4 Days until the Challenge-Task: Sunday at the Market

28 Aug

Another post by Lea, Assistant Director:

You know how runners say that they experience a “high” when they hit their stride and can suddenly just run and run.  Well, I am pretty sure I have hit my locavore stride.  I finally feel like I have fallen back into my cooking groove, and am pretty sure that as a result I cooked enough food in the last 4 hours for a small village. 

I headed out early to the Brighton Farmer’s Market this morning, because I was convinced that Irene’s forces would make their way as far as Rochester and that the vendors would suddenly need to flee.  (This was not true, it was the windiest all day at 9:15 am when I got to the market).  In addition to gathering up a ton of great food, I had one of those idyllic market mornings where the community aspect becomes just as important as the food part. 

My first stop was to the Finger Lakes Farms/Meadow Creek booth where in addition to stocking up on a pound of butter and a pound of raw milk cheddar cheese, I ran into my step-sister and her husband.  My step-sister is pregnant and due in just a few days, so I was thrilled to catch up with them before the baby comes along.  While we had cheese on the brain we walked over and visited First Light Creamery to sample some of their smokey paprika flavored chevre. It was unbelievably delicious-but it was the more local flavored dill and garlic variety I was after (which is also unbelievably delicious).  I had also hoped to pick up some of their feta, but it their batch is not fully cured yet.  I chose not to visibly cry.   And realize that I have plenty of cheese for a single person already.  I can wait a week or two.

A few booths down I visited with Aberdeen Hill Farm where I had planned on grabbing just a dozen of their beautiful free-range eggs, but my eye wandered to their chalk board and without even thinking I ordered a pound of Kielbasa as well.  My Polish roots always get the best of me when it comes to Kielbasa, and since I already had plans to braise a head of green cabbage this week-it just seemed like a no-brainer.

My next stop was to the Small World Bakery where I grabbed a jar of their Honey Bunny Granola (not 100% local-but good for these next few days, and in a pinch).  They also have delicious baked goods and hot sauces made  with organic and local ingredients and re-sell Stolor Organic Sunflower Oil and a Farmer Ground Flour.  The owner of the bakery Luke is a great guy and he just signed up Small World to become a sponsor of the challenge.  So I was excited to thank him in person.

Next up was a visit to Eric Newman’s booth.  Eric is a young beginning farmer and has some great products.  He happily let me sift through the seconds of his heirloom tomatoes.  He sold me 2 quarts of seconds for $5 (at least half-off), which have already happily been cooked up into a delicious tomato sauce. 

Seconds and bulk purchasing, by the way, are a great way to stock up on what is at the height of the season and save some money. Most farmer’s market patrons just want the “pretty looking” fruits and veggies, but true locavores know that it all tastes the same whether it’s pretty or not!  Farmer’s need to get these seconds off their hands, so make sure to ask about them if you are looking for a large quantity of something.

I popped over to Circle B farms next for two quarts of peaches.  I have been dreaming all week of making peach and honey ice-cream but when I grabbed a red onion for 50 cents, I also became inspired to make peach salsa.  Which is why I popped over for a quick visit with a good farmer friend Kurt Forman who just happened to have some jalapenos for me.  Serendipitous!

My final stop at the market was to Whitney Organic Farm.  The Whitney’s sell organic pork and grass-fed beef.  I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I regularly visit their booth for a chat and often some bacon or sausage.  The farmer, Dave was my school bus driver and his daughter Michelle and I went to school together, so I always love to chit-chat with them about home and the farm.  Michelle and I chatted for a while today and she convinced me to buy some short ribs.  I’m pretty stoked about this impromptu purchase and am planning on cooking them up with some creamy mashed potatoes and tomato and garlicky green beans later this week.







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