Tag Archives: farmers market

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the morning with Jim Rockwell, from Toby Run Growers, at the North Market Farmers’ Market. I was preparing samples of Jim’s shitake and oyster mushrooms for the shoppers who braved both the disruption of Park Street festival and the rain. For those of you who didn’t see these beauties, I wanted to share some photos.

The shitakes were good too, but I was captivated by the yellow oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are so called because the shape is reminiscent of an oyster, but some people also think there is a similarity in flavor. They come in a wide variety of colors from gray to pink. At home, our mushroom logs sporadically produce brown and blue oyster mushrooms. Jim grows his mushrooms indoors, mostly on sawdust and therefore does not need to use any chemicals in the process. The question of the day was whether they needed to be washed before use – Jim says no.

I wanted to prepare the mushrooms as simply as possible so that people could really taste their flavor. I sauteed them in a mixture of butter and olive oil with a touch of salt and they were delicious. The smell of the mushrooms cooking had a slightly eggy aroma that reminded me of omelettes. They were so good that even after spending the morning cooking them I wanted to take a box home for lunch. At home, I sauteed them with some garlic scapes and used them as an omelette filling. They would also be good as an accompaniment to a steak, on a pizza, or on toast points.

Jim also sells his mushrooms at the Worthington Farmers Market.

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Peaches and Purslane

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Today was a perfect morning for a walk to the North Market Farmers Market. Beautiful early morning sunlight, dew on the grass and cool in the shadows. The air was clear, the sky was blue and the park is full of flowers. I love August already. The farmers market was also full of flowers and I couldn’t resist a colorful bunch of zinnias, which are just so summery and remind me of my grandmother.

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Sunflower at the North Market

Walking around the market was a feast of color with the fragrance of basil in the air. Peaches are in season now with blackberries, blueberries,cantaloupes, apricots and apples. I made a fruit salad last week with peaches, blueberries and apricots which I ate with greek yoghurt and some honey for breakfast.

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There were all kinds of zucchini and eggplants and although it isn’t prime tomato season you can tell that it isn’t far off. I grilled some small eggplants last week and made Baba Ganoush. It is very similar to hummus but with a smoother texture and a delicate smokiness. The recipe is below.

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The Farmers market makes you realize how generic and boring most supermarket vegetables are. I love Wayward Seed Farm’s Dragon carrots and these multi colored cauliflowers caught my eye in the market this morning.

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One of the more unusual things I found at Toad Hill Organics was Purslane. Tim often has greens that you don’t see elsewhere, last week he also had Lambs quarters. This was the first time I had tried purslane. It has an interesting taste and texture. It looks a little like watercress but it is much more sturdy. It is crunchy but there is something slightly slimy about it once you chew it. It is very fresh tasting and the stems in particular have a strong citrus flavor. Apparently you can cook it, and use it as a thickener in soups and stews, but we just ate it in a salad. The citrusy flavor went well with crab cakes.

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I also bought cherry tomatoes, corn and green beans to make one of my favorite Peter Berley salads for a pot luck tomorrow; Austrian crescent fingerling potatoes and candy stripe beets, and eggs and rainbow chard to make our Slow Food Fritatta.

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Baba Ganoush (adapted from Claudia Roden)

6 small eggplants
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin powder
garnish with finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and some cayenne pepper

Grill the eggplants. You can either do this over a gas flame on your stove, under the grill or on the barbecue. The latter is preferable. You want to blacken the skin, but do it slowly enough that the eggplant inside will soften. Mine blackened too quickly and I ended up gently sauteeing the eggplant in olive oil to soften it further.

When the skins are charred, allow the eggplant to cool slightly (if you put them in a ziplock bag the steam will help to cook the eggplant and loosen the skin). Then scrape and wash off the skin under cold running water.

Put the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste and add more of any of the seasonings to your preference.

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May Farmers Markets

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May marks the return of the farmers markets and I am so glad to have them back. Last year I was a North Market devotee and while it is still my nearest and dearest, this year I have decided to branch out and explore some of the other farmers markets that Columbus and Ohio have to offer. I have written several times before about why I love shopping at farmers markets. Suffice to say it makes me happy and whilst part of me wishes I lived somewhere with outdoor markets all year round, I think the seasonality makes me appreciate the markets even more. 

