Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer for Sale

From the bean of Green Bean.

Photo courtesy of Sweet Eventide.

Stepping out of the car, we bent our heads against the wind. My four year old moved closer, burrowing against my side for warmth as I fished out the canvas bags and a tattered sweatshirt. It still fit him and we both sighed as I tugged it over his head.

Rain drizzled over the blue and red umbrellas of the market. Unusual this late in the year. I couldn't remember the last time it had rained in May. I wouldn't complain. Our water starved state needed all the rain it could get but still . . .

The cold weather meant at least another month for watermelon and corn. The dark clouds held off summer's crops with a strong and relentless arm. But we weren't picky, were we, I asked my youngest. We'd missed last week's market and were hungry for fresh produce.

First stop, the stalwarts of spring: English shelling peas poking their sharp faces out of a brimming paper bag. We also loaded up on baby artichokes and fava beans. I planned to make a spring pasta starring all three of my favorite spring vegetables.

Stopping for a half flat of strawberries, we were greeted with bleedingly purple blackberries, tucked into green cardboard boxes like newborns in a nursery. The first of the season. My son smiled with the first bite.

Stocking up on local honey and the unavoidable "honey sticks", we stopped to ooohhh and ahhh at Fifth Crow Farm's blue and golden pastured eggs. We already had ours from a local farm but they were beautiful nonetheless. And we settled for a pound of their locally grown and milled wheat flour instead. I could almost taste the pancakes as I hefted the tight brown bag into my cart.

Next up was Happy Boy Farms with their gourmet lettuce, sparkling Easter radishes and fans of collard greens. We nibbled our way through the cheese and olive oil vendors before blinking at the heralds of summer - stone fruit.

Early peaches lounged across the front table. Moon orange apricots, firm and voluptuous, lurked near the scale. Just beyond them, tucked in between the scale and the farmer, hid red and gold Rainier cherries, peeking out of their plastic clamshell treasure chest. We'd not found watermelons or grapes, but what we had found was priceless indeed.

With a mouth full of summer, we trudged back to the car, warmer than when we'd come.


Farmer's Daughter said...

Peaches!?! We're just starting with strawberries here, and I harvested my first lettcue and spinach last week.

One thing I've learned about since "going local" is the variability of growing seasons throughout the country. I always knew about our seasons, growing up on the farm and all, but reading about yours in CA and Heather's in Texas, I'm so jealous!!! At least we have maple syrup here to make me realize I'm lucky, too :)

JessTrev said...

We're south of Farmer's Daughter but I have to agree - I am soooo jealous of your stone fruits!! Wow. My mouth is watering and you have me aching to get over to our farmer's mkt tomorrow morning.

Donna said...

You lucky bum! Up here in Oregon, I'm still waiting for the strawberries to get sweeter!

Daphne said...

I'm like the Farmer's Daugher. I'm still waiting for strawberries. I saw the peaches on my friend's tree and they are just tiny little things right now. I saw the first bud on my peas today, so it is going to be a little bit before I have enough for a meal with those. I'm still stuck on greens and will be for a while yet. Soon things will be more varied.

Daisy said...

I'm jealous. Our farm market doesn't start until late June. My mouth is watering as I picture the good eats you're gathering.

Electronic Goose said...

Oh I want to eat this post!!

Green Bean said...

Farmers' Daughter: You are so right. You really don't realize how seasonally different regions of the US are until you start eating local and I am equally if not more jealous of your maple syrup.

JessTrev: Yeah but do you have access to local maple syrup??

Donna: Ah but they'll be SO sweet once they are ready.

Daphne: Ironically, I always start craving greens once spring and summer hit. It's like all the variety and I realize how good the winter staples of greens and sweet potatoes are. I never appreciate them enough when I have a choice.

Daisy: I'll beat you'll be really ready by late June! Look out!

Goose: Take a big bite! :)


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