Farmers' Mkts, CSAs & Farm stands- August
Watermelons and cantaloupe are here. The big month of bounty is here. I filled my cart today at Copley. A tiny woman in front of me at the Atlas stand bought a 16 lb watermelon!
This year, I decided that I would not miss out on heavy items because I couldn't carry everything home and splurged on a Rolser cart from Charles Street supply on Beacon Hill. LOVE IT!
Now watermelon and potatoes and squash can come home in the same trip as corn and potatoes. Even if I have to pick up a few other things while I'm out. Those of us who walk to the markets are always making choices based on what we can carry.
Today I bought ground lamb and corn from Stillmans; blueberries from Hamilton, tomatoes, basil, fingerling potatoes, and a melon from Atlas; mixed greens and Tuscan kale from Siena, Nectarines from Keown, and a baguette from Iggy's.
As usual, here's are links to find farm fresh food near you.
Last year someone (here I think) was looking for fresh okra. Yesterday Stillman's had some at Copley and Aidan said he would have it on and off all season. They are so pretty, I want to find a way to cook them that I will love.
I've also been seeing more okra on menus in the area. Anyone taste a really good version out there?
Photo and more here:
Hmmm... well, I generally don't like kkra but was recently at my parents' and my mom made a recipe that was actually pretty good. It was a sweet potato and okra salad. Not sure exactly what the recipe was but did a google search and this one seems pretty close http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ro...
I love okra. Remember - either cook it very briefly (sliced thin) or for a long time.
One easy recipe is to stew it with tomatoes and onions. A born-and-bred southerner friend of mine loves it fried (breaded with cornmeal). Don't be afraid to wing either of these without a recipe. They are simple home cooking.
If you like Cajun cooking, okra shows up in gumbos. (I'd wait for the first cool breezes of September before I heated my kitchen with a long-simmered dish like this.)
Just about any Indian cookbook will have recipes that use okra (bhindi). Some are simple, others are pretty complex. One that I have tried involves stuffing each okra with a spice mixture and then braising them. Soooo good.
I have been computerless for the past month so pardon me if I rehash anything. At the end of July I went to the Lexington FM - broader selection than Bedford's. A pound or so of frozen lamb sausage and another of frozen grass-fed beef patties from - if memory serves, Chestnut Farm (?) My first time trying grass-fed meat. I didn't find it measurably better than regular meat at Roche Brothers. But if and when I can afford it, I'll get it on principle...at least the animals get a somewhat more normal life. Yesterday, I went to the Lowell FM for the first time. It runs from 3-7 p.m. - I got there about 5:45, along with the start of a thunderstorm, so the 6 or so vendors were busy breaking down early, and much of their produce was already in their trucks. I saw from the signs that there are some unusual Asian veggies so I will go again. As it was, the ears of corn I got were small but delicious. A nice crunchy head of romaine, a pale green-skinned cucumber variety new to me, lovely leeks, robust-sized shallots, and a bounty of garlic scapes. I've not had scapes before, and intended to get one bunch, but when I got home discovered I had 3. Not sure what I was charged. Time to make pesto, I guess, to use them up, and I will try chopping/freezing half the raw ones.
I am looking for Maxixe a brazilian vegetable/fruit which is grown locally and available in supermarkets, as well as some farmer's market (but last year not the Arlington and Union Sq mkts). It is a bit smaller than a pickling cuke and has spikes all over. Its probably another couple of weeks out, but if any hounds see it please let me know. The Chelsea MB will probably carry it, as well as the Ashland MB and Seabro markets to the south. But unfortunately the Chelsea crop from last year wasn't half as good as home grow or what I got it Seabro a few years ago. Since we didn't plant it this year, I need another alternative.
There are various ways to eat it, included as a salad vegetable. I like it with pork ribs, but was hoping to try an unusual feijoada from the North of Brazil which uses it too. The other locally grown Brazilian vegetables include Taioba (a leaf, which is often stewed) and Jilo a bitter fruit which is also cooked with ribs, but served many ways (this has been offered for more time).
I just posted to the New England Board about my second visit ot the Lowell Farmer's market. It is small but has unusual ethnic vegetables in addition to the usual suspects. A good place for expanding your horizons and repertoire.