This morning we drove to the Brooksville Farmers’ Market. In a misty rain we went first to a man playing a guitar at the Poland Family Farm stand, as he waited for customers. We bought eight ears of Tuxedo corn, a variety new to us. We will eat it tonight but the farmer tells us it has tight, yellow kernels and is very sweet. He had already eaten six ears that morning while he picked them for the market. We also got some of his sausage.
From Four Seasons Farm we purchased two beautiful heads of lettuce, a red romaine and a red Bibb, along with two perfect peppers. Four Seasons is run by Eliot Coleman, who has helped pioneer the growing of vegetables in all four seasons (in cold, snowy Maine). This is done in cleverly designed hoop houses which have a row cover as double insulation. They don’t plant vegetables that require hothouse conditions (such as tomatoes), so most of the greenhouses do not need power; and they are able to harvest throughout the year. Eliot Coleman has written a couple of books, and speaks on this subject.
Next we found a lovely woman from Bagaduce Farm with whom we discussed the virtues of goat milk versus cow milk. She uses goat milk (and lard from her own pigs) in the spectacular caramels we sampled. We bought pork chops and “bulk” sausage, which is sausage meat without the casing. We look forward to experimenting with that (she mentioned that some people like to fry it, sliced thinly, and others crumble it into dishes. I am thinking maybe a delicious lasagna, but we will see what inspiration strikes us). She had brochures for the Common Ground Fair, one of the highlights of the year for us, and where we will be going this Saturday. We found out that this farmer, Deborah Evans, will be speaking at the fair about “Raising Happy Pigs.”
One of my favorite things about shopping at a farmers’ market is talking to the farmers. You can discuss everything from their growing practices, to growing tips (one woman today came up to a farmer selling swiss chard and asked for advice on her own crop), to recipes. They are passionate about what they do, and it is impossible not to share their enthusiasm.