Saturday, July 9, 2011

Farmers' Market Trip

Seriously? You actually checked back today? I wonder what's more surprising, that you bothered to come back here or that you actually found a new post. Well your faith has been rewarded. Here begins another day in the life of Karen.

Meet Farmer Eliza. Here she is with her helper, Brad. Eliza MacLean is one of the owners of Cane Creek Farm and one of the few farmers in the world to breed Ossabaw Island Hogs. Why does this matter? Because Eliza's Ossabaw hogs are the source of life-altering bacon! Yes, it is that good! And the pursuit of this life-altering bacon is what caused me to leave the house at 6:30am this Saturday morning and make the 30 minute drive out to the amazing Carrboro Farmers' Market.

My Saturday mornings almost always start with a trip to the farmers' market(s). I am lucky to live in an area of the country where there are several outstanding, year-round farmers' markets.
The market trip is something I look forward to each week, usually sharing the experience with my 6-year-old son who took on the role of "Mommy's Farmers' Market Helper" a couple of years ago. This Saturday was no exception.

Before heading out to the markets (2 market stops planned for today), we swing by La Farm Bakery, our local artisan bakery, for one of THE BEST lattes in the world. The lattes are expertly made with locally roasted Counter Culture espresso and whole milk. I wish they'd use local / organic milk, but the fact that they use commercial milk is not enough of a deterrent to keep me from regularly treating myself to the frothy goodness of these lattes. Consider it part of my 20%.

I'm not particularly hungry this morning so the latte is all I have for breakfast. I do grab a second cup of coffee with a splash of organic half-and-half at the farmers' market later in the morning.

small whole milk latte
second cup of coffee with half-and-half

Following breakfast we're off on our shopping adventure. First stop is the Carrboro Farmers' Market for Eliza's bacon. Yay, bacon!
We also get some bratwurst, ground beef, steak and tomatoes from Eliza. Then we make the rounds and fill our basket with salad greens, collards, kale, beets, purslane, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, peppers, green beans, okra, basil, local cheese and fresh cut flowers.

Our second stop is the Western Wake Famers' Market, because we're running low on eggs and need to visit
Farmer Austin from Two Bridges Farm for the perfect accompaniment to Eliza's bacon. If you've never had eggs fresh from a farm where the chickens run around all day and scratch for their food, you've never had *real* eggs. The yolks are an amazing orange color and the taste is incredible. I've been buying eggs like this from several area farms for years and they're all wonderful, but I've recently started only buying from Austin when possible. The eggs from his farm are the best I've ever had and well worth a second stop this morning on the way home.

All of this is way more effort than a quick trip to the corner grocery store for a bunch of packaged items, but I don't remember ever coming home from the grocery store inspired to take a picture of the day's shopping.

There was enough time after our shopping trip to quickly stash the food in the fridge before heading out for the kids' tennis practice and T-ball game. Both kids did great in their sports and had a good time. After all that, I fed the kids and started washing the veggies from today's shopping. I find that if I don't wash and store the veggies on Saturday so they're easy to grab and eat throughout the week, there's a higher likelihood that they'll never get eaten. After all of that, around 2pm, I'm hungry and ready for a big market salad for lunch.

Salad made with mixed baby lettuce, kale, purslane, carrots, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, green onions and some Fra'Mani ham, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and served with some sparkling water.

No plan yet for dinner. I need to go take something out of the freezer. Check back later to see what I selected.

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