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Apr 28, 2008 06:43 AM

Pepper Place Birmingham

The market starts back up this Saturday, May 3 at 7.

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  1. While I've been impressed with this in years past, last year was a bit disappointing. Something just seemed off about it. With the price of gas nowadays, I just can't warrant a 50 mile round trip excursion for it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sheilal

      Sheila, a 50-mile trip is quite an excursion. Fortunately, I am close. Hopefully you have another market or farmer's stand close to you. We all need to eat and buy as local as possible.

      1. re: eatyourveggies1

        You'd think living so far out of the city center that there would be several farmers market options, but I don't know of any. I'm not exactly in the country (Clay/Argo area), but not by much. Anyone know of any farmer's markets within a 5 mile radius? I'm not looking for a Pepper Place equivalent, just a place to buy locally grown goods.

    2. We're all counting the days in my household. I've been every year, and practically every week at that. My only wish -- and I'm sure health regulations play into it -- is we also could buy locally produced meats there.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Big Daddy

        Big Daddy, it's funny you mention that. My husband and I were just discussing the lack of local meats at the market. I hate having to make a second stop on Saturdays at the butcher or fishmonger. It would be nice to really have one-stop shopping. I always enjoy seeing the nice selection of meats and seafood at markets like NYC Greenmarket Union Square and Ferry Plaza in San Francisco. Maybe one day our Pepper Place will be complete. I'd also like to see the crafty booths gone. That would give us plenty of space for meats and additional produce.

        1. re: eatyourveggies1

          Right on! I'm OK with the food-product vendors -- ice cream, relishes, etc. But there are plenty of places to find pottery, etc. around here.
          Bring me someone making carnitas on the spot, Fudge Farms selling their pigs, Teddy Gentry and his grass-fed beef.
          And please, oh please, let Wright's Dairy set up so I don't have to drive all the way down U.S. 280 to get my family the best milk they've ever put to their lips (and some very tasty free-range eggs).

          1. re: Big Daddy

            I was dreaming of some Wright's Dairy ice cream the other day, but I just can't justify the drive and traffic. What a perfect match for PP, too.

            Maybe we'll have some surprises waiting for us Saturday morning.

            1. re: eatyourveggies1

              Let's hope. First stop: Snow's Bend Farm

              1. re: Big Daddy

                If they have them, get their strawberries! They are perfect right now.

            2. re: Big Daddy

              Please tell me more about this Fudge Farms and their magical animals.

              1. re: Dax

                Don't know where the farm is; they don't have an Internet presence. But their products are all over town. Several of the restaurants (Hot and Hot, for example) and markets like V Richard's are selling their products. They do a cross between Berkshire and Duroc pork. Very tasty. I've cooked the pork belly and it's delicious -- more meaty than the Niman's belly, and tastier than the pork belly I've bought at Super Oriental Market. Last time I talked to Tria's butcher, they were buying a Duroc/Berkshire cross, but I didn't know at the time to ask if it was Fudge Farms.

                1. re: Big Daddy

                  I don't believe Fudge Farms is around here, but I could be very wrong. I saw some on the Highland's menu a couple of times recently and at V Richard's the other day. Haven't tried it yet, but I do love Duroc, so I look forward to it.

              2. re: Big Daddy

                Not sure where you live or if you feel the same way about them (I hate shopping there now), but V Richards used to carry Wright's milk and ice cream.

              3. re: eatyourveggies1

                Oh please don't bring up Ferry Plaza Market. I was in heaven last summer there. I must have taken 50 pictures of all the great stuff they have for sale there. Why oh why don't we do the same thing here? Anybody know?

                1. re: KateMW

                  KateMW, While it's so nice to dream of other wonderful markets and how nice they would be to have here, we are very lucky to have what we do. Pepper Place continues to grow each year and get better. Just think of the wonderful locally grown produce that's now at our fingertips. We've come a long way in the past 10 years, and even the past 5 years. When I bring visitors to the market, even those from big cities with great green markets, they are impressed with what we have. All we can do is keep supporting the market, get those around us to do the same, and see how it grows in the next five years.

