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JFX Farmer's Market 2009

After months of sleeping in on Sunday, Courtney and I arose at 6:15 to make it to opening day of the JFX Farmer's Market. It was great to see most of the vendors we remember from last year, as well as a few new ones.

Our first stop was, as usual, Zeke's for cups of delicious El Salvadoran coffee, as well as a pound to get us through the week at home. Migue is still operating his donut stand next door.

Egg Man is still in his usual spot, as is Reid's Orchard, Uptown Bakery, Martin's Farms, Neopol Smokery, and hot sauce guy. The Pea Man was there selling asparagus, although he said that peas would be available in about two weeks. In fact, asparagus, lettuce and leeks were about the only fresh veggies on hand. No fruits yet except for some apples at Reid's.

We got some fairly large morels from the mushroom stand. They're going for a pretty decent $15 for an 8 oz. container this week, although their price varies week to week.

We bought from two new vendors this week. There's a guy selling fresh salsa in the front on the Gay Street end. He was handing out samples. We tried a tomato and habanero salsa that was quite good but not really spicy enough for us. But the garlic, black bean and roasted corn salsa is delicious, and we brought some of that home. Highly recommended.

Firefly, an artisan goat cheese vendor from Garret County is right inside the main entrance. They were handing out samples. We tried several, including a delicious blue goat. We brought home some fresh goat for Courtney to use in her mac and cheese with goat, shallots and bacon. Both of these vendors will likely see business from us for the rest of the year.

We also got ribs, bacon and ground pork from Truck Patch Farm.

It's great to have the "real" farmer's market back open. Lots of herbs to plant and hanging plants right now, but it's still early in the season. I imagine strawberries will be showing up in the next couple of weeks.

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  1. SALSA! That is an exciting addition. Thanks for the post!

    8 Replies
    1. re: ronandaim

      We got an 8 oz. container of the black bean and corn salsa; it was either that or the 32 oz. since the 16 oz. containers hadn't come in yet. At the time, Jon warned me that he planned to finish it by the end of the day, and I'd know to get the 32 oz. one next week. I should have listened - we went through it in about 20 minutes, and it was delicious.

      The Muffin Man (Cat's Paw farm) is also back this year, so I got my fix of the world's best gingersnaps. Hoping he'll have black bottoms next week. Even without much in the way of produce yet, the market was well worth the trip.

      1. re: Make Me Dinner

        Yeah, I sucked it down. It's really, really good. I'm already wanting more. We'll definitely go for the 32 oz next time.

        1. re: Make Me Dinner

          Sadly, the salsa guy was sold out of the black bean and corn this week -- he said people were just snapping it up yesterday (forgot to ask him where he was selling it on Saturday). We did get some tomato salsa which tasted a bit spicier than what he had last week.

          Next to him was a farm that I think is new. They were selling strawberries. Pea Man had some strawberries as well.

          1. re: JonParker

            They ran out of the mango habanero salsa pretty quick, too. What's up with all the super thick asparagus?

            1. re: bmorecupcake

              I noticed that too. I haven't bought any. It looks like they had to harvest it with a chainsaw.

              1. re: JonParker

                I bought a bundle that was half thin, half thick. The thin ones are great and I used them raw in a salad. The thick ones, to get them to cook evenly, I had to peel first.

            2. re: JonParker

              We got some of the spicy tomato salsa. I like the heat!
              Clearly, it has got no preservatives in it- does anyone know how long I can expect it to last if well refrigerated?
              I thought most of the strawberries we saw looked pathetic- small and unripe. Where did you see the good ones?

              1. re: maddogg280

                I got some from the new stand next to the salsa guys. I also got some from Pea Man. The ones from the former are pretty decent. I haven't tried the Pea Man ones yet. Mine aren't small or unripe, but it's possible if you got there later they might have been down to poorer specimens.

                I got some of the tomato salsa -- tried a sample and it was definitely hotter than last week. Dammit, I want the black bean though.

        2. The firefly blue goat is wonderful.

          I was there also, looking esp for ramps; did not see any. Does anyone know where ramps can be found in the Bmore area?

          4 Replies
          1. re: tartuffe

            Ramps aren't a Baltimore thing. I don't believe I've ever seem them for sale around here.

            You need to head farther west to get them in Maryland.

            1. re: Hal Laurent

              I saw some at the JFX market last year, but it was really early in the season. Since they weren't there today I'm guessing they won't be showing up this year.

              But hey, they have morels.

              1. re: JonParker

                Ramps were actually available two weeks ago from the woman who sells mushrooms at the Waverly market on Saturdays. Not sure if she still has them or not.

