Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner from the Market

The Farmers Market may not seem a likely place for the basis of a fresh locally grown dinner in February, but it is possible. We didn't start with the goal of an all local dinner but we were surprised how close it came.

First course was fresh salad greens from Brines Farms. I think february 14th was the first time Shannon Brines was at the Market in 2009. The earlier absence was hardly surprising considering the temperature and snow. I was quite happy to see his hoop house could keep a crop even under the January adverse conditions and deliver fresh greens with just a bit warmer weather and some sunshine.

The main course was an elk steak. The steak came from Gary, the beef/buffalo vendor at the Market, through his speciality food distribution company. It was not local and is not available at the Market. Gary has been at the Market all winter representing TMZ Farms and substituting a cut of beef or buffalo from them would have kept the main course local and from the Market.

The final element of our dinner, was dessert from the market. Two alfajores from Maitelates of the Market were an outstanding conclusion to a simple, but elegant diner, primarily from the Market.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Late Winter at the Market

There are two primary reasons to shop at the market, local and fresh products.

In the middle of Winter the meat and egg vendors are the only farm vendors meeting both of these criteria. But Millpond bakery and Maitelates , the chocolate cookie person, were there last week with fresh local baked products. Maitelates now sells jars of Dulche de Leche, a creamy caramel, that is wonderful as a sauce over Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream from Sparrow Market.

All three apple vendors are very consistently there selling local farm produce from storage. One vendor was there with stored root vegetables. A few artisans also come all year. Throughout the coldest days of Winter there has been 10 to 20 vendors at the Market every Saturday.

Last Saturday, Gary the TMZ beef/buffalo vendor was using the very cold weather to complete the freezing of some freshly packed beef and buffalo. Of course we bought some. At the time another customer asked "What does buffalo taste like" Gary referred the question to me, and the short answer is beef. A more complete comparison is here.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle has more information on Maitelates.