Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farmers Market Season is Back in Full Swing

The opening day of the Saturday outdoor farmers market hosted by Countryside Conservancy was yesterday.  As I stood at the entrance of Howe Meadow visiting with old friends, and admiring the spectacular outdoor kitchen brought by Ohio Proud, and the new tents the Conservancy was able to purchase through donations, I remembered that just a few short years ago, the market was a lot different than it is today.

The original market site in Peninsula, in a small gravel lot at Heritage Farms, featured a much smaller number of vendors and products.  That gravel lot was a pain if you forgot and wore sandals, which guaranteed you'd need to stop about every six steps and shake out your shoes.  A small, but dedicated following swelled into a stuffed parking lot, and lots of folks waiting until the opening bell rang, then the rush for the best selection.

Last year the market moved to much roomier outdoor location at Howe Meadow.  Tons of parking, even when there is a co-hosted event at the site, which gets a lot of horse/camping events, and plenty of room for the vendors to spread out, set-up and sell.

In addition to a lot a familiar faces, this year several new vendors are at the market, including a gluten-free baker, Mrs. P's Gluten Free Bakery.

The asparagus went fast, but there was plenty of green garlic, tender greens, beets, turnips, along with some new, delicious cheeses from Mayfield Road Creamery.  I have a chunk of smoked Havarti and can't wait to try the blue cheeses.

Award for the best makeshift market basket goes to Kris Rosenfeld,  from Eat a Rainbow, Make a Body Smile, who put this box from her car to good use. (No the mouse was no longer in residence).

It was good to see fresh, delicious food, old friends and new friends.  I hope to see you too at the market, which is every Saturday from 9 am - noon.  The Thursday market held at Stan Hywet will debut for the season on June 3rd, where yours truly will be doing the chef's demo.

To celebrate the beginning of the season, and the beautiful day, I decided to grill a steak, quick roast my asparagus, and do a riff on a Crushed Potato and Watercress Cake recipe from Fine Cooking.  Since I bought a bunch of the beautiful green garlic, show above, I used that, instead of the garlic, and I substituted Lucky Penny Creamery's fresh chevre for the mascarpone.  Awesome!

Here's my version of the recipe:

Crushed Potato and Watercress Cakes  (Inspired by Nancy Oakes at Fine

1 1/2 pounds of small, thin skinned waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Black Pepper
5 T. olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced
1 small bunch of green garlic, chopped
1/2 # pound watercress, stemmed and chopped (Basketeria now carries the root on packages - I used the whole package)
1/2 c. fresh, local Lucky Penny Creamery chevre

Preheat oven to 367 with rack in center. Scrub spuds and pat them dry. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake ti tender when poked with a fork, about 30-40 min.  Remove and set aside in large bowl to cool.

While potatoes are cooling, heat 2 T. of oil in large skillet over medium.  Add onion, green garlic, pinch of salt and saute until softened, 5 min or so.  Add the watercress, season,  and toss til wilted.

Squish the potatoes with the back of soup spoon and break them into chunks.  Add the mix from the skillet, the chevre, and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Divide and shape into patties about 2" across and 1/2" thick.

Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium and saute cakes in batches til golden.


  1. Green garlic is the hottest new ingredient for the spring! Christopher Ranch in CA now has it April-October, so you can continue to enjoy it when it is no longer in season at your farmers market!

  2. Oh, the market (and your dinner) look wonderful! I think it will a few weeks before we see anything like that here in MA. Keep posting pictures and stories - they're great!

  3. Is Summit Croissants there again this year? Talk about a line!

  4. Summit Croissants is there, plus at Stan Hywet market on Thursdays.

    Try her granola - it's fantastic!


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