Sunday, July 11, 2010

Farmer's Market

This is my local Farmer's Market. I like it - it's small and manageable. There's a big one in Hollywood on Sunday, which people love - it has drumming groups, lots of food vendors, and celebrity sightings. I almost feel like I need to dress. It's a bit of a scene, so I don't go to that one very often. If only how impossible it is to make a choice - there are so many stalls you don't know who to buy from. I's spend my whole day figuring out the best deal. Mine is wee in comparison.

It's right down the road. There's an Asian woman on the left right when you walk in who looks like she might be Mongolian, who has a baby I've seen grow from an infant she carried on her back, now gradudated to a playpen behind her stall. She eats some kind of seed while shuffling vegetables. I buy some greens from her - some that have white flowers, some with yellow flowers, and Chinese broccoli. I don't prepare them so much as just steam them and eat them. They taste bitter and green, satisfying. I don't like the bok choy.

Today I bought corn, strawberries, brussell sprouts, , asparagus, spinach, peaches and plums. A tomato. The boy who sold me the plums told me if I wanted the sweet ones to pick those that are dark and soft but not mushy. I knew that already, but I thanked him. 5 plums for 1.80, and when I added another trying to get close to 2.00 I went over by a quarter. He rounded down, and wouldn't take the quarter. I like that about the farmer's market - they round down. A few weeks ago I got insane deals on cherries.

Last night at dinner we were talking about farmer's markets, eating a wonderful salad of tomatoes and grilled vegetables that two of the guys had grown in their garden. I keep hoping someone here will have Concord grapes like they have at the Union Square farmer's market in NY. They're like candy. And frozen, they're peelable popsicles. Union Square is still my first and my favorite farmer's market. It would be worth a 5 hour plane ride for me to go when the grapes are in season and apples are in full flush into October, when the weather begins to change but it's not completely the time of hot cider, root vegetables and squash. I used to make a salad of corn, beets, tomatoes, and red onions. One day I substituted store-bought lettuce and I was surprised the salad lost much of its pep. You can even taste the difference in the lettuce.

There's a Chinese woman at the farmer's market I go to who is tall and slender, with a wonderful smile, and always has great fruit. It's usually a bit more, but she was in line with everyone else today. She usually pops in an extra piece of small fruit at the end, as if she's slightly guilty about making you pay, or possibly to make sure you have enough. Once I bought a large bag of jujubes from her and learned how to make medicinal jujube tea. She has a display. Today I bought white peaches from her assistant, maybe her daughter. They're so ripe I'm almost afraid to touch them anymore but at the same time it's tempting to feel the perfect ripeness - the slightest firmness, but giving to the touch. They're a pale, pale yellow with shocks of peach orange. I know when I eat them, they're going to be perfect: juicy, sweet beyond belief. I'd like to anticipate that a bit longer, but one is calling my name. Right now. Summer is wonderful for this.


Elizabeth said...

I have found Concord grapes once at the farmer's market in Burbank. Born and raised here, I had no idea they were so awesome.

Elizabeth said...

This post mesmerized me, and I do need a bit of mesmer these days --

If you fly to the farmers' market at Union Square, pick me up some sour cherries -- I'd love to make a pie.

Criticlasm said...

Yeah--I made two from the cherries that were being sold here. They're sweet, but they still make a good pie.

And thanks for the compliment. :)