There is no place in any of the vintage housekeeping books I've read that instructs me to spend Saturday morning doling out cash and taking in the sights and smells at the local Farmer's Market. The indexes of the modern books, too, are sadly empty of references to this urban yuppie tradition. I was sure, though, that Martha, at least, had to be pro-Farmer's Market, so I did a search on her website. Sure enough, I found several entries, including a piece on how to shop for fruits and vegetables, one on taking a challenge to eat locally, and a guide to meat buying. I knew she wouldn't fail me.
And so, this morning, bright and early (well, bright and early relative to it being Saturday), I armed myself with cash (never enough...), sunglasses, and a big market tote, and Mark and headed to the Reston Farmer's Market. I'd actually been twice before, both times by myself, and was pretty impressed with it, as far as these things go in this area. The Portland Farmer's Market is truly one of my favorite things ever (go read Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy's post on it from two summers ago to see why), and all others pale in comparison. That said, I like the one here, too.
After grabbing some coffee from the cafe near the Market, Mark and I took one lap just to see who was selling what. After getting the lay of the land, we decided to start with meat. At our market, there is a seller of bison and pork, one of beef, chicken and pork (Fertile Plains Custom Pork), one of lamb, and one of bacon and sausage. We started with bison, since Mark loves it and wanted something for the smoker. He picked out a bison brisket, and we also bought some buffalo & pork merguez sausage (because seriously, how cool is that) and some sweet pork Italian sausage, which is one of our meat staples. Next we hit up the beef and chicken purveyor, and after quite a bit of deliberation, we decided on a whole chicken, a pound of sliced country ham, and a pound of ground chuck.
Our meat needs met, we started looking for bread. There were two bread sellers to choose from, Baguette Republic and Grace's Pastries. We considered going for a sweet breakfast bread at Grace's Pastries, but decided that what we really needed was burger buns, and Baguette Republic had amazing brioche buns, so we bought a half dozen of those.
Next we went for vegetables. The vegetable sellers are still ramping up--it's early in the season--but everybody seemed to have greens, strawberries, and spring onions. Some folks also had baby squash, radishes, beets, turnips, tomatoes, etc. And several folks had plants, which we don't need, but are fun to see. We hit a couple of the vegetable stands, coming home with a bag of baby arugula, a quart of strawberries, two large bulbs of fennel, a bunch of basil, and some baby yellow squash.
Finally, having a few dollars left to our name, we hit the Cherry Glen Farm stand for goat cheese. Though they had samples of a lot of really interesting cheeses, we decided to stick with a classic and bought the chevre.
Totally loaded down with an increasingly heavy market bag, we headed back to the car and came home. We're going to eat WELL this week.