was caught on the southern fringe of the market with the Mudhouse coffee stand. Fresh ground rich coffee by the mug, with hot water poured by hand to keep even coverage and extraction of the grounds. Best part? $5 up front for the coffee and the mug, return the mug at any point and get your $5 back! Free artisinal coffee if you return the mug, or a nice mug and coffee for $5. They use 23g ground coffee (always by mass for consistent measurement, just like baking) for each 12oz mug and pour into the filters by eye to keep the grounds in the bottom and evenly covered.
Also check out North Cove mushrooms, which is a relatively new presence on the northern side. They’ve got golden and normal oyster mushrooms as well as the ever popular shiitake mushrooms; they are based in Madison County and offer ‘shrooms by weights in standard bag sizes. I took home some golden oyster mushrooms, cut them into bite sized pieces and pan fried until crispy with bacon – hours after they were finished, my dinner guests checked the kitchen to make sure there weren’t more that I was hiding (if only I had!).
Happy food hunting and enjoy the bounty that surrounds us!