Farmers’ Markets – More Than Just Veggies
The Farmers’ Market of yesterday has grown into a dynamic and eclectic market place. The fresh, home-grown produce is still the main attraction with different vegetables and fruit each week as they ripen and the season continues.
The history of the open-air market goes back thousands of years, with artisans, craftsmen and farmers hawking their wares. Market day was a time of gathering, meeting friends and family, to share the news of the day. It was a central part of early cultures and farmers’ markets are still a place to hear the latest news and catch up with friends and relatives.
For me, the opening of the farmers’ market heralds the beginning of warmer days, sunshine and summer living. I look forward to fresh peas in the spring, strawberries in June and summer squash in July followed by sweet corn, tomatoes and bell peppers as autumn draws near.
Current farmers’ markets have grown well beyond fresh vegetables and fruits. As an example, recently at the local farmers’ market, in addition to the farmers and their produce there was a woman who makes garden sculptures out of antique dishes, a wild life photographer and a novelist with her new book. There was also a table full of baked goods made and sold by an Amish family that lives outside of town. And, of course, there was the quilter with table runners, placemats and wall hangings for sale.
Right next to her, to the front of the market, there was a stand of crocheted baby dolls. There was also a large display of flowering plants and cut flowers outside the building. They were arranged in vases, baskets and in other, unexpected items that made a bright and cheerful grouping.
As the season progresses, each week will feature different vegetables from the gardens, and new tasty treats, both to eat and see.
Farmers’ markets are traditionally open for business on the weekend during the morning hours, often closing by noon or shortly after. It is worth setting the alarm to get to the market early, to find the plumpest tomato, buy the fresh warm cinnamon rolls or have the first choice of the arts and crafts.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 c fresh blueberries
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
DIRECTIONS: Grease 12 muffin cups. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add blueberries and gently stir until coated with flour mixture. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Mix together 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and muffins test done with a toothpick. Let cool 5 minutes and remove from tin. Save the remaining cinnamon-sugar for cinnamon toast.