We went, in the rain, to the Wychwood Organic farmer market this morning to pick up our meat CSA box, and to check out the vegetables! This is not our usual market - it's across town - but since we were going anyway we decided to see what there was.
It's been a great year at the farmers market so far. I usually go to the Riverdale Farm Organic Market, and the stalls have been burgeoning. Wychwood was no different! Here are my goodies.
The most amazing thing is that there are both Ontario cherries and strawberries. Apparently the cherries are over three weeks early! I've been stuffing myself with Ontario strawberries - small, sweet and intensely flavoured - since they started two weeks ago. The vendor at the market said this weekend was the end of them. A tragedy - but we enjoy them all the more because their season is so short.
I was also thrilled with the mushrooms this week - I got shitake, baby king oysters (which are so delicious sauted in a little butter that they make me cry with delight) and a double hand-full of wild morels.
Another vegetable I love, that also has a short season, is sea asparagus. It grows on the sea shore on the west coast - which is admittedly a little far away for a
"locavore" vegetable. But its a worthy treat and usually only available for about two weeks per year. It is quite salty, since it actually grows on salt water shores, and I usually soak it for an hour or two before cooking it. Then when you boil it - lots and lots of water. Then you saute it in butter. I like to serve it with fish (or just in a big bowl, which I then refuse to share).
Just this year, I've been seeing more small dairies out at the market with their cheeses. Two weeks ago, I bought a pressed sheeps milk ricotta from a vendor at the Riverdale market. Today I bought this gloriously ripe ash covered goat cheese at Wychwood. Is there anything better than a stinky, oozing soft cheese? Yum.
Anyway, I am serving the cheese tomorrow as a pre-dinner snack. I am having a small dinner party, where all the guests are vegetarians who eat fish and some dairy. The rest of the menu is also based on today's shopping: I went to the St. Lawrence Market and got some gorgeous wild Atlantic Salmon. I'm serving that with a crab and scallop crust, and then the whole thing gets cedar planked on the barbeque. I'm serving the sea asparagus with it, as well as tiny, red, orange and gold carrots and some many-grain whole rice. I think I will also transform the biggest $2 romaine lettuce I've ever seen into a caesar salad. For dessert, I'm planning strawberry short cakes - but I'm making the cakes from this great white chocolate cake recipe I got from my friend Joan, and I'll use of my home made creme fraiche instead of insipid and boring whipped cream.
Life is good!