My name is Fern, and I'm a farmer's market addict.
Today the Chubby Hubby and I went to the Bowie Farmers Market, a producer-only market. Oh, could we have bought!
Our favorite vendor there is Unger Farm. Their early and late season peaches are wonderful, but their midseason peaches are the most amazing peaches we have ever eaten. Bursting with flavor, often huge, always deeply colored, there are peaches you have to eat with a bib. You will eat them even without one, and the trails of peach juice they will leave on your shirt is a minor price to pay.
[Fern's hubby here: the thing that's really special about an Unger peach is that it has this deep flavor that is so far above any other peach we have ever eaten. The flavor doesn't just say "peach," it says "PEACH!!!" It's like the difference in sound between a cheap fiddle, vs a Stradivarius played by a master. The cheap fiddle sounds tinny and tentative, but a Strad has a rich full-throated sound that is as smooth as velvet. Yeah, Unger mid season peaches are THAT good. ]
Alas, it is too late in the year for ANY MORE peaches from their farm. We 'settled' for apples: a half-peck bag of Golden Delicious for both eating out of hand and for a pie I plan to make this week, and small box of Smokehouse, a heritage apple..
I've never run into anyone selling Smokehouse apples before. Firm but not rock hard, they have an intriguing sweet/tart/apple flavor. To me, they cry out to be eaten with slices of a sharp cheddar. No one else in the family feels they need to be paired with anything. Unfortunately, the Ungers have few boxes of them to sell, as they have had to remove many of their Smokehouse trees. The variety is not resistant to black spot. It's a shame, so, sadly, to allow more shoppers can enjoy the variety I limited myself to one box.
Our next spot is Barbie's Breads, who sells breads and pastries from Uptown Bakers http://www.uptownbakers.com/. Yes, long-time readers know that I bake most of my own bread, even grind much of my own grain for my own breads. However, Uptown Bakery makes better artisan bread than I do. Way better. Way, way better. So, for the 6 months or so that Barbie sells them at farmers markets, I buy one loaf a week. This week we bought a seeded rye. We somehow managed to resist the pastries ... this time. However, I can assure you that even their oatmeal cookies are special, their wonderbars ARE a wonder, and their unique tea cakes are the well-blessed result of a culinary ad lib.
There were no leeks to be had yet (I'm hoping that the drought hasn't toasted them, but booths were so busy I didn't have a chance to ask). We settled, after a survey of all stands, for adding beets, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches from a different provider, and hard squash to our haul. CH and I had a spirited debate over getting some fresh unpasteurized cider, but ultimately had to admit we didn't have room in the fridge for the gallon jug. We also deferred buying asian pears, more peppers, hubbard squash (excellent for strudel!), and a whole host of other enticing produce.
And I do believe I'll also get some leeks at the grocer, as I feel a fall chicken pot pie coming on.
What's fresh and local and wonderful in your area now?