What You Missed at the Market

I arrived at about 9:45 this morning. The parking lot was just chockablock with cars and the market just as much so with people. It was crowded enough that I had to wait just about everywhere, which hasn’t been the case for a while.

I’ll admit, I had one of those seasonal eater snob moments in which I thought to myself, “Ah, now that the tomatoes are out you’re all here. Where were you people all winter? I was here every week when the choices were greens, greens, or greens.”

And that’s not really accurate – there were other brassicas to choose from too. (I kid, actually – I think November might be one of the nicest months of the year for the farmer’s market here – once the heat goes, the variety increases incredibly.) And thinking that way is not really helpful either – I am just happy to see the market really busy again.

I nearly walked into Fred Smeds of Savage Island Farms, whom I haven’t seen all winter. He was there to check that he’d be able to get his slot next week. I told him I’d been about ready to hunt up his card and call him, it’d been so long. He said the citrus just wasn’t worth bringing this year, which was what I had figured. He’ll be back next week with apricots, to which I say hooray.

The entrance sign pretty much sums it up, but there’s more of what you might have missed at the market, including a Chefs at the Market appearance by Cracked Pepper’s Vachte Moukhiarian, behind the cut. His recipe for Sweet Ginger Vinaigrette for this farmers’-market-born mixed greens and strawberry salad is there too.

So what’s new?

This was the first week I saw Michelle of KMK farms have shallots, and the rapidly-leafing grapevines on the market canopy provided them the dramatic lighting for this picture. Some of these are going to make their way into an escarole dish at our house.

KMK had Brooks cherries last week and will have Bings soon. This was also the first week at market this spring for Erickson Farms. Their cherry crop is larger than last year’s, thankfully. When I asked, they did say they were seeing a lot of doubling. That’s double cherries, two growing stuck together, which is an effect of the heat spell we had during bloom. I bought two of these large containers – total $12. I think it was $14 last year, maybe.

Cracked Pepper Bistro has been open about nine months now – we need to make time to pay a visit. The restaurant is on Shaw just east of 41. The name always gives me a little giggle because it reminds me of this bit from The Chaser’s War on Everything.

Chef Vachte Moukhiarian, when not doing some excellent chef-y hamming for the camera as below, was preparing a mixed green and strawberry salad and dressing it with a sweet, Asian-inflected vinaigrette. He was kind enough to provide his recipe, which follows.

Sweet Ginger Vinaigrette

2 c. sugar
2 c. water
1 in. piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. salad oil
1 T. sesame oil

Combine sugar, water, and ginger in a small pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the syrup has developed a strong ginger flavor, remove the ginger and let the syrup reduce until it starts to thicken. Transfer the syrup into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the remaining ingredients.


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