Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Market, To Market

It is sensory overload at the farmer's markets in late July and early August. There is always a riot of colour: the red of ripe cherries, strawberries, raspberries; rich purples of blackberries, black raspberries, and currants; the oranges and yellows of peaches, apricots, carrots, corn; the greens of lettuces, kale, peppers.Not only a feast for the eyes, the markets are perfumed by the sweet scent of ripe produce.

With a great number of fruit growers and even a flower stand, the market at Metro Hall(aka David Pecaut Square) is one of the most colourful.  Both Warner Farms and Andrews Scenic Acres have a broad range of fruit at the moment.  The last of the sour cherries, black currants, and black raspberries jostle for space with gooseberries, white and red currants, raspberries, black berries and the early peaches and plums.

Thames Valley Melons always has great corn.  A favourite variety, Navaho, is already over for the year but Gourmet Sweet has taken its place. Of their specialty, melons, their yellow watermelons are always impressive.

Across town, East Lynn is a fave with young families so there is often stroller gridlock, but also lots of activities for children. Just before the August long weekend it is a mob scene.  East Lynn does not have as great a selection of fruits.  Sun-Ray has peaches and raspberries.  This particular week the Lofreddos are not at the market.  Bad news, O.K. Farms will not have elderberries this year but should have harvest apples(yellow transparents) for the next few weeks.  If eggs, meat, and vegetables are what you are after, East Lynn is a good place to go.  Bio Vision farm has eggs and poultry and their selection of meat includes pastured lamb.  The boned leg of lamb, the right size for a small family, was excellent as were the duck eggs.

It has become a tradition to go to the Sorauren market on the long weekend Monday since it's to far to get to on a working Monday.  Like East Lynn, this market attracts young families albeit with a bit more of a hippy vibe. Compare to its early days, there are a lot of prepared food vendors, most of them grouped together by the building which houses the market in the winter. While the rest of this market is quite spacious, this area is crammed but it was well worth the lineup to get a bowl of lobster bisque with corn fritters from My Little Dumplings.

The real thrill was finding choke cherries at Forbes Wild Foods. Rare now that there are so few hedgerows, they were a dusty delight in my rural childhood.  Alas, knowing I would probably not make jelly, I didn't buy any.  Instead, I went home with wing steaks from Field Sparrow, bread from De La Terre bakery, beets and onions from Fresh Vegetables, and of course, a blackberry yuzu ice pop from Augie's to help me on my way.

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