Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Farmer's Market in December

An article on locavore cooking the other day got me to thinking. What options were there at our local farmer's market during the "off" season. Sure, I hit the place weekly during the growing season to get tomatoes, squash, green beans and more. And I've been intrigued by the increasing variety of non-fruit/non-vegetable options that have begun to show up. But what about December?

So I decided to trek downtown this past weekend and see what was going on. The atmosphere was perfect for my hunt. Mid-thirties, cloudy and blustery. I knew I wasn't going to find many growing green things this time.

But I DID find a cornucopia of locally-produced items that were quite satisfying. Here's my scouting report:

  • Olive oil and garlic-stuffed olives from Texas Olive Ranch. The oil is yellowy-green and viscous and puts a tickle at the back of your throat when you taste it. I can't wait to try the garlic-stuffed olives in a martini made with Tito's Vodka, another Texas find.

  • Bison chili and stuffed jalapenos from Chapman Chile Kitchen, recently named one of the best new restaurants in Dallas by D Magazine. The chili (no beans, we got the mild version) has a nice heat and a bit of sweetness. The stuffed peppers, baked not fried, keep a nice crunch when you reheat them. I'm definitely going to have to head to their place for lunch soon. Can't wait to try the blue cheese bison burger.

  • Wheat bread from Mennonite bakers Rosey Ridge Farms. The cinnamon rolls also looked awfully tempting.

  • I usually buy my eggs from JUHA Ranch's booth, but she was out. She sent me "next door" and I bought a couple of dozen from Busy B's Market. Scrambled up Sunday morning, they were rich and the most beautiful orange-yellow you've ever seen.

  • I also replenished my stock of cookies from Wackym's Kitchen. (Strangely enough, I first found these little goodies at a local car wash!) The crisp wafers come in all sorts of interesting flavors. I love the salted caramel and margarita versions for the tough of salt you get in every bite.

Lesson learned. There's still plenty to discover even when the tomatoes are long gone. As a matter of fact, it's opened my eyes up to a lot more local possibilities. I'm thinking of experimenting sometime in the spring by going completely local for a week. It's clear there's plenty out there to help me do it.

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