Sunday, April 3, 2011

At the Market

Saturday was a big day here in Northwest Arkansas. The sun finally showed it's face and the temperatures climbed up into the seventies. After a long and by some accounts one of the coldest winters in memory, we are thinking that Spring is finally here. And with that, the opening of local farmer's markets. Time to get out and enjoy the weather and a sense of new found freedom. Time to savor some fresh veggies, admire beautiful flowers. Time to see some friends we haven't seen since fall. Time to put winter to bed.

West Fork's Garden Market kicked off the season with a selection of greenhouse grown greens, farm fresh organic eggs, a selection of starter plants for the garden and  beautiful hand crafted jewelry. It's nice to get fresh spinach that tastes like spinach and eggs that taste like eggs. Won't it be nice to again get tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and not orange Styrofoam? June can't get here soon enough!

In Fayetteville, the crowd was big and the mood festive.Greens, greens and more greens! Green onions, green garlic, green leeks! Beautiful hand made pottery, incredible wood furniture, flowers to usher in the season, fee entertainment (scheduled and otherwise), locally roasted coffee and delicious baked goods. Plants of all stripes are available including fruit trees, vegetable and herb plants and flowering plants for your patio or garden.And starting this year, food stamps are accepted for edible plants in addition to food products. My favorite find? Turnip green tops with flower buds on them-a peppery taste like that of broccoli rabe only sweeter. And green garlic? A revelation!

Of course there were well behaved pooches on leashes everywhere! Why shouldn't they enjoy the great weather too? For those who just can't bear the thought of being away from the Internet, the square is now setup for free wifi connection complete with free power plug ins at strategically placed locations. I have mixed feelings about this. Can it be long before we have wireless technology implanted in our skulls? But then again, I imagine it is much nicer surfing the Internet or checking into the office from the beautifully planted square than from an office cubicle!

In my little town of Winslow, the mood was festive! The market does not officially start until April 16 but some vendors jumped the gun and were there already.Farm fresh eggs, baked goods, starter plants, Easter baskets and used books were all on display. Coffee at the Mercantile, monthly recycling and the monthly bake sale by the Winslow Friends of the Library made for a party like atmosphere! Barbara Ashbaugh was in charge at the local Winslow Museum answering questions about Winslow's rich history. We're looking forward to mid April, Ruby's famous zucchini bread and the return of our friends from Strickler with goat products and beautiful hand made items. And of course tomatoes. Well maybe not in April but Winslow's tomatoes are pretty famous too!

How lucky we are to live in the beautiful place called Northwest Arkansas! Spring is finally here and it's great to get outside. See you at the markets!

John's No Recipe Spinach Recipe

Saute sliced green garlic in some olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add some washed spinach with water still clinging to it's leaves. Cover and cook a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Add a few dashes of soy sauce. Finish with a splash of toasted sesame oil. Yum!

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