Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good News about the Markets

My garden grew madly while I was away last week. The poppies have burst into bloom, the butterfly bushes are leafing up nicely, and the clematis is climbing. In the edible category, there’s arugula and chives ready for the salad bowl and that reminds me that northeast Ohio is finally into harvest mode. I'm hoping to find asparagus, greens, peas, rhubarb, and maybe even broccoli at the farmers market this weekend. I’ll be doing my shopping at the Countryside Farmers’ Market in Peninsula. I don’t usually drive so far for my vegetables- especially with North Union’s Shaker Square Market just five minutes from my front door- but this Saturday, May 30, I’ll be down at the Peninsula Market selling and signing copies of the just published update of my book, Cleveland Ethnic Eats, from 10 am to noon. The event is part of opening day festivities for the new location at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I love bringing home bags of earthy scented fresh picked produce. I did a lot of that last spring, summer and fall. Combining business with pleasure, my husband, photographer Barney Taxel and I were on assignment, exploring some of the many farmers’ markets in the region for a story that appears in the June issue of Cleveland Magazine. It will help you find out where to go and show you how to get the most out of your market experience as well as introduce you to a few of the fascinating farmers and vendors who set up for business under tents in fields and parking lots. Food writer Russ Parsons of the LA Times also offers some advice for market goers. In his piece , he suggests that shoppers ditch lists and recipes- an approach echoed by everyone I interviewed for my article- and improvise just like a jazz musician. It's a sort of hot licks, cool cooking philosophy that's based on working with what you find.

Any farmer's market regulars out there with tips for us about being a savvy shopper? Please share them here.

Photo courtesy of Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group

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