Farmers' Markets, CSAs, etc week of 6/15/09
These topics are still busy and the markets scene is changing each week so I'll start a new one again.
I have two tidbits.
The very wonderful Brookline Market opens this Thursday. I've had my first email from the fish lady. If you stop by her booth, she'll add you to her email list and you can preorder your fish.
My husband and I went to the Roslindale Market Saturday and loved it. It's like visiting a small town market with lots of different things going on. This week they had four farms plus a bunch of other vendors. They even have a bakery, Baked Orchard, from Brookline that has some vegan and gluten-free items.
We love all the food options in Roslindale Village. It is a great way to spend a Saturday. You do have to start early the market closes at 1pm. But then you can go have lunch and continue shopping in the area.
I wrote about it today:
The Harvard University Farmers Market opens for the season tomorrow (Tuesday) at 12:30 PM (until 6) in front of the Science Center (near the intersection of Kirkland and Oxford Streets). Jody Adams will hold a cooking demonstration for the first hour. From the market website, here are this year's vendors:
Plato's Harvest Organic Farms
Flats Mentor Farm
Ward's Berry Farm
The Danish Pastry House
When Pigs Fly
The Herb Lyceum at Gilson's
Shootflying Hill Sauce Co.
Fiore di Nonno
The Warren Farm and Sugarhouse
Follow The Honey
Lefty's Silver Cart
Stopped by the Harvard University market this afternoon. Lots of great things: strawberries (multiple farms), garlic scapes, asparagus (tail end of the season, so not much available), snap peas, shelling peas, eggs at Silverbrook Farms, and plenty of leafy green things are what I remember. Silverbrook, Lanni Orchards, and Ward's Berry Farm in particular had great looking produce and seemed to be in full swing.
Silverbrook comes this far north? I was getting two dozen eggs every week until the farmers' market season opened and then he raised the price a dollar a dozen.
Farm Direct Co-op this week was garlic scapes, strawberries, chard, endive, red mustard, lettuces, Valley View chevre, lacinato kale, baby turnips and the rest I can't remember. That might be all of it.
Davis Square was pretty good today but oddly quiet--as were the Central Square and Cambridgeport markets last week. Maybe the economy, proliferation of markets and CSAs are having effects on market biz?
Kimball Farms has lovely hothouse tomatoes & strawberries. Crystal Brook's goat cheese ($6 for 6 oz.) is very good--bought the chive-rolled log for the 2nd week in a row. Also picked up a very pricey package of smoked salmon from Nantucket Wild Gourmet & hope it's as good as it looks. Hi-Rise had some trouble with their sourdough starter this AM so didn't have their Huron loaf but hope to get it and their fabulous flute in by mid-afternoon.
I have a pal who bought Nantucket Wild's smoked haddock to use in place of bacon with eggs for breakfast. She said it was incredible.
I did a report on the Copley Market for Serious Eats this week. Aside from what's in the market, I talked with Farmer Chris from Siena Farms about the relationship between chefs and farmers and consumers. He talked about how he and Ana Sortun (Oleana and Sofra) work together improve what he brings to market an to use the farms abundance on her menus.
Here's a link.
I went to the Central Sq. market on Monday. Bought a huge armful of cilantro for $2, various greens, and gorgeous radishes . I bought 2 quarts of strawberries from Kimball's. They were pricey at $6.50 per quart. Raw, they were good but not as interesting as the berries I got from the Farm School stand at the Belmont market last week. The Farm School berries had almost a peachy note to them.
But I baked the Kimball strawberries into a strawberry rhubarb pie they were truly outstanding. I believe it was one of my best pies and as my moniker indicates, I bake quite a few. (I had to buy rhubarb from wholefoods because Kimball was sold out).
I also got some sausage (frozen) from Austin brother's. Very good but I noticed the meat was actually from NY.
I got to the Belmont CSA late last week (~6:30) and there wasn't much available - most of the stands were in the process of packing up. Ended up with two bunches of mizuna which had larger leaves than I generally like, but a nice mustardy flavor. Will try again this afternoon - hoping to get some berries.
I just got back from my 2-4 PM volunteer shift. There was a great deal of variety, even including summer squash (started indoors, grown outside)! The organic strawberries from Hutchins Farm were delicious, and so was the raisin pecan bread from Mamadou's. There were at least three other vendors (Kimball's Farm, Dick's, and the Farm School selling strawberries. The Farm School had an amazing variety of gorgeous greens... So many more vendors... It is a great day for fresh produce at the Belmont Farmer's Market, even in the rain.
I made it earlier today and was much happier. Ended up with fresh mozzarella, sourdough from Mamadous, and spring lettuce mix, basil and strawberries from (I believe) Kimball. The mozzarella and sourdough (with a tiny sprinkle of salt) lasted all of 3 minutes after getting home - wished for some great tomatoes - all would have been right in the world.
