Thursday, September 01, 2005

Farmer's Market Reports

Maybe I can draw some mental attention to write more, but I so caught up in the destruction and failed leadership.

Anyways, because we missed Saturday's Oak Park Farmer's Market, we got the chance to try out two other markets, Sunday's Wicker Park and Tuesday's downtown Federal Plaza. I got to say that I was especially impressed with the downtown market. Both Nicholl's and Green Acres are there and the amount of things between these two vendors was incredible. Six kinds of eggplants, Asian greens, all sizes and colors of tomatoes, watercress sprouts, fresh soybeans and fresh sunflower seeds (in flower!). I just wish some local restaurants, ethnic restaurants, would shop at these stands.

Some interesting things in the markets now. Nicholl's had strawberries (!), a second planting strawberry I never knew about. Really weird, but last night I ate a bunch of delicious sweet, real strawberries...on the last day of August. On the other hand, local grapes seem a bit early. Nicholl's had a variety called champagne--no not the grapes used for Champagne which is mostly Chardonay and Pinot Noir grapes. My daughter Hannah had the idea to freeze these grapes, and this is an awesome treat. The iced grape balls taste nearly like ice cream. We also got regular ol' Concord grapes, seeds and all. These grapes may make awful wine, but outta hand, they one of the all time great things. It is the grape flavor, not just sweetness or juiciness that makes this fruit. I know back in Wisconsin I was leaning towards sour cherries, but the difference is sour cherries need to be cooked/sugared. Concord grapes are best raw. In fact, they loose a lot of their specialness when cooked. See grape jelly. Tons of great tomatoes still as well as plenty of summer veg like sweet corn, peppers, and eggplants.

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