Farm Fresh

Growing up we had a farmer's market downtown on the square several times a week.  I remember when I was younger it being so fun and there were so many stands to check out and buy fresh produce from.  As I got older and accompanied my mother I remember there being disappointingly less produce and even less farmers.  The same was true when I went to the farmer's market at our first house in Illinois.  When the grocery stores carry "local" produce, why do you need to venture to a farmer's market?  I was shocked when that market mostly sold jewelry, soaps and other crafty items and no fresh produce to be found.

Today was my first time being able to make it to the big city farmer's market.  I have been to the smaller one in the town we live in and bought some amazing things.  Things got off to a rocky start this morning when Munchkie's Daddy woke me and said "it's 9:30!" we both immediately looked at each other and knew that meant trouble.  While Munchkie's Daddy gave Munchkie a bath, I scrubbed the contents of her diaper off of the walls, crib and carpet.  Then two hours later than we intended we headed to breakfast and then the farmer's market.

When we first moved here, we really wanted to live in the "Little Italy" neighborhood.  When we found out that we couldn't really couldn't afford it, it was so sad, and we've had a feeling of regret ever since.  This morning as we walked through the park to this quaint coffee shop under large flowering trees we felt the regret even more.  We turned to each other as we walked in and couldn't even believe that The Weakerthans were playing.  How cute are these hand stamped cups?  And Munchkie's "hmm, maybe carrot, you know, all that good stuff in it" muffin was amazing!  From what I could tell there was carrot, zucchini and a hint of citrus with a cinnamon crumble on top.  My apple cinnamon scone with just a taste of salt and Munchkie's Daddy's chocolate croissant were also excellent.

Then the farmer's market.  It was a good thing that my cash was limited and they were all cash only vendors.  I also, had just the night before gone to both an area orchard and the grocery store to buy ingredients for my day of canning, so I knew what was a good deal or what wasn't a good deal.  The flowers were absolutely beautiful!  I wish that I could justify buying bunches of them.  I already had my eye on these sugar snap peas, but the guy behind the stand popped out and brought one for Munchkie to try.  She loved it and begged for more.  Two pounds seemed like a good number.  Guess what we'll be eating this week!  Apparently his cow likes them too, he was showing this "too cute picture" of his cow eating the snap peas.

Then I spotted a vender that had all kinds of fresh potted herbs.  The rosemary initially caught my eye, but then as the farmer kept showing me the different herbs I was drawn in.  I ended up with rosemary, stevia, chocolate mint and pineapple mint.  The man said that if you dry the leaves in a paper bag you can add them to teas and coffees to add flavor.  I can't wait to figure out what to do with them.  Then, just as we were walking out, I saw them.  The farm fresh eggs.  I just had to get them.  I absolutely can not even wait to make some scrambled eggs in the morning for breakfast.

Overall, it was a wonderful time.  I am super excited about my purchases and can't wait to use them all!  I will be frequenting the farmer's market this summer in it's various locations.  If you are in my area, check out CitySeed to see the locations and hours of all of the farmer's markets.  I am partially devastated that I didn't think ahead of time to get a CSA and enjoy fresh produce each week.  The one at the orchard near me equals out to $30 a week for 20 weeks of produce!  I seriously wouldn't be able to get fresh produce like that anywhere for a price like that!  Let me tell you, I will definitely be finding a CSA for next summer!

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