Sunday, August 7, 2011

trail setters: a day at the farmers market

Summer is market season, and thus it's always the busiest season for me. I often have lots of dreams right about this time dealing with produce: dreams where I'm helping a customer and bagging their vegetables and then I don't give them accurate change, dreams where I spill fingerlings and huckleberries all over the sidewalk (wait...I've done that in real life), dreams where the scale isn't working or dreams where I'm surrounded by homegrown kohlrabi microgreens and everyone is excited and cheering for me (that was last night's dream). Yeah. This year I'm especially busy since I'm working the produce section of our local co-op as well and maintaining a household, wrangling furbabies and a husband, and keeping my vegetable garden happy and healthy. As most folks already know or probably already suspect, I've been a part of the market scene since I was a kid, so I've grown up with a lot of the farmers and vendors I work with. In a sense, we're like a giant family or community where everyone knows everyone.

Yesterday was a slower day at the market (SeaFair's going on this weekend), so I could take the time to catch a few photos of my family's tomato stand, Flying Tomato Farm, and the stand I work at, Frog's Song Farm. It's been a cold summer this year, so everything, again, is late. We have had sugar snap peas and rhubarb just until last week! All the way through August! And I haven't seen any west-side green beans yet...although chanterelles (a late September mushroom) are already showing up out in the wild. Freaky weather. Anyway, I'm very happy that my family's now making it out to markets with some tomatoes and cucumbers. The top two photos are of their stand. In previous years they've been at the market with their produce as early as May, but they decided not to heat their greenhouse this year and the cool weather contributed to the wait. But let me tell you, their tomatoes have been worth this wait. I made a delicious caprese salad yesterday after the market using their tomatoes and cucumbers. Mmm mmm crunchy, juicy goodness.

The bottom three photos are from the Frog's Song Farm stand. Frog's Song Farm's produce comes from a small, family farm based on Fir Island (up near Conway/LaConner). It's beautiful up of these days I'll post some photos of the area. As far as the market's concerned, we have had so much more variety than what we started the cold season with. Now we have the following up for grabs: several types of fingerling and round potatoes (apple rose finns and peruvian purples made their appearance this week), french breakfast radishes, Japanese salad turnips, chioga and classic purple beets, nantes and heirloom rainbow and big n' ugly carrots, fava beans, red and golden raspberries (though the red raspberries may be on their way out), loose and bunched spinach, rainbow chard, red and white kale, salad mix, all sorts of head lettuce, sweet onions, red onions, shallots, head cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, the first of the chanterelles, zucchini and their squash blossoms, sweet pea flowers, sunflowers, and much more that I'm probably forgetting. Anyway, that cute gal in the last photo is a my super awesome and creative coworker, Heidi. She lives in Kingston and takes the ferry over to sell with me. We always have a fun time working together (especially since we share an affinity for sweet, sweet baked goods from the market as well as the pasta man's rice pudding, oh lord!). She also hooked me up with a darling black rabbit yesterday...but that's a story for next time!

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