A Morning at the Market

25 10 2009

A few weeks ago, I got a little camera crazy, and off-handedly commented that I should make a food-blog post about a typical trip to the farmer’s market! A sort of day-in-the-life thing — since a lot of his blog has been about cooking and eating what we can get at the farmer’s market rather than doing the bulk of our shopping at the farmers market.

The chef is holding me to that off-handed comment, so here I am.

WEEK ONE!

Look at all the colorful veggies!

Look at all the colorful veggies!

The chef, I know, has already kind of talked about the process: we make several loops around the market each time we go. It’s really his process – if left to my own devices I tend to get very excited and buy everything within the first two or three stands – then finish my loop and discover I missed out on a few things.

One of my favorite parts about eating this way is discovering fruits or vegetables I’ve never seen before, or things I’ve never thought about buying. The chef’s fantastic farmer’s market cookbooks are a total prize in this regard, especially if we have them with us: we can see something interesting and immediately find a use for it.

We've discovered hazelnuts!

We've discovered hazelnuts!

One produce stand had fresh, locally grown hazelnuts for a few weeks. As you can see, the chef is busily consulting a cookbook for uses of hazelnuts. We bought several cups worth of them that week, and used some of them for a pear hazelnut tart, the rest for roasted yams in hazelnut butter. The chef had more ideas; unfortunately we did not see any this past weekend.

Fighting some guy for garbanzo beans!

Fighting some guy for garbanzo beans!

That was also the weekend we spotted fresh garbanzo beans! I, for one, had no idea they came in tiny little individual pods. Later we discovered that some pods will have two or three garbanzo beans in them. Fresh, undried garbanzo beans are green like peas, but almost with the consistency of fresh, undried/unroasted peanuts. Again, the window for these was tiny – the next weekend we were hoping to buy a few more so we could make a decent sized batch of hummus, but they were nowhere to be found. Our batch of hummus was, therefore, miniscule. Miniscule but delicious.

Zero beauregards. The chef is cleanin' 'em out.

Zero beauregards. The chef is cleanin' 'em out.

We got the bottom of the bucket on these Beauregards, but we cleaned ’em out.

They sell meat!

They sell meat!

We’ve never purchased anything from this stand (so far), but I am always kind of wishing we could get some bacon. Today the chef discovered they have chicken and beef stock. Made a mental note!

See? It's cute because they use pumpkins for vases.

See? It's cute because they use pumpkins for vases.

The market has gorgeous flowers year-round, and I am pretty much always lusting after a bouquet, although I rarely buy them. It’s amazing to go through the summer and watch flowers come in and out of season – daffodils, tulips, lilies. Right now we’re reading the end of the fresh summer flowers – dahlias and sunflowers are both late summer flowers – and vendors are moving into dried bouquets for the winter. I’ll admit I don’t like them as much as fresh ones, but they still come up with brilliant ways to make them exciting, and put things in flower bouquets I’d never imagined, such as decorative kale.

Raw Corn

Raw Corn

Gypsy Cello

Gypsy Cello

Music! The farmer’s market is NEVER short on buskers playing for dollars and selling their self-pressed CDs. Miraculously, they always managed to be spaced out just enough that they aren’t trying to play over each other, and you always hear JUST the music you’re nearest. Lately these are two of my favorites: at the top, Raw Corn, a two-man cover band singing classic rock to guitar and accordion only (their cover of “Wish You Were Here” is to die for, for realz) and at the bottom, Gypsy Cello, always haunting and gorgeous. (He’s not too bad to look at, either! Ooooh snap!) Not pictured is a Ballard favorite, our local square dancing band the Tall Boys.

German-style pretzels and apple cider.

German-style pretzels and apple cider.

A few more “montages” of great stuff from the farmer’s market – German style pretzels from the Tall Grass Baker (we had another one today, NOM!) and a bucket of chilled apple cider. The cider stand sells these small chilled jars, plus large jugs of cider, bottles of apple wine, apple cider vinegar, etc etc. In the summer they have a slushie machine. In the winter they sell it hot.

