Adventures in cooking sustainably, healthfully, and locally

Until Dave puts the kybosh on it anyway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Farmer's Markets!

Now with the future of our garden uncertain, it became more important than ever to get my tush down to a farmer's market. So I went to two.

This is the Littleton Market, a great big circle of vendors hawking their wares.

Sure there were a few restaurant/non-farm entities there but that's ok. This time the farmer's outnumbered the others, and you got a couple of people who were just there to sell their home baked/cooked creations. Like the woman from Tasmania who sold me a jar of this salsa eggplant awesomeness. I even got her business card too. In fact, I started gathering a ton of business cards because I wasn't ready to commit to buying everything. Here's a rundown from the Littleton market:
  • Unique Pastry, Inc: salsa eggplant awesomeness, plus mini stollen-eqsue breads. Made me homesick for Christmas and my mom and sister, and grandma. :)
  • Royal Crest Dairy: Didn't buy anything this time around, but they deliver and make a ton of stuff from Colorado dairy cows. Definitely keeping it on the list.
  • Snow Creek Ranch Steaks: Pro is that they are family owned. Con is that the cows are in Kansas. Shoot.
  • Pappardelle's Pasta: Pro is that it's all handmade in Colorado. Con is that the semolina is produced in the Dakota's. Since wheat is a tricky thing, I bought a pack anyway.
  • Rocky Mountain Rice Co: This is the only guy in two market's that seemed to loathe that he needed to answer questions. Sure, Colorado isn't a water mecca but the watery Mesa County has plenty of lakes; how was I supposed to be sure Colorado makes ZERO rice? Especially with a company name of ROCKY MOUNTAIN RICE CO.? Sheesh. I include the link because I know some peeps from MN and they do have wild rice patties there. But why you would buy from a company headquartered in CO I have no idea. Moving on!
  • Styria Bakery II: Bought an asiago loaf. Dave and I had some last night and will again tonight. Yeasty, but good stuff. Very friendly. Product is made in Colorado, but again the flour comes from elsewhere.
  • Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy, LLC: Sampled a bit of their feta. What I wanted was some of the plain chevre to try, but I didn't see any. I did take one of their nifty flyers and want to order some. All goats are home grown!

Today I took Hailey for a walk to the downtown area of Parker for their farmer's market. HOLY MOLY it was huge! We had a good time.

Many of the same vendors were there (walked right past snooty Rocky Mountain Rice guy) and a bit more non-food vendors. I stopped to talk to this sweet woman who puts together care packages for dogs (K9 Care Package). She (and other vendors) had out dog biscuits and water bowls, which was nice cuz Hails was a bit thirsty. After the anticipated discussion about Hailey's allergies (because she tried to give her some treats), she was happy that I shared my pup's ailments because she wants to cater to all doggie lifestyles. I thought she was very nice.

Three places caught my eye enough to nab business cards:

  1. KIM's Gourmet Sauces and Marinades: Just tasty. They claimed the only stuff that isn't local is the soy in some of their sauces. Didn't buy any this time, but maybe in the future (we've got plenty of sauces at home at the moment). Website doesn't seem to be working at the moment.
  2. Sweet Pea Creations: We bonded over lab talk. Everything they make is Colorado home made, but as you can see when you look at their ingredient list much of it is pretty exotic. Wasn't ready to buy, but will certainly be excited to try. ... Hey, that rhymed.
  3. Bookcliff Vineyards: Shockingly, I was certainly ready to buy. ;) A winery that is clear across the state in Palisade, the lady convinced me to try a couple of their cheaper wines (a table red and a table white). I'll report when I actually crack them open, but now they are all nestled in our wine rack waiting for the opportune moment. She was a great seller: kind, interested in the customer, willing to talk shop but also tone it down a bit when she saw that I was a true amateur (i.e. I know some, but I really don't know anything). It was the only money I spent at this farmer's market, but I'm really glad I did.

Now it is time for confessions: I'm finding that fruit that I like is hard to come by. I like grapes. I am obsessive over strawberries. I crave bananas. But they are either getting out of season or aren't available period here. I mean, bananas! Can I give up bananas? Only time will tell.

I fully intend to put grapes and strawberries on the garden menu for next season. In the previous post, I put up a picture of our garden. That whole area is dedicated to our future garden endeavors, so I'm hoping to fill it up with as much as possible.

In the meantime I just have to depend on these farmer's markets and maybe a CSA throughout the winter. So far, that doesn't sound half bad!

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