|A quick stop at a small shop for macaroons.|
FUN AT THE PUBLIC MARKET
I love this time of year. The days start getting warmer, the birds start singing and the farm markets start opening up. My little local farm market in the village opens tomorrow and will be open until November. I get so excited each year for this event. The farm market allows us to stretch our food dollar to the furthest extent all the while allowing us to support our local farmers, which being the daughter of farmers, makes me feel very satisfied. It's nice to put a face to the people who are providing the fruits and vegetables that grace our table and I love knowing that I have a viable alternative to the supermarket, at least part of the year.
|Entry to the Rochester Public Market.|
But some farm markets are open year around. The Rochester Public Market is one of those. While the main point of going to the market is to get food, the market itself has almost a carnival atmosphere. There are vendors selling their wares and small cafes to buy sandwiches and drinks, sit down and enjoy the throngs of people. There are samples to be had and artwork to be seen. There is always something new to try and familiar vendors that you look for each time you go.
Farm markets are a big part of Jenny's Homefront Strategy. What I can't grow, I can pick up for a good price at the farm market stand and bring home and process. Often I'll pre-order something I want to can or freeze so that when those items become costly during the winter, I have an ample supply on my shelf canned or put away in the deep freeze for a quick lunch side (frozen berries are wonderful in the winter for a fruit in your lunch!) or to be added to the breakfast cereal. Before you think it is just fruits and vegetables (which there are a lot of), the market also supplies gourmet cheeses, breads, pastas, olive oils, wines and nuts. You can go there with no idea what you are going to make for the week and walk out with all the ingredients you need to make a wonderful week of food and a very small price.
Cheese shops, bakeries, coffee shops in addition to produce make the market definite go to.
The market changes with the seasons and this weekend the first herb plants that I've seen were out. What I think is lovely is that, in addition to the typical herbs, they have the more "exotic" or "hard to get" herbs in my area like lemon verbena. In addition, they already had some of the garden vegetable plants, although, at 39 degrees at night, it's still a little early to put them out but after six months of nothing green in site, you just want to breathe in the first signs of spring.
All and all, if you've never have been to your town's public market I encourage you to do so. It is wonderful experience of smells, sights, and adventure. Simple, inexpensive ingredients can add up to a week (or more) of delightful meals for a fraction of the cost and you are supporting your local farm families. Go out and enjoy the adventure!
If you've never had tapas, tapas are essentially little plates of appetizers served in Spain at little bars. You go by yourself or with friends and order a bunch of little appetizers, maybe have a little wine and wind down from your day before going home. With our trip to the market, I decided to create a little "farm market tapa" of my own with the items I picked up at the market (the ham however was from the weekend). This is loosely based on the tapa Serrano y Manchego (Ham and cheese) although that typically includes spanish olives (yum!). Here is what we bought at the market.
- Asparagus (3lbs for $1!)
- Manchego cheese
- Pizzell cookies (vanilla, butter pecan and peanut butter)
- Cinnamon-vanilla almonds