Radishes and GIANT PARSNIPS.

Radishes and GIANT PARSNIPS.

I wish I’d included something for scale in the case of those parsnips. Because seriously, they are MASSIVE.

Tomatillos and purple broccoli.

Tomatillos and purple broccoli.

I am really starting to love the tomatillo. Also, overheard at the market: the purple broccoli stays purple when you cook it, unlike most purple vegetables. If you put lemon juice on it, however, it turns pink. No lie. The lady selling it said so, so it MUST be true. If the purple broccoli is still in season when the chef gets back from vacation, I think we’re gonna use it for a soup.

The final haul (official photo).

The final haul (official photo).

WEEK TWO!

Taste testing the smoked fish.

Taste testing the smoked fish.

Including a second week is a great way to show you the amazing variety you can find at our farmer’s market, and also the variety of what we’ll buy there. The next weekend we went through, we had seen a recipe for a salad that involved smoked albacore – and lo & behold, we found some. As you can see, this place sells smoked fish as well as canned.

Tastes like...

Tastes like...

As you can see, the sign indicates that their fish tastes like happy. Who could say no to that content little shark guy?!

The Chicken of the Pacific Northwest?

The Chicken of the Pacific Northwest?

A few stands down… are you asking yourself, what the…?! That, my friends, is a geoduck, pronounced GOOEY duck, the largest burrowing clam in the WORLD, sometimes known as the king clam. The geoduck is the mascot of Evergreen State College in Oregon. China, Korea, and Japan highly favor eating this thing. Some of us do, too – but I don’t think the chef and I will be trying it anytime soon. These are not often at the farmer’s market, and when there is one, it definitely causes a ruckus!

Line up the squash!

Line up the squash!

Winter is obviously squash season, so we’re seeing a LOT more of these guys. But this is also to allow you to fully appreciate just how fantastic the displays are at the farmer’s market. Not only does everything look delicious, but sometimes it looks like it’s having a party. Hey squashes, can I come too?!

Cash or carrots accepted here!

Cash or carrots accepted here!

I have no idea whether or not the carrots were actually offered as a form of payment/appreciation for the performance of these buskers, however, I LOVED the fact that they were there at all. This photo was taken by the chef, because by that time I had an armful of beautiful Cinderella pumpkin that I was hauling around. (But I did ask him to take it.)

Rat City Roller Girls promote eating locally this Thanksgiving!

Rat City Rollergirls promote eating locally this Thanksgiving!

File this one under “You Never Know What You’re Going to Find at the Farmer’s Market” – two dozen or so Rat City Rollergirls showed up that Sunday to help promote eating locally for Thanksgiving. Teaming up with a handful of folks dressed as carrots, RCRG was asking folks to sign a pledge that they would eat at least one thing for their Thanksgiving meal that was locally raised/grown. Camera crews were everywhere as the girls (yes, on stakes) made their way through the market, chanting. The chef and I, being pretty massive fans, were TOTALLY STOKED.

The Haul in its Natural Habitat

The Haul in its Natural Habitat

In the end, we had some time to kill before a friend met us at the market, so we decided to take the weekly photograph of the haul, this time in its natural habitat – the farmer’s market! It probably seemed strange to passers-by that we were photographing our food on the street… but that was pretty unimportant to us. I arranged the haul, but the chef got the idea to photograph it from far enough away that we could catch the market in the background as well.

This week, we had so much food that we didn’t need to buy ANYTHING to feed ourselves the rest of the week. I used this chance to spend the cash on a Raw Corn CD. Woohoo!

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3 responses

25 10 2009
Jennie

I was totally singing “People are Strange” by the Doors back at the Raw Corn guys last time I was there. They are a pretty neat band!

26 10 2009
CN Heidelberg

Those pretzels look delicious but not German….I want to try one!!

You should send (Skype?) me a mix of Seattley goodness!

26 10 2009
deceivery

that’s pretty much exactly what ck said when we got them…. delicious, but not german.

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