            2. re: tartuffe

              There was an empty display of ramps at Whole Foods two and a half weeks ago... so I assume they're there sometimes. Also looking @ JFX market without luck. Anyone know the most Baltimore-proximal location to find ramps in the wild?

            3. Jon, which entrance do you mean when you say "the main entrance"?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Hal Laurent

                The main parking lot entrance directly across from Sonar on Saratoga street.

              2. Firefly had a wonderful spreadable ginger, almond, honey cheese. It was wonderful on top of the raisin walnut bread from the bakery closest to Reid's.

                1. I noticed the big crowd around Firefly- and now I know why!
                  Perhaps you didn't visit, but we went to Salt River Lobster caddy-corner from Firefly and purchased a huge, lovely salmon. It made a fantastic dinner last night alongside some roasted asparagus. Salt River is promoting a lobster sale on 5/17 at $8.99 per pound, with pre-order required by 5/13. Find more detail: www.saltriverlobster.com
                  I was also glad to see the omlette man had not raised his prices. He has his two granddaughters working the stand this year as well, a fact he was very happy about!
                  Here's to the hope for better weather for next weekend's market!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maddogg280

                    We did not get anything from Salt River this week, but last year we bought from them a few times. The smoked bluefish is great, and I got some good oysters there. If I recall correctly they didn't show up at the market until fairly late last year.

                    That lobster sale sounds like a good deal.

                    1. re: maddogg280

                      Just bought some 2lb Lobsters from him last week. Freshest I've had since I moved from Cape Cod/ ANd the smoke blue is deelish.

                    2. I ran in very quickly around 8:20 AM, just to check with Pea Man. He told me "3 weeks form today" but I end up checking in every time anyway.

                      Then I went to Curry Shack to get my West Indian patties. They weren't even setup at that point.

                      They had the same problem at times last year. I would swing in to get a quick order, and they were not selling yet.

                      I hope they start selling at a regular time this year as it is really frustrating.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Tugboat

                        mushroom lady is awesome. The fritters are one of the best food items sold ANYWHERE in Baltimore. Her Quinoa is delicious and I've tried to make something similar at home. The sandwiches and chili are also good. I love her food.

                      2. This week's market report -- strawberries and asparagus from the people next to salsa guy. Salsa guy had the black bean and roasted corn salsa again.

                        Asparagus is looking better this week. Just about everyone had thinner, less woody stalks than we've seen the past two weeks.

                        We also have two huge soft shells in the fridge that we got from the crab truck next to Salt River Lobster. Can't wait for lunch today.

                        We saw lots of lettuce and herbs. Pea Man says next week for fresh peas!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: JonParker

                          We got both red and bean salsa from salsa guy. Strawberries and asparagus looked MUCH better this week.
                          Took advantage of lobster sale at Salt River and enjoyed fantastic lobster dinner last night. Learned that live lobsters really freak my dog out!
                          What's up with the omlette guy? sign says $6 but was charged $7?

                          1. re: maddogg280

                            Got there at 10 and the black bean corn salsa was out. The lobsters were "backordered", meaning we had to stick around till the end of the day for their next shipment. Glad to see they are selling out. Bought lots of lettuce, spring garlic and herbs. Everything was excellent.

                            The pickled green tomatoes doubled in price this year to $2 for a tomato. And learned the smoked fish sellers purchase their smoked fish and don't smoke it themselves. Will still buy from them, however, because we can't find smoked bluefish anywhere. There's also the hydroponic seller next to the salsa guy. Just found it odd they were sellers at a "farmer's" market, but guess they are just a different type of farmer.

                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                              As to smoked fish, are you talking about Neopol? Because unless something has radically changed, they do all their own smoking.

                              1. re: lawhound

                                Neopol does smoke their own fish, but she's talking about Salt River Lobster, the seafood seller. They sell smoked fish, but it's not their own. I agree that the smoked bluefish is very good though.

                                1. re: JonParker

                                  It's too early in the season to buy produce from the region except for a few select things like asparagus, rhubarb and lettuce. strawberries won't be ready until the beginning of june, then still premature. i'm just counting down the days til local corn and heirloom tomatoes. how was your soft shells? i've never purchased seafood from Saltwater-normally i buy privately through a purveyor friend. however, ive been craving lobster in a very bad way, and from what i can read, everyone is singing their praises. and at those prices, i thought i'd check it out. it's always nice to have plenty of options.

                                  1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                    There are Eastern shore strawberries available -- not as many as there will be in a couple of weeks, but some quite tasty and not premature ones. The soft shells were excellent, but I didn't get those from Salt River, but the crab truck next to them.

