Thursday, 15 September 2005

Farmers Market Lunch

Wahey! Today happened to be the Farmers Market and so Mr Doris and I popped out to take our first ever serious look at one. We were impressed by the range and many of the prices were fine. We got to taste test buffalo cheese; duck and plum sausages; various other cheeses; and pork pie. So we bought all those except the pork pie, plus buffalo sausages; various speciality sausages at little more than the cost of premium range supermarket sausages; minced steak; pork chops; and a little piece of lamb.

Three large bags of "nearly organic" vegetables and salad cost £8. It was fun at home unpacking with son sitting to one side and naming items. The sweet corn in its husk (?) completely stumped him as he guessed all sorts. The dirty carrots still attached to their greenery were obvious so I asked him if he had seen them like this before. "Yes" he said, "on the cartoons"! The small yellow squash also defied him as it did Mr Doris, and although I knew what it was I had never cooked one before and had asked the seller. She said to treat it pretty much like the courgettes (zuchinis) which we also bought.

Which is something else, I had some great chats to the various stall holders about all sorts from the Grand Canyon to the mentality of buffalo to what's involved in being defined organic and the colour of fat.

I don't remember the type of lettuce I bought but once I had washed it and whizzed it in the salad spinner it was spotless and dry and full of life. Most of the crops we had bought had been picked in the last day!

For lunch we had the most wonderful salad of lettuce; a stick of celery (gorgeously plump with wonderful aroma) and a spring onion finely sliced and sprinkled over; a chunk of cucumber diced and a fresh carrot washed and then grated, complete with skin. With this we had two avocados (not from the market) sliced between the three of us; a lemon wedge and a hunk of the local fresh cheese.

I chose only to have a crunch of sea salt, black pepper and the squeezed lemon on my avocado and just the squeezed lemon on the salad. Son went overboard with his mustard, dressing and herby concoction. And you know what - it was delicious! Son even made a special effort to eat up every scrap of carrot and then licked his plate clean. But I reckon it was the dressing that did it for him.

On a practical level, Mr Doris said he wasn't sure if he could tell the difference between this and say, supermarket salad. I can understand that, but I didn't have a full-scale dressing on my salad and that is usually the only reason to have salad! The whole meal felt like it came to life and sang to me. I feel happy knowing that this was fresh produce. I reckon that the difference for us is that the supermarket produce goes into the fridge and goes off really quickly and I do not respond to it with any love.

There is so much to be said for putting in the effort and that's why I think this is really about having a different philosophy towards food. The supermarket takes us into a dream state and stupefies us.

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments in the last post. This is obviously early days and I plan to take things "slowly". If only we had garden space then I'd grow my own but with a bit of investment that is still not impossible. I just reckon we need to go one stage at a time.

We've cheated and have a lamb and mint pie pie with a pastry crust for dinner. Organic meat and made by pie specialists. I'll serve that with the fresh potatoes and some of our other produce. If the kids respond well to the pastry crust then maybe I can start to make my own pastry!

Original Comments:

Universal Soldier said...
If you want some 'home-grown' flavour without the effort/time of full blown vegetable gardening then a little herb garden is great. Very little effort and bags of flavour.
Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:21:00 PM
doris said...
Hopefully I will get to that stage. Previously when I've tried to grow herbs they have either just died on me or weren't used!

I just found this nifty website for the UK to find local producers:
Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:43:00 PM
Cheryl said...
Sounds glorious!
Thursday, September 15, 2005 6:26:00 PM
Le laquet said...
Lunch sounds fabulous - I LOVE avacado. We only rarely get a farmer's market here which is such a shame as I love the farmer's market in my parent's village. All the local farmer's sell their fruit / veg / jam / wine etc. A woman in the village makes fantastic goat's cheese - wonderful! The old chap who sells vegetables still works prices out in francs and all ways chucks in some free herbs to go with the vegetables. Simon and I have vegetables delivered as part of an organic veg scheme - lovely courgettes and aubergines this week .... pricy but always fresh and seasonal and importantly no pesticides and horrible things!
Thursday, September 15, 2005 6:54:00 PM
Sparkling said...
I love Farmers markets, though, even with the reasonable prices I always come out having spend a small fortune. Worth every penny off course.

