I love a good farmers market. Getting the chance to check out a cluster of good local vendors is a treat, and something I make it a point to do several times a year. It’s not the cheapest way to eat, but it’s the best, hands down.
In late June, strawberries are at the peak of the season, and in turn the market specifically highlights them with their annual “strawberry social”. Participating farmers are encouraged to find creative methods to incorporate them into their cooking. Some of this year’s choices included jams, pies, and even strawberry cider.
The first booth that my wife and I hit wasn’t actually strawberry related, but the smell of savory Indian cooking was enough to lure us in, like rats to the cheese. Bombay Garden is actually a local restaurant, but they bring offerings of their goods to the local markets too. We got a fresh chicken samosa for $3.50, and the difference between one of these and a frozen one was so noticeable. The crust was flaky, and broke away easily. It was stuffed with delicious bits of pulled chicken, onions, carrots, peas, and a tasty blend of spices. For those of you who fear Indian cuisine for the heat, the samosas from Bombay Garden might be right up your alley; the heat is nil, but you’re still left with all the wonderful flavors that make Indian such a treat.
Next up, Avonmore Berry Farm was calling out to us. I mean, the whole reason we were here was the strawberries. The baskets looked stunning, with pristine, perfectly ripe red berries overflowing. These were not Walmart berries. Never sprayed for bugs, you can eat them as soon as you buy them.
We weren’t sure what size we wanted, but that’s when we spied the strawberry shortcake. I mean come on, is there anything that screams summer more than strawberries piled high on a biscuit, and topped with sweet whipped cream? We decided to use this as the litmus test for our inevitable strawberry purchase. One bite, and it was clear they’d just sold us on the biggest basket they had available; 4 litres for $19. Given the speed at which the bulk of the basket was eaten at dinner by my young nephews and the family, it was a wise decision.
Our final stop was Hall’s Apple Market. One of my favorite treats when I travel through the South is to get fresh flaky biscuits, and liberally apply apple butter. Unfortunately, the high sugar content doesn’t always love me – so while I passed on that today (having already exceeded my quota with the shortcake), I was excited to see that they offered No Sugar Added apple cider, relying only on the sweetness from the pressed apples themselves. I sampled the goods, and promptly plunked down the $7 for a 4 litre jug. There’s nothing that says I have to wait until September to get my cider on. You shouldn’t wait either. The farmers market runs weekly, after all.