My first market trip of the year was to the North Market and it was wonderful to see the familiar faces and all of their beautiful produce. Whilst the market was much smaller than it will be at the height of summer, many of my favorite stall holders were there including the Rhoades’, Elizabeth Telling, Toad Hill Farm and Blue Jacket Dairy. Blue Jacket have some new cheeses this year including a feta, Ludlow and the dessert like mountain mist quark with cinnamon and cranberries. 

May is not the most bountiful month but there are some delights to be found. The early birds at the North Market were even rewarded with local morels but sadly I was not one of them. Our Ohio has a handy reference guide of what is in season when.  

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My staples this month have been asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and beautiful young salad greens. We have mainly been grilling the asparagus, marinated in some olive oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper. The rhubarb I make into a compote and eat by itself or with yoghurt. My love of radishes has not abated and I pounced on them and also on some freshly picked English peas in the pod. There are lots of herbs, cut and in pots, flowers (including irises and peonies), praying mantis nests (for natural pest control), mushrooms, cheese and eggs. The curled cress was amazingly potent – the flavor is reminiscent of nasturtium flowers but fluffy and delicate though it appears it packs a punch like wasabi. 

It is fun when you see something for sale in the market and realize that you have it at home in your garden – I have been experimenting with garlic scapes and chive blossoms. The chive blossoms are beautiful and can be tossed into a salad or as pictured used in an omelette. My weeding has taken on a new dimension since I discovered that what I thought was clover is actually yellow wood sorrel and it tastes like granny smith peel – yum! 

The second market I have been visiting regularly is the Pearl Market in downtown Columbus. It is open on Tuesday and Friday lunchtimes and is surprisingly large and varied. It has been operating downtown since 1992. You can get some lunch, do some shopping and if nothing in the market appeals to you, it is a great excuse to go to El Arepazo Latin Grill for some wonderful Venezuelan food. There are some prepared food stalls (the highlight so far is Nellie’s samosas), baked goods, some sweet treats (try Jimmie’s old fashioned nut brittle), ice cream, cheese, crafts and clothes, plants and farm produce. The crowds of office workers grabbing lunch and some fresh air make it a decidedly different vibe to saturday mornings at the North Market. 

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Having spent months tracking taco trucks, it is probably not surprising that any mobile food vendor catches my eye. Red Snapper a Jamaican food truck is a regular at Pearl market and on other days can be found on Cleveland Avenue. We tried the brown stew with rice, beans and cabbage and it was tasty and good value. I want to go back and try the jerk chicken which seems to be their most popular dish. The owners have only operated the truck for a month or so, previously running a restaurant of the same name before deciding to go mobile. 

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Yesterday I went on a road trip to Granville farmers market. Granville is an idyllic college town and you could easily be fooled into thinking you were in New England. It was the opening day of the farmers market and we were warmly welcomed. I think there were around 40 stalls and lots to choose from: lots of fruit and vegetables, meat, cheeses, breads, baked goods, honey, flowers and plants. It was probably a good thing that my imminent trip restricted my purchases. There were lots of samples on offer and some of the displays were really beautiful. 

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As well as some fruit and vegetables, I bought some of the tasty hot trail Bologna from Olde Village Meat (Frazeysburg); the most flavorful hamburger meat I have ever had from Long Meadows Grass Beef (Utica) and a french baguette from Lucky Cat Farm (Pataskala) and I couldn’t resist a walnut cinnamon roll for breakfast. IMG_3072

I had heard about the Granville farmers market because it is the main market for Dick Jensen of Flying J farm (where we had the shake the hand that feeds you dinner) and also Janelle Baron of Blue Owl Hollow (where we went to the mushroom log workshop). I saw Dick (and bought some maple syrup) and Janelle and her husband Peter who had a fragrant and fascinating array of herbs including five varieties of mint. I hadn’t seen curly mint before and Janelle gave me samples of all five to compare. 

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Normally Janelle and Peter have some of their baked goods to show people what they can do with some of the more unusual herbs. Having sampled their fantastic food at the mushroom workshop, it would be worth another trip to Granville just for that. 

We were told that Granville will also be having a smaller market on Tuesday afternoons during the summer. I can’t find any details online but if you are looking for farmers markets, farms or CSAs close to you, Local Harvest is a great resource.

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