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Posts Tagged ‘Farmer’s Market’

It is easy to take the tomato for granted in late summer. A stroll around Copley’s Farmer’s Market, or any farmer’s market, shows an abundance of these beautiful round shapes, their skins taut and from juices who’ve had the luxury ripening in the fresh air of an open field instead of a hothouse. But these jewels are fleeting. Eat them while you can.

I was at the farmer’s market last Friday, a few blocks from the Monitor. I had met my mom and my brother there for lunch. Mom had taken a bus up from the Cape with a group that was listening to a performance of Trinity Chapel‘s organ (not to miss, if you are ever in Boston). My brother’s office overlooks Copley Square from his shiny office tower in the John Hancock building. It was easy for him to swoop down and join us for a sandwich among the smells of ripe vegetables and the sounds of a guitar and saxophone jazz duet.

Mom spotted a gazpacho recipe pinned to a basket of tomatoes in one of the stalls. I didn’t waste any time in loading up my own bag with the ingredients (parsley, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, yellow onion). I had been wanting to try making a batch of gazpacho since I spotted the Rowdy Chowgirl’s recipe, a new pal from the International Food Blogger’s Conference.


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For a few years after college, my brother and I both happened to live in Atlanta, Ga., a city where every street is named Peachtree. While there I discovered fried okra, fried green tomatoes, grits, black-eyed peas (which are white beans), sweet tea, and hot donuts from Krispy Kreme. It’s not exactly light eating down South. Comfort food has staked its claim and stubbornly resisted any marauding fad diets. (more…)

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I was strolling through the Farmer’s Market at Copley Square on Friday and I heard a woman say, “This is heavenly.” She’s right. Something about baskets of peaches, tangles of beans, and bright sunflowers softens the heart of a city and brings things down to human scale in a forest of skyscrapers and historic buildings. Rows of homemade cookies, bags of bread, and jars of honey have the power to soothe even as sirens wail and traffic rushes by just a few feet away.

And then there’s the corn. Lots and lots of corn.

You barely need to do anything to food that is this fresh, just take take it home and strip it down.

I was heading to a potluck later that evening and I knew exactly what I wanted to bring: A corn and black bean salad, using raw, sweet corn. I came across this recipe at a Fourth of July party last year.

“It’s so easy,” the hostess kept telling me. A guest at the party insisted that the secret was a packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing. If you don’t have that handy, it’s pretty easy to season this any way you like, using a combination of dried herbs (basil, oregano), salt (onion, garlic, celery), and a little sugar to draw the sweetness of the corn and fruit. This recipe uses mangoes but I bet you could use peaches, which are just coming into season. (more…)

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Everyone has experienced the disappointment of buying a lovely looking piece of fruit only to discover it is as appetizing as cardboard. Deborah Madison hopes to redeem the paradise-lost pleasures of truly ripe fruit. The cookbook guru has written a bit of a love letter to summer’s jewels with her new “Seasonal Fruit Desserts” (Broadway Books, $32.50). A perusal of the gorgeous photos alone will prompt you to rush to your nearest Farmers’ Market and load up your canvas shopping bags.

Madison wants us to rededicate ourselves to the fleeting joys of locally grown, seasonal fruit – even if it requires the discipline of putting those well-traveled strawberries back on the shelf in mid-December. Whether it is figs and raspberries elegantly presented unadorned or a recipe for a compote, “Seasonal Fruit Desserts” advises even as it tempts. “Don’t assume that everything from the farmers’ market or farm stand is stellar,” she cautions. “Be watchful, asks for tastes, sniff, ask questions, and be prepared to say, ‘No, thanks.'”

I was delighted that Madison includes a mention of pawpaws, a fruit native to the Midwest that some say should replace the carbon-footprint-ladened banana of the tropics. In fact, the pawpaw is a distant cousin of the banana. “Its bananalike notes are probably what account for its other names – prairie banana, Hoosier banana – and other banana appellations for every state where the pawpaw grows,” writes Madison. “[T]he pawpaw is the only member of the [Annonaceae] genus that doesn’t require a tropical climate to survive.”

How about them apples – er – pawpaws?

As always, Madison offers tips for preparing fruit, techniques for coaxing the best flavors out of your dishes, and advice on the best kitchen equipment to have on hand. “Seasonal Fruit Desserts” will set you up perfectly to enjoy the sweetness of slow summer evenings.

Read my article about shopping at Farmers’ Markets and listen to my interview with Deborah Madison by clicking here.

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If love grew from the ground, it might be a sun-ripened tomato. And now it is August in the Northeast, when an abundance of the succulent fruit momentarily clouds memories of beautiful – yet tasteless – imported produce.

But love, and organic tomatoes, do not ripen without patient labor and battles with anxiety. Farmer and writer Tim Stark illustrates the latter with chaotic flair in Heirloom: Notes From An Accidental Tomato Farmer.

To read a full review and listen to an interview with the author, click here.

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