Saturday, August 30, 2014

Farmers' Market Supper

I have written before about how frustrating it is shopping for groceries in the the city where I live, but I don't think I have written about the farmers' market. We have an excellent farmers' market here, every Saturday morning from May through to October. Many of the best vegetables can be obtained from farmers from the various Hutterite colonies who market their wares at the farmers' market. There are also places to buy organic meats and vegetables, homemade baking and jam, local honey, free run eggs, and locally made cheese. Of course there are lots of crafts as well. 

This morning, I zipped around to all of my favourite merchants and filled my basket with all kinds of lovely vegetables, peaches and plums from British Columbia, and multigrain bread and walnut stollen from the Hungarian bakery stall. This evening, the supper that I cooked was almost entirely from the farmers' market purchases. 

I made pork chops with a sauce of sundried tomatoes, old fashioned brown seedy mustard, onions, and rosemary from my garden. The pork chops were from a local organic pork producer, and the mustard was made locally too. We had corn on the cob from a local farm (spectacular! So juicy and sweet) and tender young green beans from one of the Hutterite farms. I made a tomato salad with red, orange, and yellow cocktail tomatoes from the local organic vegetable farm, seasoned with garlic, chives (from my garden), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and topped off with locally made cheese curds. We also had the Hungarian multigrain bread. Yum! It was simple fare, but because it was fresh and local, it all tasted fantastic.

This brings me to my garden. I am happy to report that my new little backyard plot is doing well. The raspberries seem to have thrived, even though they have been somewhat overshadowed by the giant marigolds that I planted to add some colour this first year while everything was getting established. Similarly, the strawberry plant are large and healthy, and the rhubarb plant is huge! I had not intended to harvest any rhubarb the first year, but in fact it has grown so well that we've recently had a rhubarb crisp and a rhubarb upside-down cake. 

For the most part, the vegetable garden is not such a success story, however. All of the herbs, except the basil have thrived, and the oregano blossoms seem to be a favourite of the bees. The tomatoes are tall and healthy. We ate the first two tomatoes last week, but most of the tomatoes are still quite small and green. Some of the Japanese eggplants are now large enough to eat, and I think the carrots will be okay. But nothing else grew well. The Swiss chard and beet greens have been destroyed by leaf miners, and the beets have not formed proper roots. The peas were very spindly and scarcely produced, and while the vines of the scarlet runner beans are tall with many flowers, no beans have formed. The jalapeƱo and habanero pepper plants are very small and haven't fruited. The broccoli, spinach and lettuce did not grow at all. 

Here is the garden as it looked this morning. The vegetable garden is in the foreground and the fruit garden is behind. It looks great but hasn't produced much. Thank goodness for the farmers' market!

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