All I can say is, what took me so long!? In the last couple of days, I’ve hit up two separate farmers’ markets in my area. And, oh what I’ve been missing! We are talking the freshest, ripest, and sweetest produce I’ve had all summer.
This last quality may be the most under-appreciated of local, just-picked veggies by the uninitiated. I know it surprised me. Even the hot peppers and garlic, which I enjoy eating raw as well as cooked, had so much more flavor and sweetness, without losing their heat and/or bite.
Kale. Summer squash. Ripe tomatoes. Basil. I also picked up a couple okra as well, at 25¢/each, but they didn’t make it to the spread.
I almost bought some beautiful, huge shiitake mushrooms from this one fella, but I chickened out. He explained how he had seeded a log a year or so ago and it only just this year came up all over the place. Maybe next time.
Corn. Hardneck garlics: “Georgian Fire” befriending, appropriately, the hot peppers, and “Romanian” varieties. Onion. Bell pepper. Tomatillos (one peeled, one not). Green beans. Scallions.
The lady selling the garlic, onion, and basil really knew her stuff about the garlic varieties and had little pictures showing the cross-sections. I’ve not knowingly had the hardneck garlics before. They are much easier to handle, seeing as they only have four large cloves around a woody stem. She also had some purple basil as well. I’m kicking myself for not trying it. Again, maybe next time.
Red eggplant resting on a bed of baby green leaf lettuce. Of course, your standard big purple one is on the right. Then there’s another eggplant variety, that round, pink one, for which I, unfortunately, no longer remember the name on the sign. Red and yellow tomatoes. Cucumbers. Bell and hot peppers. Common softneck garlic.
I overheard someone asking the farmer selling the eggplants (and more) whether he had any winter squashes. His response was that the weather this summer had caused a late harvest, but they were coming. More incentive to return. It seems early October is when these places close up shop, so I have some time yet to rectify my transgression of not frequenting them earlier. The prices were probably higher than in the grocery stores, but so worth it. And you’re sure to learn something new while there.