Monday, November 17, 2008

Local diet update - November 17, 2008

It's mid-November here in Central Texas and a cold front blew through this weekend bringing the temperatures down into the 30's at night. It's downright chilly (I'm a warm weather kinda girl), but despite the chill and the 25 mph wind gusts on Saturday morning, I was up early and ready to hit my local farmers market. At least until I went outside and realized how cold it really is with winds that high. Eek! Right. So scrap the bike.

I probably needed the exercise and I can certainly handle the cold (with 4 or 5 layers of clothes), but those wind gusts made the decision for me - Elphie (our Prius) was going with me. She needed to get out of the house and get that battery warmed up anyway, right? That's the story I'm going with. 

Anyway, there were some wonderful surprises at Saturday's market! Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you and neither were mine. That's 4-1/2 pounds of local vine-ripened tomatoes amongst all those farmer market goodies. There were plenty more to be had, but at $2.50 a pound, I was trying to be realistic. But let me tell you, these 'maters were just gorgeous. In fact, as I walked around the market, I had some of the vendors feel the tomatoes (nice and firm, but perfectly ripe) and even hooked a few into getting some for themselves. I'll be eating good this week!

But that wasn't the only surprise for which I was in store. Nope. I also got my first broccoli head of the season - Bring on the winter veggies! Then my friend Tammy arrived, bringing me a local persimmon to try (never had one before) and as I left one of the vendors gave me a kohlorabi to try (never tried this either). This will be a week of exciting new tastes as well as an oldy but very missed goody.

On top of all that, I picked up two pounds of green beans, a couple yellow onions, sage (my plants aren't producing enough to feed my tea addiction yet), a dozen eggs, and a jar of bread and butter pickles (my favorite pickle ever). Looking again at the picture, it's a very colorful spread. I can hardly wait to start sampling!

But Saturday's farmers market isn't the only place for local food in the area, and as it turns out, I have even more to share! Remember last week when I lamented the fact that I had used my last jar of tomatoes? Well, after reading that post, my friend Sharli called and offered to trade some jars of canned tomatoes for a loaf of my homemade whole wheat bread. Sold! We made that trade on Friday, and as you can see, I back in the canned tomato business!

I also got a delivery from DiIorio Farm and Market, about 40 miles south of town. They don't exactly deliver, but my dad does! He stopped at DiIorio on the way back from Houston and brought me a huge spaghetti squash (my favorite kind of squash) and some yellow squash.

But wait, I'm not done yet (How am I going to eat all this?). On Sunday, my friend Tammy and I headed to Brenham, TX (about 60 miles away) for Home Sweet Farm's Market Day. Though they had tons of goodies (breads, meats, honey, olive oil, granola, cheese, soaps, veggies, etc), all I really needed was some local fruit. I got a large produce bag full of oranges, a jar of olives for my dad, and a homemade pizza crust (guess what we had for dinner last night?). Also, Tammy shared some of her lettuce, granola, and persimmons with me. More on the Home Sweet Farm Market day in tomorrow's post.

Now, keep in mind, these are all new acquisitions. That doesn't even include all the local milk I have in the fridge, the local grapefruit I have stocked, my selection of local dried beans and rice, or any of the homemade, local canned soups, jams and jellies I have in the pantry. The only real question here is, what to eat first!

So, yeah, it has gotten a little colder here, but that only means we're ready to welcome in a whole new season of beautiful fruits and veggies. As I don a warm sweater and my wool socks, I'm thankful to live in a place where eating locally is not only a pleasure, but it's just so darn easy. 

Stay tuned for Thursday's "Market to Table" post to see what goodies come from all these market finds. In the meantime, have a great week, and as always...

Happy (and mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

I just had a sandwich last night(I nibbled a small tomato while putting it together, yummy farmer's market tomato), but today I will probably make some barbeque chicken pizza. Today is Monday, so hopefully, I will have enough time. I may change things up and make a veggie pizza instead...we'll see. I have plenty of pizza vegetables... yellow squash, broccoli, green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zuchini(all local). Of course, I will still have to make a pizza for the kids that isn't quite so vegetarian, but my hubby will eat veggie pizza.
Also, I am hopeful that BNF has local kumquats like they did last year, you had mentioned a bit of disappointment about not having gotten any at the market in Brenham. I have a small tree of kumquats and they should be ready soon.
Some of the oranges have dry spots, but they are still pretty good... I'm going to bring some to snack on at work today. The hurricanes and everything else probably took a toll on the citrus this year...crazy Texas weather. Even so, the little oranges won't last long, I am sure. Thankfully, orange season is just beginning here.

Chile said...

LOL, I often have the same problem of deciding what to eat first when I bring home my CSA share. I can't believe you got tomatoes, still. Wow! 'Course I was amazed to get eggplant in last week's CSA share, too.

Stay warm and enjoy all your goodies.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Wowsa you really stocked up this week! I've never had a persimmon either, you'll have to tell us what it was like. And I am really jealous of your broccoli and ESPECIALLY those tomatoes, I still have a few garden tomatoes ripening in a paper bag, but I am already mourning their absence.

Good thing you are back in business with your canned tomatoes. You might have to pick up some of the tomatoes at the market to can more. Yours run about what ours do, we are going to be growing a LOT more tomatoes next year for canning.

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - you really picked a winner on that pizza dough. I'm so glad I followed your lead, although now I wish I would have gotten more of them :) That has to be the best crust I've ever had. I just smeared a jar of my homemade pasta sauce all over, then sprinkled some of the cheddar you gave us over top of about 3/4 of the pie (Dave got cheese, I had crust and sauce). It was absolutely delicious! We'll definitely be doing that again! Mmmm! Hope you enjoy yours just as much!

chile - I couldn't believe we had tomatoes either and they were just gorgeous! There were some at the Home Sweet Farm market too, but they were pretty much all green. I've made 2 pints of pasta sauce so far and it's almost gone, but I have a good 1/2 doz tomatoes left to play with the rest of the week :) and who knows, maybe there will be more next week. I have my fingers crossed!

jennifer - the persimmon. Let's see. It's not one of my favorite all time fruits, but it was really sweet and juicy. I liked it. All I did was peel back some of the top, then scoop out the insides with a spoon to eat. Definitely worth trying if you have the chance and they're local here! Something to break up all that citrus!

As far as tomatoes, like you, I'm hoping to have tons from my own garden so I don't go broke trying to buy them from the market :) I'm going to be a canning fool next year, now that I know how quickly I go through them. You can never have enough tomatoes!

ilex said...

Aww nuts, your Texas in November market sounds like my Detroit market in (early) September. We are so in different zones. Tomatoes in November sounds positively, fabulously decadent.

Heather @ SGF said...

ilex - I had been hearing of the possibility of November tomatoes from one of the vendors, but these came from someone different. It was a complete, but absolutely wonderful surprise. And let me tell you, knowing that these tomatoes may very well be the last of the fresh ones until March/April, I'm savoring EVERY bite!