I knew it was coming when I saw a flock of robins (yes, an entire flock) shivering in an icy tree over a month ago. It may be a few more weeks before it gets fancied up with purple crocus and pink dogwood blooms....and as we know, April is the cruelest month...but, spring is almost here. Really. I'm not just saying that.
And how do I know? Well, there were probably 25 vendors at the market last Saturday instead of only 5. And in the pouring rain the number of customers had to have been more than 50 strong and powerfully engaged in doing their shopping and chatting with their farmers, rather than a measly 15 wandering forlornly down a long empty stretch. Another sign of spring - Community Farm's Annie Elder was at the market with elephant garlic, each clove of which was about the size of a pingpong ball.
But best of all, there was new produce. Goetz Farm had big piles of kale, chard, beet greens and mustard greens on offer. Young tender leaves of each. The kale was so delicate I wanted to eat it raw. And Mrs. Goetz said they will have beets too, probably next week. She said they have 2 hoophouses operating and they'll be having a lot of greens very soon. I bought 2 bunches of kale and 2 bunches of chard. After 2 days, they are all gone.
In addition to stalwart favorites that are continuously at the market in the worst weather (like Brines Farm (Shannon's salad greens are still the greatest!), Mill Pond Bread (have you looked up their new bread classes yet?), and Our Family Farm with their excellent duck and chicken eggs), there is also a new couple from Alpena selling different varieties of absolutely gorgeous mushrooms from their Michigan Mushrooms business. Want to try a Blue Oyster mushroom? I bought pristine plate-sized (small plates) Oyster mushrooms a couple of weeks ago and this week got some King Trumpets. The mushroom man said the Trumpets are his personal favorite and suggested sauteeing them in a little butter and nothing else.
I was so happy on Saturday. Our new year in food - it's starting again.