Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like.... spring!

Despite the impending white doom falling from the sky (well, rain and snow mix through Monday night) it appears that spring has sprung. The forsythia are blooming like crazy and most of the shrubbery is in leaf. My seeds starters are mostly doing well (except for a few stubborn varieties) and I can't wait to get them out to the garden. The pole beans win the "coolest-looking sprouting plant" award; I'll try to get a picture later today (but there's not a lot of light on this grismal Saturday.)

We went to two markets today - the North Market and the Worthington winter market. Getting to the North Market was rather tricky - the half marathon was today and many streets were blocked off. We finally made it there, and found 2 farmers (Combs and Toad Hill) plus herbs for sale (Somerset Herbs, I think) and Gypsy Bees. We stocked up with 2 bags of spinach, one each of lettuce and arugula, a dozen eggs, and sweet woodruff and (salad) burnet to plant.

Salad burnet is an amazing herb, tasting a little like cucumbers. I may have to buy a few more plants! It apparently goes very well in dips, and I am all about the dips these days. (Making your own dips is easy-peasy. I'll try to post some recipes, even though they are a)not usually local and b)involve things like "add some of this and a little of that.)

Inside the North Market we picked up a cinnamon roll and cupcake from Omega Artisan Baking, and some ham and polish sausage at Blue's Creek. And coffee for me, because I was a bit of a crankypants.

We made a brief stop at our Co-op (Clintonville Community Market) to pick up some dried dill, rolls from Eleni Christina Bakery, and a bottle of Clos Normand Brut for me (if you haven't tried French fermented cider I heartily suggest that you do. It is an entirely different experience than English hard cider.)

Our last stop was to the Worthington winter market, which continues to do a brisk business. By the survey they were conducting it seems like it may be a weekly occurrence next year! Hopefully more vegetable vendors will be on board. This week we bought potatoes, onions, garlic, and snow peas from H-W Organic Farm; feta and garlic and herb cheese from Meadow Maid (really good local cheese from grass-fed cows, and I believe most varieties are rennet-free); and some ground beef from Long Meadows (which was swamped, and Ed was working solo today.) I was thrilled to see mushrooms from Toby Run there, so I picked up a small container of oyster 'shrooms.

The folks from FLOW (Friends of the Olentangy Watershed) had a table at the Worthington market. This is the organization that sponsors a cost-share rain barrel program (you get a rain barrel for $30 - sorry, all of the workshops are full this year, but you can get on a waiting list. We're going next weekend, since I managed to be on the ball and sign up a few months ago.) Anyway, FLOW does a lot of interesting and cool things, so you locals should check out their web site and consider volunteering (they have stream clean-ups coming up in the next few months, where they pick up garbage and remove invasive foreign plants like honeysuckle and garlic mustard.)

So what am I going to do with all this food? This will be a "semi-local" meals week, with sausage-stuffed portabella mushrooms, udon with shiitake, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing (an Alton Brown recipe), pasta salad with baby spinach (Try it! It makes a great addition) and lots and lots of salads. Maybe some arugula pesto if I get very industrious.

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