Hello all, let me tell you about our idea of a well spent Saturday in the Driftless Area. Our first ”must do” was a walk over to Cafe Ellie to get a cup of latte (a pumpkin spice one for me) made with Kickapoo coffee. Then we made quick stop at a Little Free Library to drop off a book then a walk up High St. toward the farmers’ market. At the market, we spent a good couple of hours chatting with friends and even meeting some new ones (Denise and her husband Doug of the Digging in the Driftless blog). Ollie dog was smothered with hugs and kisses from several little girls. He also made a couple of new furry friends (Ziggy and Emma).
Last year, my mom took my brother and I to my favorite city in the world. With London serving as the world’s stage right now for the summer Olympics, I thought I might show you a tasty kaleidoscope that is the Borough Market. Hands down, it is the finest market I’ve visited so far. I remember descending down some steps and being greeted by the strong aroma of fried spicy meat coming from a giant size paella pan, sizzling with paprika red Spanish chorizo. Up ahead, a woman sold at least 30 different kinds of Turkish delights, the colors and the flavors were equally enchanting. I picked up some raspberry, lemon, pistachio, coconut, and the classic rosewater. Even more impressive was the selection of nuts, which was double the amount of the candy selection. To the right, the briny and clean smell of the packed oyster stand. Each oyster so big, you could barely fit one in your mouth. There was a German pastry stand, the homeliest fish I’ve ever seen, a guy that sold whatever type of fruit smoothie you could dream up, and the Thai curry stand, oh I just had to stop. The man had three huge vats (red, green, and white) that he was watching and stirring once in awhile. I watched as he added some chicken into the white one.
Imagine this, my skin is red with yellow flecks and my body has ballooned into a giant strawberry shape. Yes, this little Strawberry has been as greedy as Violet in Willy Wonka. Hold on a second while Keith rolls me off to the juicing room.
The Best Strawberries
Another favorite stop in Spring Green is Peck’s Farm Market. There are two locations, East and West, both on Highway 14. We usually visit the east location. After an impromptu lunch date with Keith (he works in SG) at Shifflet’s, I drove past Peck’s and noticed a huge elk, and of course I had to stop and take a closer look. The animal was about a foot taller than my barely 5’4″ height. I tried to take a few pictures with it behind me but had no luck because it kept sticking its horns and mouth through the fence a bit aggressively. Oh well, I said goodbye to my new friend and went into the store.
It was the last week to get fresh strawberries so I purchased four more quarts on top of the flat (8 quarts) I had purchased the weekend before. Yes, I know I’m greedy. In addition, I bought a bag of Lonesome Stone pancake mix, Straka Meats brats and hotdogs. Peck’s is such a fun place to visit. In the fall, we love to get caramel apples and watch the other animals they have at the petting zoo behind the shop.
Springtime Treat at Peck’s
This morning we visited our first farmers’ market of the season, the Mineral Point Farmers’ Market. We got some spinach, leeks, butter lettuce, and asparagus as well as two packages of bacon (don’t judge) and all beef hotdogs for grilling out from Marr’s. It was wonderful to see familiar faces again and to meet some new ones.
The hot and humid growing days are over. I’m going to miss going to the outdoor markets, stopping at random roadside stands, kayaking on the river, and yes maybe even swatting away those pesky mosquitoes. Emily Dickinson said, “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” I almost believe her. Below are pictures of some of the scrumptious local food we’ve purchased from our favorite local market. Many thanks to all of the farmers who work so hard to provide us with the highest quality meats and produce. See you next year?
Wait a minute, I just received an email from farmer Rink of Shooting Star Farm. It seems like there will be an indoor market for at least a few more weeks beginning tomorrow. There’s even a promise of tomatoes. Sweet!
Market Haul 2011
Keith and I have been enjoying the season by shopping at our local farmer’s market almost every Saturday. Local food is incredibly abundant at this time. There are over thirty farmer’s markets in Southwest Wisconsin alone, some of which are listed here. In addition are the multiple farm stands that you’ll find while driving along the country roads and sometimes in regular neighborhoods. My favorite find last year was a cantaloupe and honeydew melon stand set up at someone’s driveway. The stands are usually unattended. All you have to do is pick out what you like and leave the payment in a box.
Below is a picture of yesterday’s amazing haul from our favorite farmer’s market. We bought some farm fresh eggs from Gough’s Gorgeous Farm Goods, 8 pints of raspberries from Bures, meats (ribs, ground beef, and pork chops) from Marr’s Valley View Farms, veggies (beets, carrots, and peach tomatoes) from Shooting Star Farm, and some eggplant from the Buckhaus Farm. I froze most of the berries and made a couple of jars of raspberry jam. I will use the rest of the ingredients throughout the week and hopefully come up with something fantastic to enter in the Madison Area CSA Coalition Recipe Contest. Winning entries will be included in their “Farm-Fresh and Fast” cookbook project. Previous projects include 3 editions of the popular ”From Asparagus to Zucchini” cookbook.
Gorgeous Local Food
One advantage you often hear about buying from the Farmer’s Market is that you get to know the people who grow your food. One thing no one mentions is that this is only a good thing if you like the people who grow your food. Luckily that’s not a problem for Rink and Jenny of Shooting Star Farm, since they are without a doubt some of the nicest people I’ve met (the name of their farm is the reason for the embedded video below… which in turn inspired the title of the post).
One of the best things about Mineral Point is the Saturday Farmer’s Market at Watertower Park. And one of the best things about the market is Shooting Star Farm. Leslie recently took a trip out to the farm to get some pictures as the new growing season began. A few days later I met up with Rink* to talk a little bit about their farm.
If you are a Discover Wisconsin show fan you will be interested to know that Southwestern WI will be featured on their “Home Grown” show, airing this weekend – Saturday the 23rd and Easter Sunday the 24th.
The Show Features:
Marr’s Valley View Farm-Mineral Point – including footage of the Mineral Point Market