We are very fortunate these days to have plenty of farmers markets to enjoy, and I finally made my first visit to this year’s offerings at the Ellington Farmers Market last Saturday morning with Steve, my husband. I sold plants there last year, and really loved the people, site, and excitement of sharing something locally crafted with everyone, but alas, this year I have another goal (greenhouse) – but that doesn’t stop me from going to the market as a shopper this season. And I hope to return as a vendor in 2014.
Steve whines a little about going to the market because he has other Saturday chores on his mind, but the funny thing is he always ends up buying more than I do. He loves the pickles, hot sauces, veggies, mushrooms, and nuts. I tend to go for the fresh cheese, garden decor items, and breads.
This weekend, their feature was fresh strawberries, so I was on a mission to get some of those too. We also planned to buy some fresh fish to cook up for dinner for his mother and sister that evening after we attended a memorial event for a friend. But what I didn’t expect to get was popcorn.
As we walked passed the booth offering hand popped kettle corn, we were quick to say no thanks to the vendor because we feared the carb count. He was quick to point out there was probably more sugar from the strawberries we were popping into our mouths than a handful of the kettle corn. He said the carbs were 16g (5%) and due to the way they pop it, they keep the sugar and salt low. So with a quick taste, I agreed – it wasn’t too sugary or sweet tasting, so I bought a bag. However, fresh veggies and fruits were on our minds, so we opted to also get not one but 4 quarts of fresh strawberries from two places.
Strong Family Farm, established in 1878, was at the market offering various items, and fresh strawberries. They will be holding a fundraiser today, Monday, June 17th, at the Wood-n-Tap in Vernon, CT between 5 pm and 9 pm as part of their efforts as a non-profit and education center. We also got strawberries from Scantic Valley Farm, the market’s feature of the weekend. Scantic Valley Farm is a family owned farm located at 327 Ninth District Road in Somers, CT, where you can pick-your-own, but I tend to buy versus pick, so having these available at the market was a real treat. We stocked up for the weekend.
Also spotted at the market were garden decor handcrafted by “Faith, Love and Ladybugs” – all upcycled, instead of recycled. These plant tags and tea cup items were adorable. To see more, visit this creators pages on Facebook and Etsy.com. Part of going to the market is participating in helping those with dreams achieve them. This young lady’s creations were all well made and perfect for the gardens. I regret not getting some of those cute gnomes plant markers now, but I can return to get them next time.
When we got home, we were excited to have fresh cheeses, eggs, french bread, fish, and mushrooms, a big healthy bunch of romaine lettuce, two kinds of cherry tomatoes, and more to share later that evening. And on Sunday, we used the fresh strawberries in pancakes, and the night before I popped a few into champagne. Yumm again. All the while, you feel like you are eating healthy – because you are!
As I said earlier, we are lucky to have these wonderful farmers markets in our surrounding towns. In fact, in two weeks, East Windsor will be featuring their farmers market open house on June 30th, Sunday, where I will be there along with my brother’s band, called the BACKTRAX Band. Come by for a visit, on Rt 140 in-front of Joe’s Fine Wine and Spirits and the Golden Gavel Auction buildings – summer will be over before you know – now is your chance to get and support our Local Farm Fresh Food. Drag your family along like I did – you won’t regret it.
The Ellington Farmers Market is held in the perfect location, in the center of town at Arbor Park. It set up in a circle so you can make your rounds literally starting at one end of the circle and going all the way around back to your starting point. The market master, Dianne Trueb, is quite impressive. She and her farmers market organization have even created a downloadable app for the market where you can get automatic updates of their scheduled offerings, and can join their loyalty programs.
By the way, I highly recommend the Feta Pesto made fresh with basil, pasteurized sheep’s milk feta, extra virgin olive oil, and pine nuts, garlic – oh yumm – spread it on the french bread. Also, the Chevre cheese with balsamic and oil is yummy. Margaret and her daughter host a booth showcasing freshly made cheeses by three different cheese makers, Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm, The Butterfield Farm Company, and Hastings Farm. How nice it is to have these amazing cheeses specially delivered to the market for our access and enjoyment.
And “Norm’s Best” marinated mushrooms are outstanding, don’t miss those. They got gobbled up quickly Saturday evening when we were home enjoying all the goodness of fresh. And “The Fish Market” has a wonderful selection, we got fresh fish and cooked them up on the grill with the fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs. It was just perfect.
Container Crazy Cathy T
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