Yes, you can find unique offerings at small markets, too!
I stopped in for the opening day of Quimby, IA's new farmer's market. Although still early in the season you can find honey, meats, eggs, radishes, rhubarb, baked goods, garlic chives, thyme, and yes, horseradish.
Horseradish seemed to be the popular item of interest as some locals stopped in to see what was available at the new market. Surprisingly (or maybe not since we are, after all, do-it-yourself Iowans), a handful of people were no novices when it comes to making your own horseradish. They were also apparently well versed in using it in various recipes and were eager to try out a new batch because that horseradish sold out within the time that I was there!
Quimby is the third market I have visited this year, but the first to have garlic chives and thyme for sale. If you are unfamiliar with cooking with fresh herbs, talk to Shirley Kirchner, a vendor with a large herb garden. "Grow Wild or Die!" she says. We agree.
You can find the Quimby market every Wednesday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. near the fire hall north of Hwy 31. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you can find there this season!
Another good example of what happens when you have dinner that incorporates fresh, locally grown foods?
Healthy deliciousness that helps support your local farmers!
Last week the Storm Lake Food and Farmers' Guild served up a meal for Storm Lake's "Taste of Storm Lake" summer dinners. Italian marinated flank steak with pearl onions and fluted mushrooms, herb crusted pork loin stuffed with rosemary dressing, garlic red mashed potatoes, spring asparagus with peppered bacon and caramelized almonds, and flaming strawberries Grand Marnier over rhubarb shortbread made it on to Methodist manor Aaron Fahrmann's menu.
"This may be the best meal I have had so far in 2011," a happy, full dinner guest commented to me as he walked out the door. Many other similar comments were also heard. I'm not surprised--when was the last fundraising dinner you went to that served homegrown, homemade food fresh from the garden or mostly all Iowa-raised?
The push for local ingredients is a priority for the farmers market and Food and Farmers Guild. “This is a way to showcase what will be coming throughout the summer – great produce for sale, plus special entertainment sure to draw people to the market,” said guild president James Roland
The farmers market kicks off this Saturday June 18 and runs 8 a.m. to 12 noon through Oct.15. A Thursday night market runs from July 7-Sept 15 from 4-6 p.m. The location is the west side of the BV County Courthouse.
I had my first taste of fresh Iowa-grown strawberries for breakfast this morning after shopping the Cherokee Farmers' Market during the grand opening June 2. So fragrant and so juicy, I needed neither sugar nor cream. Just a straight bowl of strawberries picked fresh from Snip's Produce.
If I had needed something sweeter with breakfast I could have taken home Cocoa Bellissimo's handmade artisan chocolates. But I must say that I was pretty satisfied with my Pixie Bob Pear truffle sample filled with Rita's developing wine-filled truffle recipes inspired by a local winery.
Of course I also found a variety of spring vegetables: salad greens, broccoli, green onions, asparagus, radishes, and cabbage. Other products including baked goods, honey, and recycled reusable bags are also among the bounty.
Market manager, Jim Adamson, is pleased that the market has grown this year. There are a number of new faces and farmers who are succeeding with extending their growing season by building high tunnel greenhouses making it possible for me to eat locally grown strawberries for breakfast at the beginning of June! "Our vendors bring good quality produce," Adamson says. And after my bowl of strawberries this morning, I agree wholeheartedly!