Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fresh and Local, Small and Large

Here is our garden produce!  
Common Household Tomato

Every few days we harvest one or two of these, but this one was just the latest and most beautiful.  They have a rather tough skin, but taste oh, so sweet, like candy.  

Here is the same item, but from the farmer’s market.
Farmer's Market Tomato

And for size comparison, here they are together.  Our tomatoes are about ½ inch in diameter.  Cute, eh?
Bob the Tomato (on the right), and Bobbie the Tomato-ette

Despite our busy summer, I have been trying to visit the farmer’s market when I can.  Last Wednesday, I wanted vegetables, and needed to pull Youngest Daughter away from the tv/computer mind suck.  So I insisted on taking her to the farmer’s market with me, although she doubted there could be anything for her there.  

As we were driving along, I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an ice cream truck that would drive around the neighborhoods, only instead of selling ice cream, it would sell fresh vegetables!”  YD said, “But Mommy, who would ever want to buy vegetables?!”

Well, me.  I want to buy fresh vegetables, but there is no such vegetable truck.  At the beginning of this summer, I almost signed up to join a farmer’s coop.  My brother’s family does this, and every week they go to pick up an assortment of veggies, fruit, meat, and cheese, all fresh and in season for their local New England area.  In my never-ending quest, which my family views as my evil plot, to reduce our meat consumption and increase our vegetable consumption, I thought this might be a way to inspire (force?) the family to participate more fully.

But I decided that I’m not ready to be tied down to picking something up at a specific time on a specific day.  Also, what my brother and sister-in-law get in their coop box is a surprise each week.  While we were visiting them they received a bunch of good stuff, and gooseberries or some such thing that my brother warned against.  It could be that we just require some edification on how to cook gooseberries, but I don’t have time to learn that this summer.

So in May I found out about a nearby farmer’s market.  This market is a new one, just down the street from my church, and it turns out it is run by my hairdresser and her boyfriend, who owns a local farm. There are other vendors too – one guy sells just garlic, but at least two kinds (one is for roasting, another for other kinds of cooking – be sure to ask).  Another guy sells fresh kettle corn.  There are sausages and cheese, Amish bakery items, Greek-style food, home made pizza and marinara sauce.  Youngest Daughter really enjoyed the fresh lemonade, with the lemons squeezed right in front of us.  We bought some pizza shells and sauce to use at her sleepover. 

One of the best things about it is that the vendors’ fees go directly to the local food bank. 

Here are the other vegetables I got at the farmer’s market.   
The vegetables were also useful as a weight to press the tofu.
Usually I use the peanut butter jar, but we were out.

Yum!  I put most of the vegetables in a stir-fry.  And Youngest Daughter was inspired enough to make a sauce for the stir-fry!   And she even tried the vegetables!

So... what's your favorite fresh vegetable?  Do you go to a farmer's market?

Common Household Youngest Daughter’s Recipe for
       Stir-Fry Sauce

1 16 oz. jar of pineapples
Fresh ginger root
Onion powder
Ground thyme
Ground cinnamon
Lite soy sauce
Corn starch
Cold water

Directions: Pour pineapple juice into a mug. Using a ginger grater, grate up ¼ tsp. ginger root. Stir it in. Sprinkle in onion powder until it lightly covers the juice. Sprinkle in some thyme. Sprinkle in some cinnamon. Add 3 good shakes of soy sauce. Stir it all in.

Sprinkle in a little more thyme, and a little more cinnamon. Also add 1 more tbsp. of soy sauce. Stir until dark brown. Taste should be sweet.

Wait until it’s time to add the sauce. Put the sauce in a pan and bring it to a boil.  In a separate small bowl, add 1 tbsp. corn starch to ¼ cup of cold water and stir it in. Add it to the sauce. It should now be light brown. Pour it on to the vegetables. Serve.

(You can serve the pineapple fruit separately.)


Angie said...

I love farmers' markets. When I lived in Pgh, I went to the one on the north side on Fridays. Perry Hwy on Wednesdays would be convenient! There are several markets in my area here. I find tomatoes very difficult to grow in this heat.

Mazur's Greenhouse & Farm said...

Glad you enjoyed the veggies & coming to the market! Come see us anytime! Recipe for the stir-fry sounds good, we'll have to try it! :-)

Cassi Renee said...

I love the photo of both tomatoes :-)

We got some golden cherry tomatoes, but they're only okay this year. However, my big red tomatoes are doing quite well. I only grow enough to eat, since I don't make time to can or freeze (as much as I know I would benefit from it!).

Suburban Correspondent said...

We love our local farmers' market. I can buy half bushels of peaches or apples or whatever at discounted prices.