                                    The $8.99 price on lobster was a special. I think the regular price is $11.99, if I remember correctly.

                        2. "It's great to have the "real" farmer's market back open. "

                          Can I ask where this is (not from the area)? And what do you mean "real"? I was looking for markets the other day for when we go to DC in December, and ran across some markets that were open through December. I hope they're real. :)

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Morganna

                            It's in Baltimore at Saratoga and Gay streets. I consider it the "real" Baltimore market because it's so much larger with a wider variety of food than the other, smaller markets.

                            1. re: JonParker

                              I will have to check out the crab truck. thanks for the imput! is it crab from the waters around these parts? i used to eat crabs every sunday growing up, so it's sentimental and i refuse to eat imposter:remember the Phillips crab scandal a few years back.? also, i second your market consideration but alos want to add that it's a "real" market because we get our produce locally, and seasonally. some markets which shall not be named recieve things from other states that are not in this vicinity-think California. it shows support for local farmers, local ingredients, and pride in the bounty of the region.

                              1. re: JonParker

                                The real market?

                                People at Waverly make disagree with you....

                                Waverly is smaller, but the quality is just as good. There's less prepared foodstuff, but the produce is always outstanding (and Wavery features most of the produce sellers you find at the downtown market).

                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                  In December is the produce "outstanding"? year round, do farms produce things that come from the ground? what in the Baltimore/Washington/eastern shore can you find locally grown farm fresh in november-early april?

                                  1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                    If you want to pish-posh about the time of year when a wide range of produce isn't available at any farmer's market on the East Coast, fine.

                                    But in season, I have no reason to believe downtown is better than Waverly, unless you are looking for more prepared goods. Waverly has a friendly, tight-knit crowd that comes every Saturday morning, and I have never found produce at downtown that I couldn't find at Waverly. All the big sellers (Reids orchards, the pea man, so forth) are at both markets.

                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                      i agree with you about the farmer'smarket/easy coast thing. it's just that I lived in SanFran for a spell, where the markets there are all about the local seasonal stuff from the farm to the table. yes, it's not fair to compare but it's the philosophy behind the whole operation. And support for the farmers and land.
                                      I was not knocking Waverly in the sense that it is not as "good" as the market under 83. in fact, i go saturdays as well. i just think the point of goint to the farmers market is to buy in season, and in the off-season, what is the point of the outdoor market when there's nothing coming from the ground?

                            2. Peas are here! Courtney and I picked up a lb. of fresh peas this morning to go with the roast chicken we plan to have tomorrow. If you've never bought them from the Pea Man before, you really should. They're absolutely delicious. Well worth the wait in line.

                              Skinny asparagus all over the place. Strawberries popping up all over too... we picked up a couple of pints. Saw the usual lettuce, rhubarb, etc. Got some more soft crabs for today's lunch from crab truck --- these are so good.

                              Got a hunk of Bella Vita from Firefly -- a semi-hard, sharp cheese that's really excellent.

                              Egg man has rabbits today, but we just bought more eggs. Of course, we always get coffee from Zeke's. Got more of that excellent black bean and corn salsa.

                              Things are looking up at the market.

                              1. This week Courtney and I got there early while it was still raining. She had the idea to do spring veggie sandwiches, so we got fresh asparagus, portobellas, mesclun and Cabra Lamancha from Firefly that she plans to drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette and serve on mini baguettes.

                                Peas are still there. Strawberries are everywhere. We got oyster fritters from Mushroom Lady for breakfast. We got more of the incredibly addicting corn and black bean salsa.

                                One thing I was not sure I could post here is that Egg Man (Hen's Nest) has chickens this year, but you have to order them in advance. He's not allowed to advertise them, but ask (I cleared it with him before writing this). Apparently someone else is also selling chickens, but after having tried a lot of chickens from a lot of places, I think his are far and away the best. We roast them with sage, rosemary, thyme and garlic, then use the breasts to make chicken salad. These are plump, delicious birds with a full chicken flavor. I highly recommend them. I find both the eggs and the chickens top notch. He also has rabbit on occasion.

                                We were there later than usual this week, leaving about the time they supposedly open. There's a sausage vendor that we had never seen before setting up right near the corner of Saratoga and Gay. We picked up a package of frozen merguez. It will be interesting to see how that is. I love the merguez from Springfield Farm -- why oh why aren't they at the JFX market?

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: JonParker

                                  Springfield Farm was there today. It seemed they only had lamb products and wool.

