What’s In Season?

Only a quick trip to the Farmers Market was to be had this weekend…in-between dropping kids off at Lacrosse games and then, returning to watch said Lacrosse games.
I made the rounds, enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the smells.

Snow peas
I saw pints of snow peas with their feathery little blossoms still lying about.
Strawberries - What is it about them?
I saw people headed to their cars carrying flats of strawberries for the first time this season.
A box of cookies
But in the end, I left with only a box of cookies. And yet, it was a successful trip.

Portlandia

Sometimes it’s just enough for me to make the loop under the blossoming canopy of trees. To stop and watch the street-corner musicians.
To feel like I left my little enclave and stepped out to see what the rest of the city is up to and somehow that makes the city feel smaller. More like a town. My town.

I know that some of you have shared with me that you have just recently started venturing out to your own farmers market and you felt a little overwhelmed. Here are some of my tips for navigating any farmers market.

1. Get your coffee BEFORE you arrive at the farmers market. The line for the market baristas is always one of the longest.

2. With coffee in hand, make a circle or a zig zag around your market without buying anything. Just take it all in.

3. On the second time around, make your purchases not worrying about whether this is the best vendor or this is the best price. You really can’t go wrong with any local, in-season food.

4. Realize that in the beginning your trips to the farmers market may take longer than you had expected but know that overtime, you will discover who your favorite vendors are, what you like to buy, who’s offering the best prices and so on.

5. Also know that in the beginning you may tend to “over-buy” so dazzled by all of the amazing food. After a few trips, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll actually be able to use before things start to go bad.

6. Take the time to search out a farmers market that makes you feel comfortable. I had tried out a few in the beginning but came to really love the downtown Portland market. I know just where to park. I love the trees. I have my favorite vendors but for other people, coming downtown and being amongst the crowds can be stressful. With farmers markets on practically every corner, search out one that you really love.

7. And know that sometimes it’s okay to come away with simply a box of cookies or a little tart because there’s more to the farmers market than just food.

All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011

Comments

  1. All looks so good, Carrie! Esp the cookie box! Bet Dave was all over that one. Waiting anxiously for the day in June when our New England version opens….so I can overbuy! But the good news is that the produce is SO fresh that it always lasts 2 or 3 times longer than produce from grocery stores.

  2. Thanks, Kath! Can't wait to take you to get a box of your own this summer!

  3. Strawberry CAKE says:

    I can't wait until our market are in full swing here. Your pictures are lovely.

  4. wenderly says:

    I am waiting with baited breath for the farmers markets to begin! Until then, I'll just delight in yours!

    Lovely.

  5. Carrie, What a beautiful post. I'm off to my farmers' market this afternoon and can't wait. I would add just one thing, taste, taste, taste whenever you can — (for example w strawberries you can taste differences in varieties as well as when harvested (time planted). Would love for you to do a book giveaway of my book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Local. Let me know.

  6. I love this post. Beautiful, Carrie!

  7. i love the fresh strawberries here – the ones in the grocery store just don't compare.

    it was so great to meet you at BHFood this weekend and to chat in HomeGoods :)

  8. Jim @ comfort in crumbs says:

    I can add to your list of suggestions, one that worked perfectly for me.

    Arrive about a half hour early and just roam around while the folks are setting up their booths. It's less busy then and you can scope out which booths you want to beeline to when the market officially opens. It may be frowned upon, but you can always feign first-timer ignorance.

    Carrie, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you the last night of the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta. I'm so glad we took the #newtome challenge seriously and had a real conversation. I look forward to more of your writing!

  9. Jim, I so enjoyed our real conversation as well. We weren't just trying to win the prize. :)
    Love the additional Farmers Market tip. Good for early risers…now, if only I was one.
    Look forward to following your pastry creations!

  10. Brandi- I so enjoyed meeting you at BHF as well. My box from HomeGoods just arrived today. Fun, fun!! Look forward to our next opportunity to connect.

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