Today was a gorgeous day. It was chilly, but the sunshine made me smile! I also had a very therapeutic time writing my previous post. I am on cloud nine right now, and I feel like things are looking up!
It was so nice out when I woke up this morning, that I decided to head down to the farmer’s market. I should tell you that I don’t have far to go to get to the Courthouse Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and I feel badly that I haven’t been a regular patron through the cold and gloomy months. I could almost just roll out of bed and land there, so I have no good excuse. Granted, the pickin’s are a bit slim when the growing season isn’t in full swing, but there are still plenty of local farmers braving the cold to sell a host of things including amazing free range eggs, handmade yogurts and cheeses, and ecofriendly meats like the ones I purchased today.
I’m reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” right now, and it is one of a long line of books I’ve read on topics like eating locally, the lack of a traditional food culture in America, and environmentally friendly food practices. Each book I read increases my awareness of the plight of the small farmer, and the reasons we should support and treasure them. Here’s one great reason: these beautiful brown eggs!
I come from a farming background. My father’s ancestors established a homestead in South Dakota where they raised a number of things including cattle. My mother’s parents, the grandparents I mention so often, were the children of sharecroppers in Arkansas and Tennessee, and they spent some time as cotton sharecroppers themselves before my grandfather stopped farming, got a job in the local hardware store and moved the family closer to town. Both of my parents grew up on farms. While farming was never their vocation, we always had a sizable garden and lots of pecan trees so perhaps they subconsciously needed a “dirt fix.” Oh, and our house is in the middle of a field. 🙂 Even now, I grow things, including tomatoes, in pots out on my apartment balcony. I’m convinced that dirt is in my blood. I appreciate the hard work that goes in to growing our food, and I appreciate the farmers who are willing to do it! Look at these awesome mushrooms!
I’ve decided to try to do a better job of shopping for certain things at the farmer’s market. The quality of the things I purchase is always amazing, the people are nice, and many of them are happy to stand around and chat on a Saturday morning about their plants, animals and lives on the farm. I get a sense of community, a story about the food going on my dinner plate and a chance to put money to good use. I have nothing to lose!
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t eat a lot of meat. It hasn’t been a conscious decision, but my taste has sort of evolved in a meatless direction. A big exception to that are the meats I purchase at the farmer’s market. I believe that you really can tell a difference in the taste of an animal who has been allowed to roam about as animals are meant to do munching on fresh things (not piles of corn) and living in a healthy environment. I couldn’t resist buying a small pork tenderloin this morning, which turned into my evening dinner.
I mixed up a marinade for this 1/2 pound pork tenderloin that contained 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. country style dijon mustard and 1/2 Tbsp. of fresh rosemary snipped from my potted rosemary plant. My dirt! 🙂 I slathered it on the pork and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, I roasted it in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until the thermometer read 160. It turned a lovely mahogany color, and had an amazing taste and aroma. It couldn’t be easier, either. This was a dinner to feel good about.
I enjoyed an oven baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon and some Brussels sprouts on the side. I only ate about 1/3 of the pork because I love leftover pork tenderloin on sandwiches! It’s always a good choice if you are looking for a lean meat, and when it is as flavorful as this piece, it becomes one of the best choices I can think of for sandwich making– period! I know what I’ll be having tomorrow!!
I realize that not everyone has the luxury of a farmer’s market outside their door, but you may be surprised to find one closer than you think. If you are interested, this USDA website has a feature that will allow you to search for the one nearest to you. I’m hoping to feature a number of farmer’s market purchases from now on, and I’d encourage you to check into the wares at a farmer’s market in your area if you haven’t already.
If you are a farmer’s market shopper, what’s the coolest purchase you’ve ever made? I bought some very interesting heirloom tomatoes last summer, including one that was bright purple!
My current quest is to buy some of the first asparagus of the year. If I understand correctly, it could appear at any time. I’m going to be checking next Saturday with a sense of excitement and with my fingers crossed! I might be a little dorky, but… I really love the asparagus hunt!