                                  1. re: jfish

                                    Courtney and I talked about that. We're pretty sure that it's a different Springfield Farm. The one at the JFX market is in Rock Hall and only does lamb. The one we like is in Sparks and not only does lamb but beef, chicken, duck, goose, and pork. Everything we've had from there is very high quality.

                                  2. re: JonParker

                                    I bought the merguez and had it tonight. Good flavor, not quite as spicy as I would have liked and very mild for lamb. (I grew up on lamb so I'm more inclined to the stronger flavor.) But it went well with crusty bread, tomato salad, and wine.

                                    Some general observations on the market as a newcomer to the area.

                                    * The guy who sells lamb is way overpriced. Ground lamb was double what I could get at farmer's markets elsewhere in the country (seriously, almost $12 a pound or did I read something wrong?) On the other hand, beef prices were pretty good for a farmer's market.

                                    * Only one guy selling eggs (that I saw)? Sounds like a market waiting to be moved in on.

                                    * Didn't see anyone offering veal or duck. Is it there?

                                    * The salsa was okay (but I just moved from Texas). They need a salsa verde.

                                    * The blue cheese was great.

                                    * I would have liked a little more organization, to get the produce people better grouped from the prepared food folks. In other states you have to do it by law. I don't care about the law, but it would have made shopping a little easier.

                                    * You got a pickle guy! I think that's great.

                                    1. re: zebcook

                                      --I guess he'll drop the price if no one buys any.
                                      --The dairy folks have eggs as well. They are on the south side near the diner.
                                      --The meat guys have veal. Saw some on the East and North sides this week.
                                      --Let them know. Who knows, you might see some there next week.
                                      --The cheese folks were great, got the bella vita myself
                                      --Organization? Really? Suck it up and walk around :)

                                    2. re: rudmansjmu

                                      Today marked my first visit of the year to the Fallsway farmers market.
                                      I was disappointed.
                                      There were many more prepared food stands than produce vendors.
                                      And the prices were pretty tough. I was in the market for good asparagus. And I would love to frequent local farmers and stores. But I can't really justify paying two and three times as much as I would for asparagus in a good supermarket. The same for the strawberries. And even the prepared food was pretty pricey.
                                      I am a big mushroom fan, so I went to look for some of the mushroom fitters that people here have raved about. I was unhappy to learn that the only mushroom they "fritter" are oyster mushrooms, which to me lack the taste and flavor of good wild mushrooms and even of portabellos.
                                      And why should I pay $2 for a small bunch of scallions when I can get four bunches for $1 at the Korean market at Route 40 and Rolling Road?
                                      I'll try again next week and hope the results are better,

                                      1. re: lbags

                                        The comparison on strawberries is, pardon my saying so, like weighing apples and oranges. Strawberries in season are a completely different product, i.e. they actually have flavor. I'm glad to pay more.

                                        Even so, you will see prices drop in the next few weeks for strawberries as the full crop comes in.

                                        1. re: lbags

                                          We went yesterday morning for first visit of this year. We arrived just before 8 AM when the rain had just finished so the crowd was small and manageable. By the time we left 45 minutes later.....it was mobbed. Memo to self....be there by 7:30!!
                                          We purchased asparagras, strawberries, bread from baker on south side (very yummy whole wheat, eating some right now), honey butter from creamery folks, black bean/corn salsa, coffee from Zekes, radishes, spring onions, fresh horseradish from hot sauce stand (hottest I have ever tasted & very fresh), and of course peas from Pea Man. I have to agree that prices are pretty high right now but quality was very high indeed. The prices of prepared foods has also risen quite substantially by my observation even though I did not indulge this week except for doughnuts. We garden a bit so I look to the market to fill in the blanks later in Summer but I would like to see prices fall a bit. I also thought the produce stands on the north side seemed to have better looking product at the same price. And even though it is good to see softshells this early, $5 per is just a little too much for smaller specimens.....but I have been craving so we shall see.

                                          1. re: jck

                                            Sounds like a great trip, and much like ours. I wasn't aware of the fresh horseradish. We'll definitely check that out.

                                            I'm with lawhound. It's not about the lowest price, it's about the highest quality. Until I started buying my strawberries at the market last year, I had forgotten what real ones tasted like. That's true of so much of what I get there.

                                            1. re: JonParker

                                              Last year was the first time we bought lettuce from a farmer's market. It was like tasting lettuce for the first time.

                                        2. re: JonParker

                                          Based on recommendations I bought some of the terrific black bean salsa and served it on top of a bbq chicken, corn and arugula salad for dinner.
                                          Where is the cheese lady from last year? I am missing my fresh mozzarella.
                                          And while I love Ethel and Ramones restaurant (you must try the oyster po boy), their andouille egg sandwich was missing something. Some type of salty cheese perhaps?