            3. Any great finds? I was out of town and will be again this weekend so it will be a few weeks before I can visit.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Dax

                Storms kept me away. I don't mind going in the rain, but I figured all the vendors wouldn't be there with the thunder and lightning we had. Did anyone else make it? Vendors there? I will be there this weekend for sure and will report back next week.

                I randomly stopped by Andy's Market on Rocky Ridge yesterday and found some pretty tasty strawberries. I decided I couldn't wait until the Saturday market, and I haven't been happy with the ones I've bought at Whole Foods.

                Anyone else finding good produce around town?

                1. re: eatyourveggies1

                  It is my understanding that it was rained out.

                  1. re: pinotboy

                    I also heard it was a rainout, but that was word of mouth. Nothing on the breaking news. And the pepper place market web site hasn't been updated for this year yet, so no info on that. Looking forward to Saturday.

                    1. re: Big Daddy

                      It was nice to get back to the market. Quiet morning. I even saw a few of the vendors and their children sleeping in their chairs. That won't happen for long. It's obviously still very early in the season, but Snow's Bend had great arugula, fava beans, radishes, etc. I also found some good baby squash for grilling, baby sweet potatoes (not Ruby Reds, though), spring onions, small greenhouse tomatoes (actually have a very good flavor), and some tasty strawberries. It was good to see my farmer friends, and the market will continue to get better and better every week.

                      1. re: eatyourveggies1

                        Snow's Bend also had some great "choy" Chinese cabbage, not bok choy but something similar. Was tempted by those favas -- how were they? The folks with the hothouse tomatoes are my favorite tomato vendors. They grow a variety of standard and heirlooms and pick em ripe and tasty. The ones they were selling Saturday were surprisingly tasty.
                        Tonight, we'll be having some baby squash and spinach from the market (Henke Farms grows the spinach. I ate a bunch last May, but they'll be gone by the end of the month when the heat rises).
                        I was a bit put off by the prices on the strawberries, but they were good.
                        I just with my wife liked greens (and she's a vegetarian; go figure) because there were lots of good looking greens there this week.

                        1. re: Big Daddy

                          The guy from Jones Valley (the urban farm) said that the coverd beds they have this year should allow them to grow salad greens and spinach a little later into the year this year.

                          And those small green house tomatoes were fantastic!

                          1. re: birminghamvisitor

                            I saw a huge difference in the market last weekend. There seemed to be a lot more produce—and people. Besides more arugula from Snow's Bend and tomatoes and strawberries, I picked up some peas (English and sugar snaps), broccoli (purple and green), and baby carrots. I can't wait for the blackberries and blueberries to arrive.

                            1. re: eatyourveggies1

                              We'll be having our Snow's Bend sugar snaps this evening. I wish my wife liked English peas, because I would have snatched up those, too. We're also grooving on some great spinach and lettuce from Henke's.
                              Where did you find the broccoli?

                              1. re: Big Daddy

                                Broccoli was around the corner from Snow's Bend (kinda across from McEwen and Sons. Can't remember the farm. I also saw one person with cauliflower.

                                I think even non-English pea lovers would like the ones i got. They were so fresh. I like to shell myself because I feel like they are fresher, but I did see someone selling them already shelled in Zip-locs. There's such a difference in fresh English peas with a little bite and those canned, mushy things that haunt you from your childhood. I did a twist of a pan-roasted chicken dish of Frank Stitt's last night with the peas and baby carrots and a herb-lemon-butter pan sauce. It was great.

                                Tonight I am thinking about using the broccoli on grilled veggie pizzas.

                                1. re: eatyourveggies1

                                  Wish freshness would make a diff for my wife. I made the sugar snaps last night, just steamed lightly with a little butter and her favorite herb, dill. They were great! She left half of them on her plate. When I asked why she said: What's in them; Peas.
                                  She and the kids both love broccoli, so I look forward to getting some this Saturday.