Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Dinners from the Market

The Holiday season is upon us and it is a reason for a great dinner. You can go from very good to really interesting and great by choosing something different, something from a local farmer, or both. Here are a few of our past Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners from the Market vendors for ideas. Just remember that an unusual item will be a special for a vendor and may require ordering well in advance.

First, here is a buffalo standing rib roast from TMZ Farms. Garry is the vendor for TMZ beef and buffalo at the Market. This was the main course of our 2007 Christmas dinner. The carrots and parsnips were also from the market.

This is the turkey of our 2008 Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing else seems quite as appropriate for Thanksgiving. It was locally raised and provided by Farmer John of Our Family Farm. During the winter John is at the Market almost every Market day, look for him selling eggs.

Here are some dessert and table decoration ideas. Roses from Dennis Sparr, apple and pumpkin pies.

You probably won't find roses at the Market at Christmas, but there are many evergreen table decorations available. If it warms up a bit Dennis Sparr will be there with poinsettias.

Apples for an apple pie will certainly be plentiful from Kapnicks, Wasems, and Alex Nemeth. Wasems may still have pie pumpkins. If you don't want to make the pie yourself, there is a vendor that makes very good sweet potato and other pies. Both Millpond bakery and Anatolian bakery often have a delectable selection of holiday cookies.

There are many other options. If a rack or crown of lamb appeals to you, then talk to Judy Hannewald, the lamb vendor at the Market. For a traditional goose, talk to John, the egg vendor. He may not be able to supply one from his farm, but may know of another local source. Garry, the beef/buffalo vendor is another possible resource. His sister company, Eat Local Eat Natural, supplies many restaurants with local farm produce. There is a link on the blog list in the side bar.

Some vegetables will still be available at the Market. Look for Dwight Carpenter and Shannon Brines as two notable winter sources.

One great convenience of the Market is that the Kerrytown Shops, the Peoples Food Coop, and Zingermans are all very close. If a food item that you desire is not available at the Market it is very likely available at one of these shops.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Early Winter at the Market

It is now early winter at the Market. The Market does not close but it does change. Many Ann Arborites may not know, but it is a good location for seasonal decorations such as:

a large wreath,

smaller wreaths,

or a tree.

Traditional produce is also still available at the Market. Many items such as:


and fresh greens will be available all winter.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall at the Market

It is Fall at the Farmers Market.   The Market does not close in Fall or Winter it just changes with the season,   like nature.   That is the part of the charm and enjoyment of buying local produce.   It can be a little sad to see a favorite fruit or vegetable leave in Fall but that is balanced by the joy of seeing it return again in the next season.

In the last few years the Market has added several new classes of vendors.   One of these is the meat vendor.   There are now at least three meat vendors offering beef, chicken, bacon, lamb and buffalo.   I have purchase from all three and recommend all of them.

If you prefer traditional vendors here is Alex Nemeth and his apples.   Apples store well and are available at the Market all Winter unless the vendors sells out of his harvest. There are usually three apple vendors at the market until Spring; Nemeths, Kapnicks, and Wasems Orchards.   I regularly buy from all.

The cold tolerant vegetables are still there too.   My parents made saurkrut from excess cabbage in the fall.   If you would like to try that follow the Farmers Marketer link in the right column of this page.   Brussel sprouts are one of my favorites and they can even tolerate some snow.

Don't give up on the flowers either.   Dennis Sparr is at the Market with mums and other cold tolerant flowers late in the season.   I have purchased his greenhouse roses for our Thanksgiving table.   He will have poinsettias until Christmas unless it gets very cold.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Food Gathers at the Market

This post is a little different. I want to recognize a little known contribution of the Market to the Ann Arbor community. Many of the vendors regularly contribute their excess produce to Food Gatherers. Michael Scott of Food Gatherers stated that a typical pick-up from the Market is 1,000 to 2,000 pounds during the harvest season.

Duke Donahee selects tomatoes . . .

and puts them in the Food Gatherers boxes.

Valerie of Jeff Nemeth's farm also packs a Food Gatherers box . . . .

as does Tina Koski

Micheal Scott picks up the boxes from the vendors stalls . . . .

and loads them into the Food Gathers truck.

Our thanks to Food Gathers and the many vendors that support them.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day

Here is another very simple dinner from the Market. Grilled shish-ka-bob from Hannewald Lamb. I added some mild chili peppers, also from the Market to the skewers.

