Monday, June 26, 2006

Eat Local Produce!

We had a great weekend. Saturday I took the kids to the Farmers' Market. Its something I love to do, but since I work a lot of Saturdays, I don't always have the opportunity. I always feel especially virtuous after I do this, too - giving my money directly to the farmers who are labor to make this food. Its fresher, too, since it was usually picked the night before, and did not have to travel far to get to market. We went late in the morning, and instead of being out of everything, the farmers seemed extra generous. Also, it had rained earlier, cooling everything off, so instead of being hot and cranky, everyone seemed cheerful under the midday sun.

We went by the Peach Creek Farm stand, where they sell their Berkshire Pork. They have an old English breed of hog that's supposed to taste much better. On display are pictures of their one boar (El Rey) who's HUGE and very happy. The sows get to farrow in pasture (instead of on cement), and they all get to frolic in the mud and sunshine all day.

Last time I bought some of their sausage, which was great, but this time I wanted to try something new. Colin was wearing his favorite shirt that says "CHEEKY MONKEY" on the front, and the pig farmers really liked it. "My mother is Scottish," one of them said, "I grew up hearing that all the time." Me, too! Anna smiled and spoke politely to them while I got the cooking directions for my bone-in shoulder roast. Next thing I knew they were giving my children some of their pastries - stuffed with a cinnamon-apple mincemeat. The pastry was made with their lard, so it had that sweet/savory thing going on -- YUM!

Next we went to a little family vegetable stand. Last time we went they gave Anna a yellow crookneck squash to try, so she dutifully told them how much she enjoyed it. We bought some more squash, some peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes from them.

We went to the goat cheese stand, which has a table covered with samples. The entire time I am there making my purchases, Colin is eating sample after sample after sample. These kind goat farmers response to this is to give him more! Anna only likes mild cheeses, and won't ever try the "stinky" goat cheese, but this time they had a goat mozzarella, and she liked it!

We picked up eggplants and onions at another stand. There was only one peach stand. The warm winter plus spring hail storms did in most of the area peach orchards, except for one microclimate in San Marcos. They were selling baskets as fast as they could fill them, and they were sweet and juicy.

Before we left, I wanted to get some cucumbers for salad. I let Anna and Colin each pick out one from a curvy variety at one stand. On they way back to the car, I realized they were eating them like popsicles, skin and all! I laughed at them, delighted that they were devouring a vegetable I couldn't even get them to try before!

The next day we had some of our favorite friends over to feast on all our fresh produce. I slow roasted the pork (it was good and flavorful, but more pot-roast in style than Anthony and I really like), made goat cheese gratin potatoes, marinated the squash, peppers, and eggplant with basil and olive oil then grilled them, and made a salad with the tomatoes. Our friends brought an appetizer of almonds, brie, and fig jam from Spain (yum!) and a decadent ice cream pie for dessert (fantastico!).

Fresh veggies, dressed in basil, awaiting the kiss of the grill


Emily said...

Yum! Looks and sounds delicious! I can just picture Colin eating all the cheese...

paula said...

You have just made me very very hungry

PAULA said...

Actually, scrap that last comment, in the space of two minutes my cat just brought in a half dead bird which Richard had to put out of its misery and Luke just decided to smear the contents of his pull up over my bedding (how very pleasant).

Leah said...

I just wanted to say thanks for the breakfast tacos. They were very tasty. Just one request. Could you bring in the recipes to all meals you bring in to work. I hate to bother you for them all the time. I don't cook that much and you make the best and healthy meals. Thanks again for the great food!!!!


I love good summer produce! I'm very picky about what vegetables I eat. I hate the chalky,fakie taste of some stores' produce, and I absolutely LOVE when our summer garden produces wonderful,yummy produce! My fav. are the tomatos, which are in abundance right now. =)

That dish looks delicious, Jenn.....=)