Oak Park Farmer's Market June 8, 2005
Thursday, Thursday, there was a time when I tried to report on the market as soon as I got home. Let me just say that certain members of my family did not appreciate a detour in the middle of an otherwise busy weekend, so I am left to blog the market when I get around to it. Luckily, I have the steeltrap memories of the Chowhounditas to remember what we bought.
Strawberries. This was another week of strawberries. Nicholl's Farms gave out tastes of about six varieties of strawberries. We liked the intensity of Noreastener, but as we were taking samples from the last available pint, we did not want a short stack. We settled on two: Idea and Sparkle. Idea had a distinct and strong undertone of funk, what sophisticates call plummy, what realists call barnyard and what those without subtly say, tastes a bit like sh*t. But of course, all in a good way. Complex. Special. The guy at Nicholl's said they were considered the closest to the wild strawberries of France. Sparkle were much opposite. Super-sweet like bubble gum but with enough nuance that they did not seem cloying.
While strawberries dominated the market, the first sweet cherries appeared at a couple of vendors. Fresh local cherries sing the way cherries trucked in from long distances cannot, but the first of the year are less than juicy, harbingers for what will come. Otherwise, pretty much more of the same, a lot of lettuces and related greens, snow peas, sugar snaps, shelling peas, rhubarb, spring onions. I should report that Nicholl's Farms had a few small containers of fresh red currents, perhaps to show they can then because there is a real market for fresh currents. The first crops of fresh flowers gave the market a much fuller look.
The bad news of the market: I spoke too soon on the faux vendors. Buried in the plant shop at the Southeast corner of the market is the dreaded supermarket produce. I guess it makes people feel good about buying consumer level stuff at a farmer's market, but these buyers are really not supporting the Farmer's Market. The good news: The donuts were better than last week, a real nice crisp crust against a light and fresh inside. I do note that we got to the market much later this week, after 9 AM, and the donut line was huge. I wonder, however, if the donuts get better as the day progresses. Maybe the oil gets seasoned?
See you next week.