Sunday, June 3, 2012

Free Morning & Farm Fresh Eggs

Today marks my first day off in weeks that isn't jam-packed with things to do.  Most people might take this time to sleep in or...sleep in.  But I am not like most people.  I woke up early in order to get to the farmer's market right when it opened.  After a quick stop off at Rojos' Roastery for a cappuccino - served with a small dark chocolate chip on the spoon, its the best one in the area -  we headed up River Road to my favorite, the Stockton Market.

The market has changed fairly drastically over the years, and even more so in the month since I last visited.  I almost had a heart attack when I realized that there was a new stand where my chocolatier used to be, however, after frantically looking around for a few panicked moments, I found that she had moved to a larger space near the front of the market.  She even had some new truffles to sample, including a Macallan 12 year old Scotch-filled milk chocolate bite that was flavorful, but not overwhelming.  There were quite a few new faces in the market including White Mule Farms who's claim-to-fame is Spodee, a Depression era hooch made from wine, herbs, spices, and moonshine.  They weren't able to offer any samples of the "wine with a kick" at the market, but the innovative vendors created a Spondee jam that they were able to offer spoonfuls of and OhMyGod it was out of this world (as of next week, the liquor store next-door to the market will be selling the stuff, so I'll be picking up a few bottles and letting you all know how it is).
I, of course, made a stop at the Gravity Hill stand and picked up a head of lettuce - basically because it was too beautiful not to - and some garlic scapes.  Garlic scapes, or green garlic, is immature garlic and resembles a scallion.  I was introduced to them last summer by the farmers at Gravity Hill and the New York Times Dining & Wine Section just did a piece on the curly little beauties, so I thought it was necessary to get them.
Next stop was Crossroads Bake Shop for pastries, because, let's be real, no Sunday morning is complete without pastries.  We got the standby chocolate croissant, then sprang for a strawberry one, a cinnamon roll, and a morning roll - my personal favorite.  It like a sticky bun, but topped with this butter and honey glaze instead of icing.  Absolutely delightful with a cup of coffee or tall glass of O.J.

Then, the find of the morning, were the eggs at the Tullamore Farm stand.  The vendor was so excited to tell us about the farm as she cleaned the eggs.  The farm raises grass fed cows and chickens.  The chickens are moved throughout the pastures in mobile units following the cows, eating grass and grubs.  Their diet also contains a locally grown grain mix that includes flax seed and kelp.  The vendor told us how bright and vibrant the yolks were (apparently they make lemon bars a beautiful shade of yellow), but warned us that they weren't good hard boiled eggs because of their difficulty to peel - which, if you remember from my Deviled Egg post, means that they are fresh, and according to my new friend, the eggs we bought were laid that morning and still warm.  Last year I read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which made me want to be a farmer and raise chickens.  Pollan goes directly to the source to find out where our food comes from, while visiting, working on farms, and eating the food produced there in attempts to connect with what we eat - there's an incredible passage where he describes slaughtering a chicken, something I think all meat-eaters should do in their lifetime in order to understand how Chicken Little becomes those fleshy pieces of meat wrapped in plastic in the supermarket.  The way the vendor described Tullamore reminded me so much of one of the farms Pollan visited - from the grass fed animals to the kelp added to their diet to the outstanding color of the yolks.  That's what I was most excited about, the yolks.  I remember Pollan saying how in awe he was of something as simple as an egg, how the color was unlike any he's seen, and how it tasted so much richer than supermarket eggs.  And I wanted to see it for myself.  Therefor, we came home from the market and made eggs for breakfast.  Just two fried eggs - a little pepper, a splash of hot sauce, simple to highlight the egg.  And, God, were they good eggs, creamy and soft and flavorful.  And those yolks!  You really can't understand the difference a natural lifestyle and diet makes on an animal until you've seen and tasted grass fed chicken eggs.
Sitting at the table in my backyard, reading the Sunday Review, mason jar full of orange juice, remnants of orange-yellow yolk on my plate, I realized how beautiful the simple things are - a free morning and fresh eggs.  And it made me smile...though it could have been the fact that there was a morning bun waiting for me on the kitchen counter.

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