Isn't the bread from Mamadou's heavenly? Last week I had the sourdough. On Wednesday I happened to be near the Arlington Farmer's market so I picked up a baguette (and some plain cheese from the Goat Cheese Lady who has dropped Belmont from her rotation, alas). Yesterday at Belmont I got the raisin pecan. The sourdough was excellent, the baguette was so light and airy with a wonderful crust, but the raisin pecan was best of all (for me). I thought the baguette would be even better with a little more salt, but that just may be my personal taste.
Dick's had some greenhouse tomatoes at $4/pound. At that price I wanted to be more sure they would have real summer tomato flavor, so I passed on them. There were some nice-looking cherry tomatoes at Kimball Farm, which I did seriously consider. (Cherry tomato, fresh mozz, basil, and olive oil with a sprinkling of ground black pepper and maybe a paper-thin slice of prosciutto stuffed into a baguette... I am drooling...) The basil at Hutchins Farm was particularly impressive. But my number one favorite vendor yesterday was the Farm School .... maybe because I sat across from them for about two hours staring at their lovely display... or maybe it was because of the sheer variety of what they had brought to the market... all the usual stuff plus pea tendrils, lacinata kale, perfect collards and on and on. If only my refrigerator had had more room!
Maybe it's time for us to start asking the name of the variety of berry plants. I also noticed a big difference in berries from farm to farm this year.
And, I heard a market report from Santa Monica where the farmer was discussing the different varieties he grows and describing them.
Time for us to start asking. I find the farmers usually know.
Arlington was pretty busy when I was there around 1:30 (it's from 1-6 or something like that). I got amazing grey sole from the Fish Ladies. Lunenberg Farms (is that right?) had delicious spinach. I also got some goat cheese from Crystal Brook Farm. 2 different bakeries- one that says it's a pastry place (I didn't much care for their bread last year) & Mamadou's that gets a lot of hype on the Arlington List. Looked good, but I prefer to bake my own.
Plenty more veggies for sale than I expected. Seems many farms had greenhouses in use more this year than last to get them started. Strawberries looked good. I'm picking tomorrow, so didn't purchase.
One stand had hothouse tomatoes that looked pretty good. Maybe should have bought to try! Next week....
re: tall sarah
The Allston Farmers' Market opens tomorrow, Friday, June 19, from 3:00-7:00 pm in the parking lot at the intersection of N. Harvard St. and Western Ave.
Here are the season's vendors:
Dragonfly Farms (with CSA pick-up)
E.L. Silvia Farms
Flats Mentor Farms
Big Sky Breads
Mamadou's Artisan Bakery
Follow the Honey
Walked through the Brookline market at about 2pm, it was mobbed. Decided to grab lunch (at Dok Bua, yumm) and head back, when i got there it was pouring down rain and still....the main things I was after were gone. Lovely local asparagus, sold out in that hour, as did everything that the fish stand had except for a last pound of local shrimp (caught last night she assured me, can't wait to try them). The woman in front of me nabbed the last of the scallops which I had been after, I was tempted to buy them from her for a markup!
Bought a New York Strip from River Rock farm, also very much looking forward to that.
The strawberries are awesome, I'm nibbling on some now.
All in all, it seems a good maket though I wish there were more.
I had to pass on the last bag of scallops because it was 3/4 of a pound and I only had like $9 left on me by then. Oh well.
I got a lovely quart of strawberries, some beets and some red-leaf lettuce at Stillman's and was very tempted by the smoked bluefish spread at a new stand that specialized in such things.
Zatan: more stands come in later in the summer.
Ah, we almost met! Well, how to spot a hound at the market or a restaurant? I have met several at chowish dinners in the past, but it's been a long time. Maybe we should have a button or something.
Just had some of the shrimp in a quick tom yum koong, shelled them, made a quick shrimp stock, tossed in some lightly crushed thai bird chilies, some fish sauce, sliced mushrooms, juice of a lime, and the shrimp, topped with a bit of fresh cilantro. The shrimp are awesome, the soup too. I will buy from that place whenever I can. I added too many peppers, lol, phew.
I was in that line for Cyndi the fish lady at 2PM. She was already out of tuna and halibut, but my 15 minute wait paid off with two pounds of gorgeous haddock. Pan fried it last night, lightly seasoned and served with my house special mayo-based jalapeño/habanero sauce. Fantastic! The line should be shorter starting next week as her son will be out of school and available to help.
New this year - or at least I don't recall seeing them before: salad turnips, available at two or three different stands. They're creamy white and about the size of large radishes. Supposed to be good raw in salads. I'll try them tonight and let you know.
Heirloom Harvest CSA this week:
mixed field greens
Green, green, green, green............