                                        3. New this week: baby squash and zucchini blossoms. Peas still available. The berry people next to salsa guy had cherries, raspberries and blueberries in addition to strawberries.

                                          We thought the merguez from last week was quite good.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: JonParker

                                            also:try to fresh ginger-a welcome edition to a summer cocktail, or if you want to make your own sashimi/sushi...

                                          2. Some of the romaine lettuce has "ridged" leaves like the romaine I am used to from supermarkets, while other romaine has much smoother leaves. One vendor was telling me that the ridged leaf romaine is sort of fake, or something like that. Can anyone shed some light? Thanks.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: bmorecupcake

                                              the ribbed romaine lettuce is older, and tho all romaine has a ribbed core, the older the lettuce, the less delicate the leaves.
                                              i love the lettuce at the market! and i agree with jonparker: strawberries from the market are worth the price. without pesticide and FOF.

                                              I dodn't like the merguez..lack of harissa.

                                              1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                                the heads of butter lettuce from the stand behind the pea people is wonderful, cannot rec'mend it too highly. And I love the crepe guy, esp the one with bananas and nutella.

                                                1. re: tartuffe

                                                  I have such a low batting average when it comes to farmers market lettuce -- especially romaine. I hate it when the stems leak bitter milk that no amount of washing and spinning can get rid of. And that has happened to nearly every head I've bought this year, every single head I got in our One Straw Farm CSA baskets last year ... is this just me??

                                            2. Excellent brocolli, raspberries, and cherries today. Peas guy's tomatoes were pretty good, too. Salsa guy went nuts and made a hundred black bean salsas, and he decided to do that the one day we actually got up and went at 7. Go figure. One of my favorite vendors -- two stands to the right of the ice cream/cheddar folks, across from Martin Farms -- wasn't there today when we were there. Their purple asparagus usually goes before opening and we were looking forward to finally getting some this year. Any news?

                                              I am curious to know how long some of you boil the peas from the peas guy? Last week, we were late and bought peas from elsewhere and I felt like I had to boil those peas forever to get them tender.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                I forgot to post my update this morning, but you covered it quite nicely. I used some of the black bean salsa in Hen's Nest egg omelets this morning -- they were fantastic with some Truck Patch bacon. A complete market breakfast.

                                                Asparagus is on the way out for sure -- very little left this week. I haven't seen any purple asparagus this year at all -- very disappointing. It hasn't been a great strawberry year, and a couple of vendors said this was the last week for them.

                                                I boil the peas for three minutes, drain, then add a pat of butter and cover them for four or five minutes off the heat. Grate a bit of parmesan-reggiano on top, stir and serve.

                                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                  Turn the oven to 400

                                                  Let it heat up for 10 minutes.

                                                  Put the peas on a platter.

                                                  Walk slowly through the kitchen with the platter in your hands.

                                                  Serve and eat.

                                                  1. re: Tugboat

                                                    I boiled them for maybe 30 seconds, then tossed with a little butter and salt. Perfect.

                                                2. Asparagus and strawberries are almost gone -- chances are there won't be much of either next week. We got sour cherries from one of the vendors and Truck Patch pork chops to make pork chops with sour cherry sauce. More salsa -- the salsa guy told us that every week we've been his first customer of the day.

                                                  Our other buys included basil from Martin Farms to make pesto, coffee from Zeke's, and buche noire from Firefly, a goat cheese coated in vegetable ash.

                                                  Note that next week is the last week for peas from Pea Man. Best to stock up now.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                    Out of town this weekend and been waiting for an update. :)

                                                    How long do his peas keep in the freezer?

                                                    1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                      Early crowd was lite this week at 7:30 AM......got great strawberries since they may be gone soon.....yep, pea man said next week is last batch....go early. Summer squash is now out in full bloom and I only saw a couple of vendors that still had asparagas. Also purchased this week: radishes, spring onions, Zeke's coffee, blackberries, assorted plants for wife's boxes, fresh OJ for bride, multi-grain bread. This week marked a major victory for me.....I was able to go to market without buying/eating the mini donuts!!!

                                                      1. re: jck

                                                        donuts are addictive. breakfast radishes, blackberries..lovely. we purchased as well. so sad about the strawberries..

                                                        1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                                          Is there anything "special" to do with the fresh radishes? I just use them in salad and am never able to finish them.

