Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Farmer's Market Dinner

I wrote last week about how I'm changing our diet, and how it's becoming easier and easier to eat great delicious food inexpensively with a bit of extra effort. In our city we have a Farmers Market twice a week. On Tuesdays it's close by, on Friday it's at the other end of the city. Tuesday is usually my day because it's just such a piece of cake to get in and out if you get there early. Today we did not get there early. It was packed. The parking is atrocious. People tend to be preoccupied with what they're getting from what farm stand and walk right in front of moving cars. Plus there are tons of very small kids and lots of dogs around, so it tends to be quite the circus. Which is why I like it so much.

We came to the Farmers Market straight from the library. In the middle of the day, the average age of library patrons is about 82 years old. It's the old man's club, where the elderly come to read all the newspapers and sit in the front room and chit chat with their buddies. Occasionally you see a few younger women, in their 60's. I felt positively child-like picking out my books.

To leave the confines of the elder hostel and get to the Farmer's Market is like culture shock. From pastels and beige's, there's a riot of color at the market. The stalls are brimming with local produce. People might think that farming is a thing of the past in MA, but they would be very wrong.

Our market has berries, fresh peaches and nectarines, the very first apples (I got two types), many varieties of corn, herbs, squash, zucchini, eggplant, onions, potatoes, and one the most gorgeous Asian veggies. I always try and get some pea plants from him. I absolutely love those soft pea tendrils stir fried with garlic and a tiny bit of olive oil.

In addition to the veggies and fruits, we have a meat guy that sells grass fed organic beef, a fish guy that sells huge swordfish steaks, bluefish, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crab, and salmon right off the boat that morning. There's the pot pie guy that sells turkey and chicken pot pies in several sizes.

There's the bakery that has all whole grain breads in a variety of types, plus delicious desserts and pies. We have an Italian Ice guy, and an ice cream guy. Pretty much anything you need in produce you can find at this market.

But today was amazing. One of my favorite farms had about 25 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. You could mix and match because they were all selling by pound. I bought 6 different varieties for tonight's dinner.

When we got home I grilled the burgers in my grill pan while I heated up the water for the butter and sugar corn. Put the corn in, sliced up all the tomatoes, picked a bunch of basil leaves out of the garden, and topped that mixture off with shavings of fresh mozzarella. Instead of adding a lot of thick slices of cheese, I used it much more sparingly to save the calories. A sprinkling of EVOO, a turn of salt and pepper, and we had salad caprise. The corn was perfect, the burgers lean and fresh, the entire dinner right off the farm.

This is the kind of meals I want to prepare nightly for my family. It's of course a lot harder in the winter, but I'm also doing something about that, too. I bought a big bag of peaches that I'm going to blanch, and then put in storage containers in the freezer so we'll have fresh peaches come winter. I've already put away a bunch of blueberries. I tried with raspberries but they got eaten before I had a chance. I don't mind the frozen veggies from Trader Joe's, but the fruit isn't to my taste, and I prefer to have it with no sugar at all.

Farmer's Markets are sprouting up everywhere (pun intended). What is your farmer's market like, and do you go often?

I still hate beets with all my heart and soul. But they're pretty, aren't they? Vicious disgusting vegetables from hell.

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Blogger Robin said...

Your farmers market sounds delightful. Here, the really interesting stuff is more in the freestanding greengrocers and gourmet delis. The markets are still the old-fashioned shuks. Not my thing. Too grungy, too difficult to get too, and years ago I damn near became a vegetarian after walking through the meat row by accident.

22/8/07 2:51 AM  
Blogger sarah cool said...

It's 7 am and I want to be at your house eating a burger.

22/8/07 6:13 AM  
Anonymous jo said...

Oh God...Roast beets wrapped in foil with evoo and salt...OMG heaven. Ah well, my husband calls it beetroot and cringes as he watches me eat it. Too many memories of gross canned or jarred beets growing up.
I adore Hmong farms. The have the best stuff.
I've been missing out on the Tuesday market due to my schedule. I can't get there til 5:00 and by then almost everything is gone.

22/8/07 7:37 AM  
Blogger The Hotfessional said...

Oh, Yummmmmmmmmmmy! Our Farmer's Market is really small (amazing since we're at the edge of Michigan farm country), but we usually peter out around this time of year and miss the later-summer produce.

Thanks for the reminder that I need to start going again.

22/8/07 10:14 AM  
Blogger Amy Turn Sharp said...

I am salivating. I want to run right over to that marker now! :) yummy- I am def going to my local farmers market this sat!

22/8/07 12:22 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

SIGH. I wish we had something like that around here. Then again, if we did, I'd probably have to cross the seventh level of hell (the city) to get to it.

22/8/07 1:05 PM  
Blogger Adorable said...

When I lived in the City it was hard to go to the market because it was only open between 2-4 on Wednesdays. Like, I don't work. And there would be one table of pretty much nothing.

I'm jealous. Your market looks great!

23/8/07 10:35 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Last night we had uncooked tomato sauce over pasta....total yum, and the teenager took leftovers for lunch. Coarsely chop tomatoes, add 2-3 finely chopped cloves of garlic, minced red onion, and finely shredded fresh basil. Dress with salt, pepper and lots of olive oil. Toss over hot pasta.

What's the reference to Hmong farms? You mean the Hmong people? Aren't they all up in Minnesota ?

23/8/07 11:38 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Nina, Yup, the Hmong people. There are quite a few Hmong families that farm around here. They seem to grow amazing asian type veggies. In a bit I'll take a trip to Russos, which is a local produce market, and I'll photograph some of things they grow. I don't even know what half of them are, but their herbs are to die for!

23/8/07 1:58 PM  

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