Friday, May 15, 2009

Farmer's Market Comes to Town

The farmer's market has finally come to my town Friday's 3:30-6:30pm. It's so nice to not have to trek 20 or 30 minutes out of the way burning gas. It is a small market in an upscale office parking lot that hosts a colorful cast of characters, each on stage and in the spotlight their respective tents. First stop was for luscious greens from a laid back South American farmer. I stocked up on a rainbow of swiss chards and rather healthy mountain of kale. I practiced my Spanish and we exchanged currency. My green for his greens.

The corner of the market was bustling with excitement and free sausage samples. I visited the boisterous and heavily German accented giant "Lothar" the butcher and his Asian wife and white haired father-in-law. His excitement about his artisan products was extremely contagious. I got caught up in the frenzy and bought quite a few of his organic brats and sausages (lamb, pork, beef) carefully avoiding the fully cooked ones in which he added preservatives/nitrates. He had quite a nice selection of natural gourmet items that passed my approval.

Nearby in Lothar's shadow, were Jacob and May Horst, a quiet and unassuming conservative Mennonite couple with free-range eggs and grass fed dairy products from Hagerstown, MD. I stopped to sample raw milk cheeses and chat. I got the smooth and creamy Monterrey jack.

My last stop at the far corner was the attractive and well mannered cowboy with his grass fed beef. I'm sure this guy is much more at home on his farm. I could just see him on a horse rounding up his cattle with his dogs. I could sense he was feeling a little like a fish outta water when customers grilled him what percent of fat was in his ground beef, etc. He went into great detail how they are grass fed, but just before "finishing" he feeds them hay to mellow the flavor. I piped in and helped him with marketing as I bought my meat, as I could tell my neighbors didn't know what this meant, I decoded his message and spouted off the benefits of grass fed meat. I got an appreciative thank you ma'am and wink for educating his customers, in his ever so cute southern drawl.

It's a small market that packs a rich little shopping experience. I'm so thankful these farmers took the time to drive out and bring us these wonderful products practically to my doorstep. I wouldn't have had an interesting story to tell had I walked into any of our florescent lit corner grocery stores. Can't wait for dinner!

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