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Posts Tagged ‘farmers markets’

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Roadside stands, farmers markets, seasonal enterprises – they are the heart and soul of summer in the Midwest – and probably in your neck of the  woods as well.

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I didn’t buy the Speciality Basil Bouquet (top photo), but, I couldn’t resist taking a picture. The arrangements look, and smell, of summer. I grow my own basil along with thyme, oregano, and sage in a whiskey barrel on our deck. I love to step outside and snip fresh herbs for our dinner, and I love slipping herbs into bouquets – or just in a jar of water for color and ease on my countertop.

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The bouquet of zinnias, above was from The Farm, a roadside market not far from our house. They grow their produce on two farms nearby and have a large plot in back of the barn/store where they grow flowers that they sell from the stand. The bouquets are picked and arranged each day and last for most of a week. This bouquet has strawflowers and Billy Buttons, which should also dry well for Fall arrangements.

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Last week, onions, new potatoes, zucchini and string beans were available. One glance and I knew what i would be making for dinner that night and leftovers thereafter – Greek string beans and potatoes! I used some freshly picked mint leaves from another pot on the deck and it was, I must confess, unabashedly, THE BEST Briami  I have ever made!

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Sweet corn is abundant now. I prefer to get corn from Farmers Markets and stands, where I know they are as locally grown and as fresh as possible, but, there are also berries, and fruit, much of which is coming in from Michigan. These yellow plums are quite sweet and juicy.

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What are seasonal delights are you enjoying now?

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Big

 Nothing says summer here in the Midwest quite like corn on the cob. While crops are suffering tragically this year, with a bleak future for farmers and consumers alike, there is still local sweet corn to be found.  Not knowing quite what tomorrow will bring, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head  to a farmers market where I knew the first ears of sweetness might be.

A dozen silken ears clothed in green husks immediately found their way into my car. Half of them were on the table for Wednesday night supper.

 I nibbled away, attacking each golden kernel with determination, butter dripping recklessly down my fingers, barely catching my breath, and feeling a bit like Tom Hanks in the movie Big.

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One of the great pleasures of summer is the predominance of farmers markets.  Tents and tables spring up like sugar snap peas and leaf lettuce across these burbs. Open air produce markets can be found on any given day hereabouts, with fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and plants, artisanal cheeses and fresh bakery items all for the picking.

I visited my first market on Wednesday.

It is still early in the midwest for most produce, and we have had a very long and dry spell without any rain, which doesn’t bode well for crops like corn and beans and pumpkins and such. The cool weather crops, however, seem to have done well, as evidenced by all of the berries being sold. I snatched up a quart of some Michigan grown strawberries, and then there was the blueberry man . . .

Thursday’s breakfast was this big bowl of freshness, glistening in the sun, reminding me of my two favorite “berry” kids. Kezzie and Jake, my granddaughter and grandnephew, love their berries more than anything else, especially Jake who prefers berries to birthday cake. Go Jake!

Here’s to farmers markets. May they continue to rise up from the pavement and bring wholesome goodness to us city folk.

What have you been picking up, or out of the ground, lately?

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Twin Garden Farms

Within 15 minutes of where we live I can find a farmers market on just about any given day and there is a farmstand not far

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where I know I can go to get vegetables recently picked and brimming with flavor. We had our first taste of sweet corn last week, and though these first kernels probably came from southern Illinois, I know we will start getting locally grown corn soon. I love fresh produce – the bounty of summer in the midwest.

Today, I headed for the Burr Ridge Center and their Thursday market. This one is more in the French Market style with jewelry and baked goods (I love the bakery items of the little French nuns) and other wares, but, there were several produce vendors and the new red potatoes were calling me. Someone asked if I would be making potato salad, which sounded good, but, no, not me, these tiny spuds are best just boiled and buttered with chives and a little sour cream. I circled the lawn first to see what was there to the guitar strings of a musician, bought the potatoes and resisted the tomatoes and zucchini and berries as our baskets are currently full, but a flower stand caught my eye and I doubled back to see what was there.

The Twin Gardens booth was full of freshly picked flowers in a variety of colors just waiting to be picked once again by passers-by at the market. This picture does not do the booth justice. The sun was beating down, creating a glare, but you get the idea of the variety and amount of blooms waiting to be brought home. $10 bought a bouquet already selected in a glass jar or vase. $5 was pick-your-own, which is what I did, chatting away with one of the gardeners as I gathered my own pick of what reminded me of a tussie mussie of yore. Since I don’t have zinnias or snapdragons in my own garden, I chose them, and they sit with me now as I type away on the keyboard, smiling at me as I smile back at them. Flowers are like that, aren’t they? They brighten up any room.

For five dollars I got a most delightful bouquet in an old Mason jar, which I am to return on my next market visit. Isn’t that grand? The partner is Flowers by Jen out of Harvard, IL and I think it was Jen who was helping me and a delight to talk to, especially in the heat of day when I was there. She talked about the flowers she had and said the jars are to use and return and just that though alone made me feel good in this day-and-age.

The booth next door held Twin Garden Farms’ speciality, Mirai Sweet Corn, which is so incredibly sweet and starting to come in and which I will look to buy next week for sure. You can learn more about the business, the history of Mirai corn, get recipes and search what farmers markets they are at by clicking on here.

How about you? Do you have a farmer’s market or roadside stand nearby that you frequent? What have you bought so far from your market? What can you hardly wait to bite into?

The zinnias remind me of my grandmother’s garden, my yiayia, where the zinnias grew tall in a circle and danced in the breeze as she tended them. I think I will sit here awhile as I remember her garden and how fun it was to “pick” this bouquet today.

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