                                                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                            Few suggestions for radishes.....soak them in water to soften a bit and we serve them raw on pre-dinner veggie snack tray. Also, my wife adds them to potato salad, egg salad, etc. It gives dishes that certain "crunch factor" that I personally love. We also bought "Hot & Spicy" pickle slices from vendor next to OJ man....really good and so hot I needed to eat with cheese to cut them a bit. My wife added some to her tuna salad today. I love Sunday mornings at market!!!

                                                  2. I missed out this Sunday and feel as though I am going through withdrawal. Anything to report? Did I miss the last week of strawberries? Still too early for stone fruit? What about local tomatoes, are they picking up steam?

                                                    Can anyone comment on Migue's? I feel like they have not quite up to par this year or maybe it's just me and the novelty of them has worn off.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: gregb

                                                      Tomatoes are showing up, although they may be hothouse. There might be a couple of strawberries around next week, but they're definitely almost if not entirely gone. I've seen a couple of peaches around, but they don't look too great yet --- freestones won't show up until the end of July. Lots of cherries, blackberries and blueberries.

                                                      Migue's was fine the two weeks we got some.

                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                        I got some tomatoes and they are just okay....I got better ones last week coming home from the Jersey Shore.

                                                        I got some great blackberries and mini squash/zucchini....and of course the fresh peas.

                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                          I know how you feel gregb, missed it last week and just couldn't shake that feeling. :)

                                                          We got excellent nectarines and apricots. Got a few peaches just to try 'em out and those were actually okay. Purchased some wonderfully acidic yellow cherry tomatoes. Also lots of green and yellow string beans this week. First batches of corn, bought a couple ears of a hybrid variety. Can't wait for the real good corn. Garlic scapes were very good, too. Oh, and new potatoes are bigger than usual because we got so much rain, but still very delicious. And there were some varieties of squash (e.g., patty pan) and cabbage. I'm sure I'm missing a lot because I just finished washing everything this morning, just can't remember right now.

                                                        2. re: gregb

                                                          The main thing you missed out on was Zeke's switching places with the kettle corn people - be forewarned, if you show up at the market in as caffeine-deprived a state as I do.

                                                          We were finally able to do a bread salad with this week's haul; baguette from Uptown, fresh mozzarella from Neopol, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil from assorted other vendors. It seems like a lot of them have tomatoes now - guessing they're not all hothouse, but I could be wrong.

                                                          Got what looked to be the last good rhubarb and strawberries this week. Blueberries and cherries are looking nice at Agriberry and Reid's. The corn looked fine, but Jon is holding out for bi-color. We stocked up on peas and froze them in vacuum bags; they seem to keep for a while that way. Between those and the pesto, we're running out of freezer space - time to do something with last year's okra and crowder peas!

                                                          1. re: Make Me Dinner

                                                            They had bi-color corn last Sunday. I didn't get any though.

                                                            The corn I picked up from Giant last night was actually pretty damn sweet.

                                                            1. re: Make Me Dinner

                                                              Too funny, Make Me Dinner. Because first thing I just drag myself to the longest line, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned the corner and the line was quite shorter than I expected.

                                                              Sorry, I meant i picked bi-color corn above, not hybrid (or are the two almost synonymous??) It was quite good for this time of year.

                                                              1. re: Make Me Dinner

                                                                That's interesting. I guess the thought is that Zeke's line can wrap around the corner and not affect the market's "flow" as much.

                                                                Is there a difference between bi-colored and hybrid corn? (Insert government subsidized, Obama joke here!)

                                                                Do you toast up your baguette and make a panzanella salad, or is this a different type of bread salad? It sounds fantastic! When the good local corn comes in, try cutting some raw kernels off the cob and tossing them about… holy smokes that sounds good!

                                                                1. re: gregb

                                                                  Yep, it's a panzanella. I went ahead and wrote up the recipe so I remember it - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632831

                                                                  I do love a corn salad - can't wait for the bi-color and the heirloom tomatoes!

                                                                  1. re: Make Me Dinner

                                                                    Heirlooms! my stomach is waiting, patiently.

                                                            2. Can anyone give me a rundown of what they were selling at the farmer's market last week? I want to know if it's worth the trip or if it's really too early.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: mgarland

                                                                Blueberries, blackberries and cherries abound. Lots of local tomatoes are showing up, and I saw the first heirlooms of the season. Strawberries are pretty much gone for the year. Plenty of squash there too. A few peaches, although the really good ones don't come until the end of July usually. Corn was there, and they're supposed to have bicolor (my favorite) next week.

                                                                It's never too early -- there's always something tasty for sale. Much of the fun is seeing new things replace the old as the season progresses. Of course, it's not much of a trip for me.

