A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about the Public Market. When I came across this article with dos and don’ts for shopping at a farmers market I went back to reread what I wrote and decided to share it again and add to what I had written.
Every Saturday morning I still go to the Rochester Public Market. I am always struck by what a great resource it is for everyone. Not to mention I love the whole atmosphere and vibe. There are all kinds of people from every walk of life wandering around and enjoying the market. There is one man I often see riding his bike around and asking if I want to hear a joke. We then trade jokes back and forth (What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back? A stick! Do you know the difference between toilet paper and a shower curtain? No? Then I don't want you to come to my house!) I get to see vendors who recognize me and help me pick out the best they have to offer. I sometimes run into people I know and we compare notes on where to get the best cherries or lettuce. This time of year the market is over flowing with produce and products.
The Public Market is different from a farmers market because it offers much more than fresh food and there are vendors who are not actual farmers. Some are brokers who bring in product from wholesalers and then offer it to buyers. A farmers market will generally be comprised of the actual farmers or their representatives. I try to buy from the stands that are manned by the local farmers, but if I need lemons or avocados or other products we do not grow here, I look for the best options. The article I linked to in the first paragraph has great tips on how to make the most of your trip to a market, including don't be in a hurry, ask questions and if it is okay to sample. She also talks about money and haggling (bring small bills and don't haggle). I would add bring your own bag or bags. Better yet, carry a market basket that will help prevent squishing your fresh peaches with carrots.
If you have not visited our market in Rochester or a farmers market near you, I highly recommend going. There is something very cool about preparing a meal with food that you know came from only a few miles away from home and you can picture the person who harvested it. I often will put dinner on the table and say “Louie and Anita, from Walworth, grew the vegetables we are eating.” Every Saturday I treat myself to an egg sandwich made with eggs gathered within hours of my purchase. Markets truly are a resource that everyone should take advantage of as often as possible.
This week’s recipe uses the parts of vegetables that often get thrown away.
Vegetable Top Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic scape or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 small white potatoes or 2 medium chopped into 1” pieces
Green tops from 1 bunch of radishes, washed and roughly chopped*
Leafy tops from 1 bunch of celery
1 cup fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2-3 tablespoons greek yogurt
Thinly sliced radishes for garnish
*I will be trying this soup with carrot tops this summer.