Marinate the lamb in olive oil and lemon juice. You can substitute balsamic vinegar for a different taste, or soy sauce for an oriental flavor. A hot oil or chillies in the marinade would be a central Asian variant.

Friday, August 29, 2008

End of August - Hotel Ozone

Following the theme of the simple Pizza I will present some more of the simple foods that I associate with the harvest season.

One is grilled eggplant. The goal is simply to grill the eggplant until it is soft without burning it or having it stick to the grill. This doesn't require a recipe but it may take a few tries to get it just right.

Start with small eggplants 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. As small as you can conveniently cook without having them falling through the grill. I like the white and purple ones, like these from Tom Rumple. It is a lot easier to see the color change of the skin of these as they cook than it is on pure purple ones.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place the cut surface in a pan of olive oil and lemon juice for about 1/2 hour. I use about 2 parts oil and 1 part lemon juice. The ratio is not important and you can use oil only. The eggplant will absorb the oil, reduce the tendency to stick to the grill, and increase the heat transfer. The lemon juice reduces the amount of oil absorbed and reduces flame up on the grill.

Place on a moderate to low temperature oiled grill, cut side down. The ability to close the grill cover to stop any flame up is helpful, but you can start cooking at the grill edge and then move them to the center. Cook and time the cooking until the eggplants look done but not burned. It will only be 3 to 5 minutes, flip and cook on the reverse side for about the same time, maybe a minute less.

Eat them!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pizza from the August Market

Many years ago when I attended a conference in Naples I bought pizza from a vendor near the harbor. I was surprised at how simple and how good the pizza seemed compared to a typical US pizza of that time. Maybe it was just the location, but I have enjoyed making and eating simple pizza ever since.

Here is our variation of a simple pizza from the Market produce with a little help from the neighboring stores.

             Cherry Tomatoes - Carpenter Organic Produce
             Mozzarella Cheese - Zingerman's Creamery
             Kalamata Olives - Peoples Food Co-op
             Rosemary - Deloras Gracia
             Olive Oil - Sparrows Market

Baking the pizza strongly concentrates the flavor and sugar of the small tomatoes. The rosemary produces a very aromatic pizza, oregano would be more traditional, and basil an interesting alternative.

The hardest part of making the pizza is making the crust. Mill pond bakery used to bring pizza dough to the market. Perhaps if we start asking them for it they will resume bringing it and even place a sign when they have it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August at the Market

August is the beginning of the Fall Harvest Season. Perhaps the best time at the Market. Corn and tomatoes are plentiful. The early squash are in.

But best of all is the beginning of the fall fruit. Apricots are one of my favorites. Fresh peaches may be nicer for immediate consumption, but apricots make a better pie.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26, 2008

Mildred Parker, one of the long term regular vendors at the market recently celebrated her 93rd birthday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


It is summer at the Market. The field grown tomatoes and other summer produce are there. Wilson Farms estimates that their heirloom tomatoes will be there next week.

Here is a photo of a great tomato sandwich from last year. Made with a yellow heirloom tomato, basil, and cheese, all available at the Market.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

May and June

In May the Market begins its transition
from early flowers to the spring produce

first asparagus

and rhubarb

then lettuce


And then in June

Strawberries and

fresh greenhouse tomatoes

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April - Spring is Finally at the Market!

Dennis Sparr's flowers

Deloras Gracia's herbs

Denise Brock's plants,

Joe Ray 's tulips from
his Platt Road Greenhouse

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March at the Market

The forest gnomes have appeared with the first harbingers of spring.
If the pussy willows are here can the flowers be far behind?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Februrary at the Market

We are beginning to see the early signs of spring. More sun, longer days, and slightly warmer temperatures make the hoop house growers happy. Last Saturday Shannon Brines didn't sell out until noon. Here is his story.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January at the Market

In the winter months of January and February the Market rests. It does not sleep or die it just relaxes.

Many varieties of apples will keep 5 months under simple cold storage, longer under controlled atmosphere (low oxygen) conditions. So the apple vendors are usually there unless, or until, they
sell out

The chickens keep laying eggs, so the egg vendors keep coming to the market

Farmer John from Our Family Farm, L.L.C.

Ralph Snow is usually there with his maple syrup, but again this is the end of the season, so it depends on the yield last spring.

Ralph Snow - Snow's Sugar Bush

The real prize is fresh lettuce from Shannon Brines if the weather is not too cold. But you have to get there early.