Beside autumn, summer is probably the best time of year because of the great bounty of produce coming in locally. I’ve always appreciated summer for this great fact and even more so since becoming serious cooking fiend. Then add the fact that Alton Brown is a big proponent of eating locally and visits his local farmers market.
For the upcoming Independence Day weekend, I was fortunate to have the Friday off so I decided to head to an area farmers market to get some tomatoes. I needed real, local tomatoes. It is July after all, it was high time to have some of those yummy items.
The biggest farmers market in my area is the Capital Market.
Tomatoes were my main objective, but other items were on the list as well. Circling the market, there are lots of vendors with tomatoes so it was just a matter of selecting the right place and the right basket of tomatoes. As I explored further, I found some tomatoes were shipped from South Carolina. Bummer. Then I found a nice vendor with a whole bin of West Virginia tomatoes! Yay.
The next veggies to grab my eye were cucumbers. Abundantly at every vendor it seemed. I had not planned on purchasing cukes until I saw them. Last year I made AB’s dill pickles with the end of the season cucumbers and they were fantastic. I had planned on making more after the great pickle slaughter of 08–my mom ended up getting to my pickles and took command of them. I had two spears total from three Mason jars of them.
Spotting these was super because a can make a boatload of pickles now. And hopefully get more than two spears from the batch. Mom commented on getting more of the pickles when I showed her these. She even said I could put a chain and padlock on them this time.
Finally we stumbled on a vendor with corn. Yes corn! It typically arrives here in July and if I’m lucky I can find a local farmer selling from the back of a truck along the highway. Usually you have to find them early in the morning because by midday they are wiped out. Much of the same apparently occurs here.
Fortunately, it was 3 p.m. when I spotted the truck. So we cruised the interior portion of the market and waited. After 15 minutes, we returned and found a line of people waiting. The buzz in the crowd was this corn is worth the wait. Information of the corn’s arrival appeared the day before. It is bi-colored corn called Temptation. People talked of being there the day before and buying some. So mom and I waited and watched to crown balloon.
Mom quipped it was starting to look like a Russian bread line. I heard a woman behind me said she couldn’t believe she was standing in line for corn.
Finally the dust cleared, the men kept up with the crowd, bags filled with a dozen (or two) of ears and happy customers walked away.
So with my booty in tow, this weekend had some great plans ahead. Grilled corn, burgers with fresh tomatoes and I’ll be making pickles too.
Have a great Independence Day!