Saturday, March 3, 2012

Satuday @ the Farmer's Market

You know what I love about spring more than the warm weather or robins or crocuses or kite flying or naps in the sun or pastel colors or waking up to the sun shining through my bedroom window?  The return of farmer's markets.  I love farm markets.  I'm lucky enough to live in an area loaded with farms and markets to sell their produce.  My favorite, Gravity Hill Farm is a small organic family-owned farm, and a five minute drive from my house.  Unfortunately, Gravity Hill doesn't open and begin selling until late in the spring, as do most farms.  Thankfully for me, the Trenton Farmer's Market is open all year round.

What's great about the farmer's market in Trenton is that not only does it feature produce from local farms, but there are permanent meat and cheese vendors, a winery, a fish monger, and bakeries, not to mention fresh pasta, peanut butter, honey, herbs and spices, and the Amish.  Yes, the Amish have made it to Trenton, a fact which the market boasts proudly.  The Amish are here and they brought Whoopie Pies.

Basically, they have everything.  And its all local.  The best part is the atmosphere; the coldness of the supermarket (fluorescent lighting, tile floors, lack of interaction between shoppers other than evil stares when someone cuts someone else off with their chart) is traded for the warmth of the farmer's market.  It's always the same people.  The vendors basically haven't changed since I was born, and the same people shop there every week.  You walk through the market and you hear the regulars greeting each other, and talking about their kids and estranged family members while sitting sharing a coffee and danish or plate of fried chicken.  There's a sense of community at the market that makes the whole shopping experience so much more enjoyable.
My dad and I hit up the Trenton Farmer's Market this morning to browse and pick up dinner fixings.  Right inside the entrance is the Terhune Orchard booth.  The Princeton farm is famous for their apples and cider, and their cider donuts are beloved by the Confoy family.  Aside from baskets and baskets of apples, Terhune had a lovely selection of fresh pies, fresh flowers, and spaghetti squash.  The girl working the booth was extremely helpful, steering us toward the best apple for chunky sauce (Winesap) and her own spaghetti squash recipes.  So, we bought some apples to make applesauce and squash to roast up.
After that, we hit up the Amish for a pie and free cookies.  (I have to say, those Amish have the cutest children in the entire world.  A five year old served us our cookies and worked the register, then ordered her father around about what needed restocking.  Adorable.  I couldn't handle it.  I wanted to steal her, but I felt like that might have been frowned upon.)

To finish up our time at the market, we walked outside and across the parking lot to the fish monger.  Now, while it looks like it might be a front for various illicit activities, its an amazing place to buy your fish.  It's got a great selection that's all fresh, and the monger really knows his fish.  Not only was he willing to answer questions we had (I got a nice little lesson on crabs and their behavior during this time of year), he gave us a deal on the filet of salmon we bought.  

Overall, it was a terribly successful Saturday outing, which led to a wonderfully delicious, fresh, and locally grown dinner.  While I love the Trenton Farmer's market, I can't wait till later this year, because for me, nothing beats a spring morning spent outdoors at the farmer's market.  
Spaghetti squash, Salmon, Homemade Apple Sauce

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