                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                  thx for the update! my main issue is that I don't need the stuff that I am already growing, so I don't want to drive all the way to the city if there is only stuff I already have. good to know there is a lot of fruit, though!

                                                              2. Picked up two types of sweet cherry tomatoes today. One was labeled "Sugar" and the other had the word "gold" in its name. Both are apparently the same, just different colors. Salsa guy didn't even make black bean salsa this time because last week he didn't sell enough (!!??). Excellent peaches from the berry folks (close to the salsa guy). Also picked up some sweet plums, can't remember from where. One of the crab vendors (next to the egg stand and pickle stand) either wasn't there by 8:30 or had already left. Or maybe I'm imagining a crab vendor there? Memory is failing me in my old age.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                  We slept in this week and didn't go for the first time this year. I feel better knowing that the black bean salsa wasn't there -- hopefully he'll make it next week. I'll try to get some peaches next week.

                                                                  There is usually a crab vendor there by Egg Man.

                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                    One thing that people fail to realize is that you don't have to be the first ones there to still get good food. We usually go at 9:30 and there's plenty still around. This still gives us a chance to sleep in. JonParker...sometimes you were back and already posted your report by the time we got up and went. To everybody out there--it's okay to go later.

                                                                    1. re: cpsbmore

                                                                      It's okay to go later if you can handle the crowds. Some people seem to do just fine with it, but as an introvert I find it very stressful.

                                                                      I'm also not a morning person, and haven't made it to the JFX market yet this season. The Saturday market at Harbor East doesn't have anywhere even close to the same amount of stuff, but I can go there at 10:00 am or later without endangering my mental health.

                                                                  2. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                    The crab vendor was there at 7:30 but already sold out of males and working on the last of the females. I got two dozen females that were wonderful at $16 dozen. Usually I won't buy females because we should keep those breeders on the water,

                                                                  3. LOTS of great stuff there this morning. Squash, all sorts of berries, peaches, and really lovely heirloom tomatoes. I got Cherokee Purple and Brandywine -- maybe it's just me, but they seem even better than last year, although they're more expensive too -- going price seems to be $4 lb. rather than the $3.50 we were paying. We just ate bacon and tomato sandwiches (with bacon from Truck Patch). Incredibly delicious.

                                                                    We also found some lovely blackberries. Heard a sad story from salsa guy -- his brother doesn't plan to make the black bean and corn salsa again until September. He's trying to change his mind. I hope he does -- I'm absolutely addicted to that stuff. I did get some garden salsa though.

                                                                    Egg Man has chickens this week -- those are absolutely the best we've had, and we've bought them all over.

                                                                    It's the height of the growing season -- if you're not making it there you're really missing out.

                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                      Salsa guy told us the same story. Sad indeed. The peas guy was selling excellent 'lopes today. Blackberries at Agriberry were very juicy. Went lovely with some fresh cream. Finally broke down and got some of the humongous sunflowers everyone is carrying around. Be warned, every other person will make some smart remark like "are you sure those are big enough" or ask you where you got them. We got some small cherry tomatoes called "Sweet One Hundreds", a little too sweet for me but everyone else loves them. The catnip/honey folks were selling wine berries. First time for me, and not sure how to use them. We never tried the olives from the pickle guy before, but were definitely impressed enough to buy a quart.

                                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                                        Picked up more steaks and ground beef from Hickory Chance Farm. They threw in a free ground beef last time and it was fantastic. And the NY strips are worth every penny.

                                                                        I also finally tried some smoked salmon--the cracked pepper variety--and it's very good. Also grabbed chevre from Firefly, savoy cabbage, sweet corn, onions, peppers, and a ton of free samples :)

                                                                        I heart the JFX market.

                                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                                          i think, jp, you should begin a longer thread...

                                                                          1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                                                            Got a good haul today: heirloom tomatoes; peaches and nectarines from Reid's; black bottom muffins and oatmeal raisin cookies from Cat's Paw; smoked bluefish from Salt River; half sours from the pickle guys; Zekes; corn and zucchini from a big stand on the south (?) side (I was looking for Midde River but didn't see their name on a truck); lima beans from the pea ladies. The Hen's Nest man told me he'd have some "two people" chickens dressed and ready to go next week. The salsa guy told me he was waiting for football season to bring back the black bean salsa.

                                                                            I got there at 7:00 and by 8:00 it was very crowded! The ladies behind me at the pea stand speculated people were there early to avoid the heat later today.

