Shopping Farmers Markets
Pizza was on my mind as I drove to the Lummi Island Farmers Market last Saturday morning. To make a pizza, I need four things–crust dough, a sauce for the base, toppings, and cheese to melt over it all.
I’d found an unbelievably quick pizza dough recipe I could adapt with local ingredients. For the sauce, I hoped to find some early season tomatoes at the Market, but I knew that was being wishful. Plan B was some leftover Locavore Basil Pesto sauce, that I felt sure would make a good base sauce if I didn’t find enough tomatoes. I also knew I could get some Ferndale cheese later that afternoon when the Artisan Wine Gallery opened for Saturday tastings.
All I really still needed to find were toppings. As you’ll see when you try the recipe linked below, I found a perfect combination.
Customers often aren’t aware of the long and incredibly labor intensive process vendors go through each market day to ensure maximum freshness and quality. Market vendors start their day earlier than most of us would like to even think about. First thing in the morning (or sometimes middle of the night), they harvest, trim, clean, pack, and load their products for transport. Once they arrive, they have to set up their stand, unload their products, and create an attractive display before opening time. At the end of the day they again pack, transport, and unload anything which didn’t sell.
With that in mind, when going to a Farmers’ Market I always try to arrive right at opening time. The produce is at its freshest, and the greatest variety is available from which to choose. I also take cash to pay for my purchases, since many vendors aren’t set up to take credit or debit cards. It’s a good idea to take your own bags, too, or a knapsack to leave your hands free. Finally, when you purchase some of the healthy, flavorful bounty you’ll find at your local Farmers Market, take a moment to say thanks to the vendors. Let them know how much you appreciate the work they do and the care they put into it. Rest assured that your gratitude is an important part of what keeps them going.
This week’s menu is sweet and simple: