Last Oak Park Farmer’s Market, 2008

October 26, 2008 at 9:08 am

Rob Gardner

Before laying out all my wife and I bought, let me also direct you to my latest whine on the lack of four season farming.  Also, just because my main market, Oak Park wrapped up, and many other area markets wrapped up, does not mean yours has gone to sleep.  Green City is outdoors for one more week, then indoors for at least another few months, with apparent plans for even longer marketing.   As I wrote last week, you have some Loop-based options.  A full slew of winter markets, starting November 8, will meet weekly around the Chicago area. Follow the Local Beet for more details, but for now, you can find the latest schedule here.  Still, for me, yesterday was a market like there was no tomorrow.

We got:

  • The only two good looking red bell peppers left at Farmer Vicki’s Genesis Growers – Most likely will be roasted and used in some sort of cold dish.
  • Poblano peppers – from Genesis Growers, jalepenos from Catalina Farms.  Some time soon, but not too soon, my supply of fresh peppers will end.  Sob, sob.  I have this idea of braising a pork shoulder with peppers, that’s where the poblanos come in.  The peppers just sit in bowls in the dining room.
  • Sweet potatoes – several more pounds, from Genesis Growers.  These were a more traditional garnet style, not the “yams” from the other day.  Good keepers but Vicki’s smaller potatoes will need to be eaten before the bigger ones.  Being kept in the attic.
  • Various fancy, heirloom style potatoes from Nichol’s – fingerlings, German butterball, red thumb, something blue – These are the potatoes to call on when you most want to show off the flavor of potato.  Cannot go wrong in the roaster.  These were priced to sell yesterday, and I am hoping to steal a few more if I can make it to other markets in the coming weeks.  Of course they keep well.  Attic.
  • Butternut squash – two, from Genesis Growers.  A good, versatile, well lasting squash that can at times be a bit bland, so season accordingly.  My wife has soup in mind with these.  Stored in the basement “canning room.”
  • Golden cauliflower – one large head, from GG.  In the fridge, this will last fairly long.  Cauliflower is one of my favorite veg.  I like to roast it and dress it with a strong vinaigrette, olives alongside; I like to puree the stuff with cheese and milk (or cream!), and I like it cold with my wife’s home-made mayo–amongst other preps.  Fridge.
  • Beets – two bunches of three, with greens, from GG.  One of the best keeping veg, it’s survived in our attic, which is cold, but does better in the colder fridge.  Although a pain to peel, beets taste great.  They go well with fresh white cheeses and also stand up well to garlic.  Why the Greeks traditionally serve beets with the garlic heady spread, skordalia.  I was just reading Jane Grigson last night on how insipid beet greens are.   I do not find that at all, but I do note that beet greens have a short shelf life.  Use as you would cooked spinach or chard.
  • Eggplants – several skinny ones, from GG.  My wife wants to make again, her Mado-based eggplant with rosemary honey dish.  A great thing about this dish, it’s good hot or cold.  Eggplants in the upstairs fridge.
  • Green tomatoes – We got all left from Catalina Farm and then about seven pounds from Nichol’s.  We have three plans for them, but not sure if we will do all three things.  We want to make a chutney.  We want to pickle and we want to bread and fry.  The tomatoes went to the dark attic.  Caution, the greenest tomatoes will ripen, so if it’s the sour, green flavors you want, don’t dawdle.
  • Red torpedo onions – two quarts from Genesis.  Because only one person in this Local Family really likes raw onions, these will almost all go for cooking needs.  Basement canning room.
  • Red onions – eight pound bag from the Farm.  See above.
  • Cippolini onions – 2 quarts, from Sandhill organic.  Like the green tomatoes, there is no end to my plans for these, but mostly I am hankering for them roasted agrodolce.
  • Brussels Sprouts – We could not resist the Christmas tree sized stalk of Brussels Sprouts at Stovers.  How big?  It would not fit on the stalk into the fridge.  Instead, I had to battle for about forty-five minutes to de-stalk the heads so as to bag ‘em.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but we loved-loved another Mado copied dish, shredded Brussels sprouts with lemon and Parmesan cheese (we used Sarvechio).  Brussels sprouts take well to pork (Mado’s also serving them now with their house made bacon) and mustard.  Fridge.
  • 1/2 bushel Granny Smith apples – Ellis Farm.  When I did picked out a variety of apples last week, from Skibbes, I included some Granny Smith.  It’s good, however, to have a pile dedicated just to this type.  The great thing about this apple is, well the kids, who like sour, would eat them outta hand, but we mostly reserve them for culinary use.  And not even for pies, although that would work.  Rather, there are all sorts of salads, certain soups, other dishes, that require a tart apple or two.  We are prepared.  In the attic.
  • Garlic – Can never have an enough, so on impulse, I got five heads from Nichols.
  • Cucumbers – Three, the Farm.  ‘Cause we still can.