                                                                            1. re: amyatkendall

                                                                              That sounds pretty close to what we got. salsa guy promised the black bean for next week. We did get a frozen chicken from Hen's Nest. Got some nice poblanos from the pepper people. This is peak time at the market for sure.

                                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                                In your opinion, where's the best place for tomatoes and corn?

                                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                                  Roasted one of their Hen's Nest chickens last week and found it a bit of a letdown. Please let me know what you think of it.

                                                                                  1. re: baltoellen

                                                                                    We've tried chickens from a number of different places, and Hen's Nest has consistently been the best of all of them -- even Springfield Farms, who I'd usually rate tops for any kind of meat.

                                                                                    How did you find it a letdown?

                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                      First, let me say that about two years ago, I bought a turkey from Hen's Nest, and it was absolutely the most amazing Thanksgiving bird I've ever eaten. I had high hopes for the chicken from them, but I thought it was mildly better from a commercial chicken, but not anywhere close to the chicken I've had from Springfield Farms.

                                                                                      Of course, I may be culpable, too. Since the chicken was frozen and I wanted to eat it that night, I defrosted it in the microwave and maybe my roasting of it wasn't perfect. Or, maybe I just happened to buy a not so great bird.

                                                                                      If given the chance, I'd gladly give them another shot.

                                                                                      Oh, and btw, I haven't read this entire thread, but last week I also bought ground bison meat from the bison meat people--also frozen but defrosted in the fridge, and I thought it amazing. But, then again, not lots of bison meat, besides the frozen TJ's patties I buy, to compare it to.

                                                                          2. Is the salsa man gone or was he just not around tis week? It's been a couple weeks since I havebeen able to make it out on Sunday morning and was disappointed to not see him. Anyone know anything?

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: gregb

                                                                              He's gone. I'm not sure what happened. I asked the woman at Agriberry, the stand next to wwhere he was if she knew anything, but she didn't.

                                                                              I do miss him. that was damned good salsa.

                                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                                That stinks JP... I was never able to get the black bean and corn salsa either!

                                                                                I'm hoping someone reads this as an opportunity to fill some empty shoes with salsa! As much turnover as I have seen at JFX (salsa guy, candy apple guy, olive oil guy, lamb sausage/blanket guy, DD pies guy, other sausage guy next to lamb sausage guy), I'm thinking it might not be as hard to get a stand there as previously reported!

                                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                                  First few weeks of the season, he was always sold out of black bean corn salsa. Eventually, sales of the black bean corn salsa slowed so much he stopped making it. Speaking to him a couple times before he left, it seems like demand of the "primary" salsa (garden was it?) slowly dwindled, too, and lately he wasn't even close to selling out.

                                                                              2. Any more reports this year? I haven't been for a couple of months, but understand the market is open until late December...

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: amyatkendall

                                                                                  Still going strong. Lots of winter veggies -- cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts. I think the last Sunday is the one before Christmas.

                                                                                  Fresh beans are gone for the year, sadly.

                                                                                  1. re: amyatkendall

                                                                                    I just tried the mushroom fritters for the first time a few weeks ago - truly out of this world with the feta & hot sauce.

                                                                                    Are there other prepared items (not listed above) folks recommend trying before the market closes in December? That lamb sausage is also divine...

                                                                                    1. re: charmgirl

                                                                                      Diagonally across from Dangerously Delicious Pies, where Agriberry used to be, Cafe Hon is selling bread pudding. We didn't get any because they were out of sauce. (And wanted to still sell us the bread pudding at full price and then purchase the sauce at the supermarket ourselves!) However, next to them is an Argentinian stand with very good oatmeal-raisin-white chocolate chip cookies. I asked and was told that these were indeed Argentinian treats.

                                                                                      Behind Cafe Hon is a stand selling rice krispie treats made from homemade marshmallows. Have not yet purchased from them.

                                                                                  2. Just a reminder that next Sunday is the last market of the year. Pea man has packed it in for the year, the tomatoes are long gone, and there's mostly root veggies available at this point.

                                                                                    But you can still get wonderful eggs and chickens from The Hen's Nest, oysters and other seafood (try the smoked bluefish) from Salt River Lobster, bacon and ribs from Truck Patch Farms, and apples and pears from Redi's Orchard. Of course Zeke's coffee is the only kind we drink around here.

                                                                                    Here's wishing them all a very nice winter, and looking forward to another season next year.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                      Sadly, according to Elizabeth Large's blog the last 2009 market has been cancelled. I had hoped to stock up on stuff this week, but it's not to be.

                                                                                      May can't come fast enough.

                                                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                                                        Yay, first JFX Farmer's Market of 2010 is next week!