Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday at the Farmer's Market

Now that I've switched from the weekday farmshare to the Saturday morning farmers' market, where I shop at a dozen different farmstands, Saturday has become my day of frenzied prep, cooking, freezing, noshing and generally fooling about with great food.

Finally the stone fruit are in, and peaches and apricots -- well, the apricots are nearly out again, but I never saw any before this week -- were part of my shop.  The peach farm lady gave me a free peach over what I'd bought for bringing in my own bag, nice bonus. 

And another keen shopper at the apricot place was buying large amounts, to make jam.  Evidently planning on a major jamboree, you might say.  Nowadays I don't make huge quantities, and the big enamel pot I used to use has long since been coopted for natural dyeing purposes.  But you can make modest amounts very easily, medium saucepan, fruit, sugar, lemon juice, pinch of salt, no pectin needed. 

So I made two jars of apricot preserves this afternoon, using most of a box of apricots.  I do keep a couple of fresh fruit out for just eating, in these frenzies.  Preserves are where there are whole pieces of fruit in the mix, different from jam where the fruit is all reduced.

And the peaches are now sliced, diced, macerated, spiced, sauce reduced and added,  and frozen ready to make into a crumble when the spirit moves me.

Tomatoes are coming in now, still expensive but wonderful, so worth it.  Just diced, bit of sea salt, olive oil, sherry vinegar, perfect. Every lunch is tomato salad plus mixed green salad, easy, no planning needed.

And the redskin potatoes, which look all muddy when you buy them, then when they're washed suddenly turn into rubies, are waiting their turn at potato salad later in the week.

So, after all this excitement, afternoon tea was fresh-baked hot biscuits (about fifteen minutes from thinking of it to eating them!) with sunflower seeds, and a nice spoonful of the apricot preserves, there's simply nothing better.  Hercule Poirot would have liked a spot of this with his breakfast croissant, not being a lover of marmalade.

There's a lovely drama about fruit that was growing on the trees this morning, picked at dawn and brought into market, then home with me and cooked, all the flavor totally still there.  Selected friends might get a bit of this, too. 

Then this afternoon torrential, tropical rainstorms, and I looked out to see an undaunted hummingbird in the rain, working over my red lantana on the fencetop.  I wanted flowers at that level when I planned the container for the flower thing, because I'd observed hummingbirds like to be about there, and they obligingly are.  

The hummer did retreat to the shelter of the pine tree outside but he has clearly spotted the red flowers and I expect he'll be back.  Much better than sugar water, since there's actual nutrition in the real flower.  I'm providing him the hummer equivalent of the farmers' market.

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