The United States Secretary of Agriculture has officially proclaimed next week to be a week to “celebrate the benefits of farmers market and the bountiful production of our Nation’s farmers”. I’m sure many of you enjoy your local farmers’ markets and farmers each week, just as I do, and you’ve voted for your favorite Triangle area farmers’ market, right?
I find a good reason to celebrate each week really. There’s usually some new produce to inspire new menus filled with fresh flavors. I’m not quite done with peaches and melons, nor have I finished making tomato sauce. Figs have recently arrived, and I know a multitude of apple varieties will soon be prevalent. I’ve been bookmarking fig and apple recipes in anticipation of spending some quality time in the kitchen soon.
Many of our markets hold special events, host chefs, engage musical performers to entertain, provide informative learning opportunities, and fun activities for the kids as well. What’s not to love about that? This week, next week, and every week let’s be thankful for the enthusiasm of market managers who organize and inform, for farmers who work tirelessly to bring fresh, healthy produce and meats to our tables, for specialty food artisans that delight with breads, cheeses, baked goods and delectable treats in jars, and for all the “extras” that create the welcoming environment that draws us to the party.
Here’s a peek into some of the activities this Saturday (August 6th) at a few of our local farmers’ markets:
Chef Martin (of Martin’s Curry Rice) will be preparing a curry bowl with seasonal produce found at Western Wake Farmers’ Market. Market shoppers will have the opportunity to taste his red, yellow and green sauces. 20% of the proceeds from Saturday purchases of Chef Martin’s curry sauces will be donated to the market (love that!). Many of the produce vendors may have “scratch and dent” tomato boxes available, suitable for making sauces now, that you can enjoy during the cooler months to come (don’t know about you, but I am sooo ready for those cooler months :-p ). Musical entertainment will be provided by SHMaK, while you stroll through a multitude of vendors to find delicious items for your meals.
Durham Farmers’ Market hosts Chef Shane Ingram (you know, the chef from Four Square, ONE, and most recently G2B) who will demonstrate how to create a fabulous brunch from items found in the market. If you’re not able to stop in this week, make certain your calendar is clear for next week at Durham Farmers’ Market, when Katie Coleman of Durham Spirits Co. will be the Chef in the Market. Also coming next week, a farmers’ market raffle (tickets are $1 each) to win prizes from the market. Proceeds of the raffle will help the market purchase wagons for market shopper use, when your shopping bags (and your aching shoulders) just can’t bear the load any longer.
Holly Springs Farmers’ Market loves its customers and we love this market right back. It’s Customer Appreciation Day at the market this weekend, with opportunities for market shoppers to win prizes donated by its vendors. Stop by the market information tent for full details. While you’re out shopping the “tax free” sales today, pick up a couple extra school supplies to donate to the market’s school supply drive this Saturday (it’s the last weekend of their school supply drive in Holly Springs).
The Saturday Market is quickly becoming a favorite for Raleigh downtowners. I’ve come to think of it as a destination, where I can participate in a donation-based yoga class, then purchase lunch from that week’s food truck (Blue Sky Dining is scheduled for this Saturday) or one of the food artisan vendors, before I shop for fresh NC seafood from Locals Seafood, produce from New Grass Gardens and Double T Farms, replenish my coffee bean supply from Muddy Dog (though they will not be at this market this Saturday – Joe Van Gogh fills in nicely), and rather addictive pimento cheese from the cheery young lady at Porch Rockin’. It’s a lovely way to start a Saturday, and I encourage you all to visit soon to see for yourself.
Similar events and activities abound at other area farmers’ markets too. Temperatures should be less stifling this Saturday, though we are still in the throws of Summer. An early visit to the markets this weekend is definitely the best way to beat that heat.
Get out there this weekend and next, to show your market *love*. Enjoy and I’ll be seeing you ’round the farmers’ market!