Monday, October 19, 2009

To Market, to market

Posted by Jennifer

When the autumn chill descends, a market which is partially indoors offers a certain appeal. After a long hiatus, it seem like the perfect time to revisit the north building of St. Lawrence Market.

At first, the venerable market is a disappointment. After a summer of feasting on heirloom potatoes, baskets labelled simply red, white, or even Yukon Gold, just do not cut it. Although Rowe Farms has a large presence, the words that are so important at the newer markets: pastured, organic, humanely raised, heirloom are not so lavishly displayed here.
Just as I am about to give up and go home I spot something I have looked for ever since I first set eyes on Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook -- purple Brussels sprouts. Across the aisle, I also see the Holy Grail of apples, Cox’s Orange Pippins. Finally, the Mennonite farmer from whom I used to buy cream has a selection of potatoes that includes several I have not tried. I buy the Dutch Bintjes. Finally, I score, excitingly, with some local walnuts. So I leave loaded down after all.

The Bintjes make fluffy mounds of pure white mashed potatoes but they lack the buttery richness of German butterballs--even with lots of added butter. Supposedly a good frying potato, I will attempt French fries with the rest. Unlike purple beans which lose their colour when cooked, the sprouts retain much of theirs. To my taste they seem a little sweeter, a little less cabbagey than regular sprouts.

The Cox’s orange pippins? Just the sort of crisp, tart apple I love.

St. Lawrence Market has won me back.

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