For today's Stuff We Like, our wandering SFF author, Angel Martinez, is back for a post :)
Hi all! It's summer. Yeah, I know, officially that's not for a number of days yet, but let's face it - the kids are done or almost done school. The beach traffic has already begun. We've had out first heat wave. And...
Farmers' Markets are back.
I think everyone has some version of Farmers' Market near them. Some of them are year-round, and not quite like the old markets where individual farmers trucked stuff in for the weekends and some are seasonal, from the roadside stand to the large, annual market spaces. It's one of the few things I like about summer, because you can actually find local, fresh-picked produce, so much nicer than the shipped in, force-ripened stuff from the wintertime.
We have several different sorts of markets around us here. Delaware and the nearby counties in Pennsylvania have a lot of farms still and thriving Amish/Mennonite communities. We get a lot of farm stands along the old state roads. The Amish stands always have seasonal fruits and vegetables, but a lot of them also have yummy jars of pickled items and honey from their own apiaries. Wonderful stuff.
We also have seasonal Farmers' Markets all up and down the state where vendors large and small bring produce, canned and bottled goods, crafts, art, and thingamajigs during the growing season. Local strawberries are the best. Local anything in the summer is wonderful. But there's nothing like the fruit picked for just that day. Even if you don't go to buy, it's so much fun to go and look. Pic on the right is from the one in Rehoboth Beach - one of the bigger ones - but they crop up all over.
Then we have the year-round markets, too. These are sometimes more indoor flea market than traditional farm market, but it's usually kind of a mix. The one we have nearest us is half Asian market, half Supermercado, with the produce section smack in the middle. No, not everything is local, especially not in the winter, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the supermarket and you can find whatever you need for any dish imaginable. Ginger root, Thai peppers, whole sugar cane, jaggery, persimmons, mangoes of all sorts, whatever you need, they have it. There also happens to be a Korean restaurant inside the farmers market, which does a food festival annually where they serve food to the community for free. They had to move it outside this year because it's gotten too big. Other year round markets have some of the best baked goods in the area and various specialty vendors. In the summer, most of them have outdoor flea markets in the parking lots/ grassy areas where you can browse for all sorts of wild stuff, from handmade jewelry to antique car parts.
Summer's sticky here. It's hot and generally yucky. But at least we have the Farmers' Markets - that helps make the rest bearable.