The fall chill is settling in up north in Michigan. Today was a cold misty rainy day for the final outdoor Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City. Despite the cold and rain, the market was still filled with vendors with an abundance of products and a crowd of shoppers enjoying the beautiful fall crops along with other products from baked goods, to honey and maple syrup, cheese and butter and homemade soaps and beauty products. With so much to offer it is sad to see the market come to an end, but we take solace in knowing that many of the vendors will be moving to the indoor market on Saturdays at the Grand Traverse Commons.
I love the fall crops. Today in my 9 Bean Rows CSA bag I found potatoes, onions, broccoli, acorn squash and carrots along with the usual greens, eggs and bread. I also picked up some cherry tomatoes sweet enough to compete with the Halloween candy. Another vendor at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market had a great deal on MacIntosh apples for the last market so I bought a peck of apples. I am looking forward to making and canning some applesauce. Even when I get to North Carolina I will still be able to enjoy the taste of these deliciously sweet and tangy Michigan apples! Continue reading
Now that spring is here it is time to really start getting excited abut the wonderful array of crops that will soon be appearing at the farmers markets. One fun way to be certain of experiencing what our farmers have to offer is buying a CSA share. To buy a share, you pay in advance for an entire season of goods. Each farmer sets the length of season and determines what will be in each weekly share. In addition to vegetables, some farmers offer eggs, meat or baked goods. CSA Farms of Northwest Michigan provides information on a several farms in the Traverse City area that offer CSAs.
Last summer was my first time to purchase a CSA. I chose 9 Bean Rows as my farm source. As a huge fan of their restaurant in Suttons Bay, I was already familiar with them. Their “Cream of the Crop” share also offered a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread each week. Every Saturday morning I wandered in to Traverse City to go to the Sara Hardy Farmers Market to pick up my CSA, check out what other farmers and merchants had to offer and chat with my farmers market friends. My first stop was always 9 Bean Rows stand to find out what goodies were in my bag. As an advanced warning, be careful of the croissants. Those beautiful little pastries are devious. I go there with every intention of just getting my veggies, but always one (well, usually several) manage to find their way home with me.
It was fun to give up control of my selection of produce. Each week my meals revolved around what crop was most bountiful at the time. Every now and then, I would get something I had no idea what to do with. Or in the case of kale, almost every week. I now can find a way to use kale breakfast, lunch and dinner! That first week I got the giant red kohlrabi, I was stumped. This vegetable simply was not on my radar. I had seen it before, but always green and always much smaller. After verifying that it was in fact kohlrabi I had to figure out what to do with it. Hint, cut it into match stick pieces and eat on a salad dressed in a simple vinaigrette.
Check out the available CSA offerings and sign up for a share that suits your needs. Support a local farmer and enjoy the weekly surprises in your bag!