The farmer’s market came back to my town a little earlier in the season than usual, so I’m taking this opportunity to geek a little bit, and to share one of my major “I try”s in life: to buy and eat seasonal, locally sourced produce.
When I left home to gallivant around the country for some years, there was no farmer’s market here, to my knowledge (if any Huntingdonians are reading, correct me if I’m wrong, by all means). There were plenty of roadside stands to buy tomatoes and sweet corn, maybe a watermelon or some funky squash in the fall, but a collection of vendors at a consistent time and place each week? I never saw one.
I visited an enormous farmer’s market in Lincoln, Nebraska, a few times while living there, but when I relocated to Milwaukee in 2009, I fell madly in love with the market right down the block from my apartment. There, my love of Vidalia onions led to a discovery of cipollinis (which I spelled wrong in my Instagram photo from last year, forgive). I learned that Wisconsin’s honey crisp apples are superior to any other honey crisp, nay, any other APPLE in all the land. I bought homemade sourdough loaves and strawberry jalapeno jam and bunches of fresh wildflowers to go with my usual haul of whatever veggies looked good that week: pencil-thin baby asparagus to quick-roast in sesame oil, sweet cucumbers to salt and dip into hummus, zucchini for grilling, portabella caps the size of my face, and at least one or two of every kind of tomato to be found.
I used to come back from that market, unload it all on the kitchen table, and photograph it, it was so beautiful.
While living in southern York County for a few years, I even worked part-time at a market for a while, and helped grow some stuff—Swiss chard, strawberries, radishes, and yep, tomatoes. Swoon.
I was over the moon to learn, when I moved back home last summer, that the skate park across town hosts local farmers each Thursday afternoon. And even moreso when the weather turned nice enough this spring to bring those farmers back weeks before the anticipated June opening of the market.
Yesterday, I bought a spring green mix of arugula, blue kale, and mustard greens, some hothouse tomatoes, a round of sourdough, a bunch of scallions, and a small bag of someone’s homemade granola. I’ve eaten a little bit of all of it in less than 24 hours.
The berries will be ready soon. The Vidalias are coming.
Shopping at farmer’s markets, supporting local economies and growers, is one of my most delicious tries.