December Farmers' Market

I'm not sure the reason but there's a certain shine to a lot of the produce at the farmers' market right now. As soon as I say that though I remember the summer squash I saw today. It had a greyish quality and the dry farmed tomatoes still being harvested have black spots too. But aside from those there's some pretty produce.

The cauliflowers have been fairytale white. Every perfect head I see I want to buy. And the spinach; the spinach has been gleaming. No dirt, no sand, just pure emerald leaves to be rinsed and barely cooked. There are bunches of rainbow chard that could be enjoyed in a vase as thoroughly as on a plate for dinner. The potatoes are even pretty this December.

Fortunately for me the winter squash are also attractive this year. It's the ugly squash that pinched my heart last winter and fall until I brought so many home I had to bribe friends to relieve me of them. That and I thought there wouldn't be a local thing to eat in December and January but winter squash and I was afraid we would starve.

On Sunday I bought cilantro, I know it's way too late for cilantro, but the smell; it snapped it's fingers and I carried a bunch home with a crisp head of cabbage. I displayed the cabbage on the kitchen table for hours, admiring it before giving it refuge in the fridge. The appreciation made it taste sweeter when it arrived at the table again.

Maybe it's the newness of the winter crops that make them pretty or maybe it's the warm falls days we had. Maybe it's the farmers sincerity, a good year of compost or the lack of rain. I'll likely never know and it's okay. I'm simply enjoying the harvest now because the next one is sure to be different.

What's your farmers' market like this December?


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I have to admit, this post made me a little jealous as our farmer's market is closed for the year. :-/ But luckily, there are local grocers around that still carry local produce throughout the winter.

I think I've been doing the same with winter squash, but I live in the Midwest, is my fear rational that without tons of it, we will starve? :-)

I got a head of local cabbage a few weeks ago, it was gorgeous, I've never seen a head of cabbage look like that. And you are right, sometimes the produce doesn't look as nice, but it's flavor cannot even be compared to the shiny, beautiful, but tasteless produce found at the store.

Thanks for another reminder of how appreciative we should be for our local bounties!

Green Bean said...

It's always suddenly quiet the week after Thanksgiving. Many of the vendors disappear until spring but those stalwart souls that stay? They are offering all of the beautiful, sturdy fruits and vegetables you find.

Christina said...

If it isn't below zero, it isn't too late for cilantro. Cilantro grows best in cool weather.

Doesn't squash taste amazing this time of year? For me, winter time means sweet, sweet greens. Yum.

kale for sale said...

jennifer - Repeat after me: You-will-not-starve. But then I'm not in the midwest although if you'd have seen my pantry last winter you would have thought we were a family of six and lived in Alaska. It's amazing I still eat squash and love it.

You just reminded me I forgot to buy cabbage at the market this morning. Damn it. But I did get the prettiest little shiny brussel sprouts. I forget the whole country doesn't have year round farmers' markets and when I'm not appreciating them for all their worth I do feel a bit guilty. But honestly not for long. Every place has it's upside and not so upside.

green bean - One of my favorite growers told me this morning it was his last market for the year and I was surprised. It seems like we're in perpetual summer/fall here. But I guess winter is on it's way when we see, as you say, who the stalwart souls are. I do like how easy it is to find a parking space in the winter months.

christina - I didn't know the cilantro likes cool weather. But that was obvious. Thanks for telling me. And yes, the squash is delicious. Roasted delicata is our current favorite.