I know vegetables and fruits are seasonal but the thing is I was so entranced by all of the farmers’ markets upstate this past summer that now that the markets have ended, I miss them. Granted, I don’t want to over romanticize what they had to offer. Some Saturdays it seemed like every other vendor was simply selling tomatoes!
But other Saturdays, there were really nice choices. Fresh goat cheese from Jones Family Farm, lovely beets and leeks and carrots from a farmer down the road.
Other Saturdays I would approach a vendor and ask to buy something they had advertised (like short ribs or chicken or eggs) and they would tell me they didn’t have any. This was highly disappointing. I wanted to buy locally but they didn’t have enough supply to meet demand. Then there was another dilemma I faced. Who should I actually buy from if everyone was selling similar products?
Before it even became politically correct, I firmly believed in the whole farm to table movement. Growing up in a suburb of Munich, I felt a tad annoyed that the potato field across from my house had been turned into a soccer field for local kids to play on. I know that Fussball is really big in Germany and that FC Bayern München is a really popular team but I began to wonder if it wouldn’t have been cooler to see produce growing across the street from my house rather than watching some kids kick around a soccer ball.
Towards the end of the summer, new produce besides tomatoes began to appear in the markets. Snow white heads of cauliflower and cabbages the size of basketballs were here! And large acorn squash for a mere 50 cents a piece!
The summer was bountiful and everything that I saw was so colorful and fresh I thought it wouldn’t matter if I cooked it or not. Even eating some of this produce nearly raw I knew could be delicious. I started to think of some of my favorite NYC chefs and what they would do with this abbondanza. Looking at the rich display of beets and carrots, eggplant and potatoes, I thought of Chef Amanda Cohen’s homemade eggplant pasta dish at Dirt Candy.
Perusing stall after stall of tomatoes in every shade of red and even yellow I thought of the mouth-watering upscale heirloom tomato sorbet I had one evening that was created by Chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park.
Perhaps one of the romantic aspects of visiting the farmers markets was that Lynn and I had a day off together (he usually works Saturdays). That and the fact we managed to get out of bed before the market closed at noon! (Don’t believe any of those stories by the way that the older you get the less you sleep, it’s simply not true.)
I’m already looking forward to next summer. But who isn’t?