Friday, November 2, 2007

local eating in the autumn

Last Saturday was the final week of a few of our markets, so it was a sad day indeed. The North Market farmer's market will hang on for a while (apparently it lasts until the farmers quit coming) and there will be a couple of special pre-Thanksgiving markets as well. We opted not to get a thanksgiving CSA as I didn't have a spare $150 sitting around.

We got a lot of stuff at the markets, as you might expect. Sunflower heads, French pumpkins (rouge vif d'etampes and musque de provence), raspberries (gotta love the late fall raspberries!), walnuts, short ribs (I've never cooked ribs before. This should be interesting), fresh Lima and white kidney beans, shallots (finally!), quince, pears, onions, chard, potatoes, carrots, broccoli... I think we bought 2 of everything. I gave the fridge a thorough rearranging and discovered that we're going to be eating a lot of carrots. (I somehow ended up with a crisper drawer full of them!)

I always cook a special meal for Halloween, focusing on favorite foods of my deceased relatives. This year I roasted a beautiful pasture-raised chicken and served it with honey ginger carrots, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and carnivale squash. The stuffing and seasonings were not local, but everything else was. Tomorrow I plan to turn the chicken into a stew with local carrots, onions, and potatoes.

Other local meals include my favorite weekday breakfast of local oatmeal, grated apple (a grimes golden this time, my grandfather's favorite), and maple syrup; also a lovely potato-leek soup with bacon. The local bacon we get is covered with peppercorns and gives an amazing smokey flavor to everything it touches.

It will be so sad to get up in the morning and only head to the one remaining market! I hope to use this weekend to stock up on more squash (kabocha, mainly) and hopefully find some late broccoli. I'm suddenly craving cream of broccoli soup, and it dawns on me that I've never made it! I don't think I have quite enough of it in the freezer to experiment.

One of the farmers last weekend had a sign up: Only 6 months until asparagus! It seems like forever, but I have a freezer full of summer vegetables, a garage full of winter squash, and stockpiles of soups and jam. I think we'll make it through the winter just fine (but I'll still dream of fresh asparagus in the spring!)

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