Monday, June 1, 2009

Farmer's Market Meals

Here I go. I know, I know. Every magazine you pick up, every newspaper food column you read, everything food is all abuzz about Farmer's Markets, eating local, sustainable, blahbitty blah blah yay. It's gotten as bad as corporate jargon. (Are we all on the same page now?) No one should be surprised that a tomato grown in someone's garden and driven a maximum of 15 or 20 miles and sold two days after it was picked is going to taste better than one grown in California, gassed so it turns red, and trucked all the way across the country. You know this. You know that carrots pulled straight from the ground, washed and eaten are nice and sweet and delicious. You know that a cucumber that isn't wrapped in plastic, but is warm from the sun and brought in and sliced and served with a little sugared vinegar just can't be beat. You know that Arkansas strawberries picked at the height of the season are the best EVER and yes, I'm including the second-rate ones here in North Carolina. OK, well, maybe you don't know about the Arkansas strawberries, but I do, and I miss them sometimes.

So why am I jumping on the bandwagon and boring you with stuff you already know? Well, one, because it's my blog, and I write about what's on my mind and what we've had to eat (usually) the night I write it. Two, I love our Downtown Farmer's Market - it's the only time I actually WANT to eat vegetables. And three, because no one reads this except my sister-in-law and a couple of other occasional peeps. And if the three of you get bored, you can just skip this one. Remind me to send you guys your monthly checks, by the way.

Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market downtown. I picked up tomatoes, baby carrots, fresh basil (I do grow my own and have a fairly respectable herb bed, but everyone has been OUT so far when I've tried to go get it), beautiful dark yellow squash, fresh eggs, fresh strawberries that no matter how good they are still aren't as good as the ones I had growing up in Arkansas (see above), some nice fingerling potatoes, and some gorgeous tiny little baby squash.

Tonight we had some local shrimp, boiled for peel-'em and eat 'em. And I roasted the fingerling potatoes and the baby carrots and we sliced one of the tomatoes. No, it's not really quiiiiite tomato season - another couple of weeks and they'll start really tasting good. But still very tasty compared to the cardboard variety that I don't even bother to buy anymore at the Teeter. Over there are the carrots. Ooo! Pretty!

Here's the whole spread: Yes, I know it's not the best picture I've ever taken. Sorry about that. It doesn't do justice to the dinner, which is not well-presented at all. Sometimes I'm lazy.

The fingerling potatoes (and the teensy weensy squashes that I'm really looking forward to cooking tomorrow) came from the organic farm of a friend of a friend. Federal Point Farm is owned and run by Christin Deener and David Higgins, and they had some lovely stuff. The potatoes were REALLY good tonight, and I know that squash is going to be hittin'. The basil I got from them was also excellent, although I do prefer to grow my own. It's coming! I just have to hit the herb folks at the right time, before the other weekend gardeners can clean them out. Thanks, Christin and Dave for contributing to a great dinner tonight!
So I guess I'll just repeat the obvious in case we all haven't been hit on the heads with it from the media enough times. Locally grown stuff is just better tasting. Yes, it's great that it's sustainable, and uses less energy for transport, and all that other stuff too. But there's just nothing like food that was picked yesterday or that day, served on your table tonight. It's so much better than the produce that tastes like the grocery store air-conditioner. Sorry if you can't get Arkansas strawberries, though.

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