I cannot grow herbs to save my life, but my green peppers are growing marvelously. Are peppers a herb?
Thursday, September 15, 2005 6:54:00 PM
Z said...
You can also grow quite a bit in tubs and pots. We do that too. I know I'm a wonder ;)
Thanks for the link - I'll check that one too.
Thursday, September 15, 2005 8:16:00 PM
doris said...
I haven't given up on the idea of growing our own in tubs etc! Peppers even!

I have to say that our dinner went fantastic! The lamb and mint pie went down a treat including with the kids and I was pretty sure my daughter wouldn't eat pastry! She was amazed and wondered that Tesco sold such great pies! Pah! I cooked up the fresh potatoes with their skins and served with a little butter; made a ratatouile with one courgette, the small squash and an onion from the market; and served two small raw carrots grated as I guessed my daughter wouldn't eat the ratatouille. And I cracked open a lovely bottle of red. I'm still wide awake in myself whereas I often work late but don't feel good... and somehow my libido feels quite good ;-)

Oh, and thanks to Cheryl, I got out the vitamin pills this morning!

Z - you are definitely the wonder woman and hope I can pick up some tips :-)
Thursday, September 15, 2005 8:43:00 PM
Karen said...
You sound as if you are enjoying your new way of life - Fresh veges really do make a difference - You are right to take it one step at a time....
Thursday, September 15, 2005 8:51:00 PM
MattyD said...
some days i really wish that i ate vegetables!!

sounds really nice though :)
Friday, September 16, 2005 4:01:00 AM
Z said...
Doris - First libido - I'm sure your biochemistry won't be working that fast but your psychology will. Feel like you're achieving - feeeeel good. You know what I mean.

Second - I only like cooking if I make it interesting for myself. New recipes all the time. I really don't know how people get into cooking convenience foods, if we need something quick, my partner will do it or else I will bore the pants of myself. Not in a libido sense either ;)
And your meal sounded wonderful.

Third. Wine - always enjoy a good red but this can fast become habit forming and we are presently on an - alcohol only at weekends - thing. Start drinking a bottle with your meal and before you know it - it's a bottle every night, which is all well and good but gets expensive.

If you do want any tips on container growing or veggie growing - do ask. I might start a gardening tip blog or something for next growing season maybe. Especially if a bunch of like-mindeds wanted to do a group blog.

Like I said before - we live on a farm and we do have the luxury of a lot of land for veggie growing. It's not our farm but we just live here in a two hundred year old house with servants quarters and everything. It's a long story, maybe I'll write about it one day.
If you're ever down our way - come visit. I'll cook you a slap-up.
Friday, September 16, 2005 9:20:00 AM
Anji said...
Wow you are off to a good start! I had to laugh at the lettuce being 'full of life'. I hope you don't mean insects!! Rob and I visited a farmers market when we were in England this summer, we were so disapointed, there only seemed to be homemade cakes. Keep on crunching.
Friday, September 16, 2005 9:40:00 AM
Neutron said...
Yum yum. I remember when I lived in Greece in the 70s rediscovering tomatoes and cucumbers...they had TASTE!! It all came flooding back how things tasted when you could buy them from greengrocers and butchers.
Another memory of childhood popped up too not so long ago when we bought pea pods from an organic farm shop...oh yeah...they come in pods! Not in tins or kids couldn't believe it!
Friday, September 16, 2005 4:27:00 PM
jane said...
What a wonderful experience for the 3 of you. Your son's personality is so adorable, I just want to ((((hug)))) him! How wonderful it is that you & your husband take the time to teach him that knitting technique & make fresh produce interesting for him. He's so impressionable!
Aside from being healthy & sounding delicious, you & hubby are doing what many, many of us parents are often too busy for.
Fresh food tastes so much better than canned or frozen. Can't wait to hear about your next trip.
Sunday, September 18, 2005 5:36:00 AM

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