Gaining Ground Farm
Spring and summer have been ultra busy with teaching a few classes, my niece’s wedding, my daughters graduation from Chapel Hill, a trip to Italy and France, the busy season at work, and my daughter starting her post-graduation job – thus my market visits this season have been sporadic or a quick dash before work.
Today was my first leisurely Saturday in quite a while. My Saturday plan? The tailgate market of course. So…rain happened…the kind of rain that my friend Stacia would call a “lady rain” – slow, steady, and penetrating.
No. The rain wasn’t going to stop me. I got my raincoat and my wide-brimmed hat (umbrella-like) and set off for the beckoning market. Despite the weather, the parking lot was surprisingly full of customer vehicles. LOVE the hard-core customer base of each tailgate market, because all the farmers/bakers/ venders were there rain or shine – waiting for us to show up.
I had the luxury of visiting with some of my vendor buddies this morning, ate an entire sticky bun (made with Carolina Ground flour), and gathered delicious goodies for the coming week.
Full Sun Farm’s lettuce mix has been addicting. Their mix dramatically contrasts the listless mixes from the grocery store; Vanessa’s mix is vibrant and fresh for many days. It’s full of life. This is true of other lettuce mixes at the market too. Get the lively stuff! A customer in Gaining Ground’s booth was rhapsodizing about the red onions and how beautifully they cook up. Anne also had sure-to-be-tender baby eggplants. Gorgeous tomatoes splashed their reds across the market, including heirlooms and cherries. Even though I still have a couple of tomatoes from the West Asheville Market on Tuesday, I got a couple more to make sure that my lunch sandwiches have sunshine-y tomatoes as a main feature! Mountain Harvest Organics had ‘Red Gold’ potatoes which I wanted to plant those this year (but didn’t)…so I going to taste them courtesy of Julie & Carl’s farm.
Three Graces Dairy let me sample some of their hard cheese and “Pas de Trois” was my choice – a cheese made from cow, goat, and sheep milk. The amazing cheese shops we visited in Italy and France left a lasting impression – so many choices, so little time. I pray I never have to give up dairy products.
I ate my entire sticky bun while I was at the market. I confess that I intended to cut it into fourths and eat it in parts over the next day. Ha. Plus, from Cathy Osada, I have one slice of the-real-deal pound cake waiting in the wings.
What was most impressive about today was the number of customers who did show up. I heard one farmer say they would probably only make one-third of their normal income because of the weather, but all were in good spirits and the sky even looked a little brighter as I left. Once more, I must underscore how very blessed we are to have beautiful markets so accessible to us throughout most of the week. Giant gold stars to those who are out supporting the farmers and vendors on inclement weather days. If you stayed home and cozy this week, think about grabbing your umbrella next time to ensure these farmers will keep bringing their beautiful foods to our markets and making our dinner tables shine with something money can’t buy.
Pas de Trois Cheese, baby eggplant, lettuce mix, paste tomato, pound cake, red onion bunch, tomato, lettuce mix, ‘Red Gold’ potatoes