This morning I got up extra early and hit the NC State Farmer's Market. I haven't been too often this summer because it didn't seem that impressive to me this year. There didn't appear to be as much produce as previous visits, nor as much variety. This morning I was on a mission. I wanted tomatoes. I needed tomatoes. I was up, showered, dressed and on my way by 7:30. I got a great parking space which is rare when going to the farmer's market on a Saturday. I got breakfast at the restaurant first, a fantastic veggie and cheese omelet and a big fluffy biscuit.
Once I got down to the main building, I was really impressed! There was an amazing variety of produce, although some of the prices still seemed a little high for some things. For example, the corn was still $4 a dozen. The corn farmers will literally load up the back of the pick up truck and back it into the building. The kid stand in the back of the truck and shuck the corn for you. By the end of corn season, the price will drop to about $2 a dozen. You can still get the big bags, 65 ears, for $18. This is a great deal if you're going to be canning or freezing it. The regular red field tomatoes are about $1.49 a pound and the German Johnsons are $1.99 a pound.
I spent about an hour and a half there shopping. Here's what I got.
Please notice Elvis McSneaky heading for the basil. This, folks, is why I can't grow my own herbs.
I got tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, onions, peaches for eating and jam, a miniature butternut squash, blueberries, figs, apples, pears, cucumbers, fresh thyme, fresh mint and fresh basil, wax beans, goat cheese, and grape tomatoes. See the giant bag of peppers? I got that for $6. This farmer sells boxes of not perfect peppers. In the morning they look over their produce. Anything that's gotten soft, a bit overripe, had a bad spot, etc., goes into a box. The peppers are sold for $6 and the tomatoes are sold for $8. I think next weekend or the weekend after, I'm going back for a box of canning tomatoes. The peppers were $1.99 a pound. Since I'm making ratatouille, the box o'peppers was a great deal. I also made a box for friends, with peppers, a few onions, basil and a bit of cilantro.
When I got home, I made my traditional farmer's market salad. Grape tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, all the herbs I had on hand (basil, thyme, mint, oregano, and rosemary), a little olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. Yummy!
I couldn't resist posting this one. Just as I started to click the shutter, Helvis came out from behind the curtains and went straight for the mint. When I came home and laid out the produce, we had a few disagreements about who was allowed to handle the produce. Just before I started typing this post, I heard a strange noise coming from the bathroom. I found him on a pile of towels and swimsuits, playing with a wax bean. He'd apparently snuck onto the table while I wasn't looking and grabbed one. What am I going to do with this cat?