Some of my fondest memories of childhood are going to the farmers market with my mom. There were rows of produce in baskets, bright colors, and lots of fresh foods. I learned how to pick out melons, how to tell if vegetables were ready to eat, think about how much one place was charging vs another. I also have fond memories of eating food from family and friend’s gardens. Floyd’s new potatoes and peas, cooked in a white sauce, remains a favorite but I could make an entire list of the foods and flavors I remember. What do you remember?
I have been fortunate throughout my life to live in places that have wonderful selections of produce. I lived in Grand Rapids nearly a decade and went to the wonderful market most Saturday mornings when the weather was nice. Ann Arbor also had wonderful fresh produce available. Since the addition of the Tuscaloosa River Market, the farmers market has been much better in Tuscaloosa. I don’t always think about going this early in the year per my Michigan roots. Saturday morning I saw a note on Facebook that my friend Hope was there and to come on by. I was not sure what I would find this early in the spring but I was pleasantly surprised. Tables were full of greens, tomatoes, root vegetables and cheese. I tried a local tea shop that goes to markets and events. My salad is Swiss chard, kale and tomatoes – all from different vendors at the market last Saturday. I am going to be more attentive to what is available by season this year.
My challenge for you is to find a local market and explore the offerings. Try something new. I’m trying to figure out what to do with collards since there seem to be plenty available at the market. Explore. It’s a grand adventure.