fermented foods

Five Reasons to Hit the Market Before It's Over for the Season

Only two Markets left for the 2016 season, and they'll be held, rain or shine. In fact, the only time I can remember the Market being cancelled was that one Saturday Market with the huge gusty winds which blew canopies away, turning them into projectile missiles... As the sun and pleasant temperatures give way to that monoseason which lasts from October to July, I thought you might need a little motivating to get out there two more times:

ONE: The apple pie contest was moved to this week, October 20! It's not too late to turn out and have your mouth water while you look on.

apple_pie

TWO: It's time to stock up. Last year I experimented with "cold storage" for apples. I put a cooler outside and put a couple bags in and then just ate them at a regular rate. Worked just fine. This frees up refrigerator space for the bags of pears and Asian pears! Potatoes also keep fine in the fridge, and we let squash go all winter just sitting on the floor in the pantry.

THREE: Disaster preparedness! In our home I've been assigned gathering canned/boxed food in case of The Big One. Clearly last Saturday's storm was not The Big One, which means it's still out there. If this nameless disaster were to hit today, based on the current pantry ingredients, my family would be thrown back on lots of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tuna, a can of coconut milk, and some strange parsley sauce that was on clearance at QFC. Our Market offers tuna, of course, in more flavors and varieties than the grocery store, as well as pickled foods in jars, beef and tuna jerky, jams and honey, and beverages. Because if the power is going to be out or you've been pinned under a fallen bookcase, you might as well live a little.

preparedness

FOUR and FIVE and FIVE-POINT-FIVE: Because walking and vegetables and wine will improve your health. Read a great book this week, which I'll write more about later, but the author's main point was that "healthy habits matter more than weight." And, according to author Sandra Aamodt, "four health habits predict much of the risk of dying over the next fourteen years, regardless of weight." These silver bullets are: (1) not smoking; (2) exercising at least twelve times a month; (3) eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; and (4) light to moderate drinking. The Market can't help you with your smoking habit, but walking the stalls can be part of your exercising, and there are fruits, vegetables, and wine bottles galore. (FYI, "light to moderate drinking" was defined as a glass of wine per day for women and two glasses for men.)

So you see, I've turned the last couple weeks of the Market into a life-or-death situation for you. So please--choose life!

New Market Discoveries

The sunshine and good times continue!

I hope you had a chance to get out to Opening Day of the 2015 Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market, but if not I have a first look at some of this season's discoveries.

Drumroll...please welcome Buffy Catering! No vampires here--just Middle Eastern food based on family recipes.

There's hummus, baba ghanoush, salad, turnover-looking things with cheese or sesame...

even a dessert/breadie item that doesn't look like the rugelach I'm familiar with but one-ups it by adding chocolate:

I do have to say, prepared food prices at the Market have been creeping up, just as they have at the grocery store and at restaurants! Fortunately we have a whole season in which to work our way through the various offerings.

Even if you don't want a biscuit, don't you kind of want the tricked-out van?

My daughter/Sherpa chose to get her weekly snack wages from new vendor The Biscuit Box. Their menu boasts savory and sweet offerings, of which the ham-and-cheese and the strawberry-jam are the respective bestsellers.

The Bao Biscuit and the Summer Sidhu Strawberry Jam

The verdict on the strawberry jam? "It tastes like Grandma's." A high compliment, considering my mother-in-law whips up her famous batches of freezer jam with Klicker strawberries from Walla Walla.

(And, speaking of strawberries, Sam of Collins Family Orchard says the spring has been so warm that THE FIRST STRAWBERRIES will likely make their appearance this week!!! Global warming does have its temporary upsides.)

While we're on a sweet note, you might have noticed our new Dolcetta Artisan Sweets. Creator Andrea used to be a pastry chef, and she's now turned her talents toward beautiful and beautifully packaged little artisan chocolates. A perfect hostess gift or reward for behaving yourself the rest of the week.

On my to-do list--the dark chocolate pretzel bar.

This guy

And, my final tidbit for the week, did you notice Britt's Pickles joined us on Thursdays? Not only that, but look closely and you might see Rome Doherty on board, retired from Camp Robber Jams.

Did you know most pickles (storebought AND homemade) use vinegar and cooking to achieve their flavor and shelf-stability?

This causes the cucumbers to lose most of their Vitamin C and enzymes and kills off the healthy bacteria which aid digestion, fight disease and provide amazing flavor.

Who knew, right? But Britt's pickles are raw, live culture foods, fermented in oak barrels.

The unique process of fermenting vegetables using lactic acid bacteria, which has been used for thousands of years, allows Britt’s Pickles to retain the rich rewards of the natural enzymes and vitamins in vegetables, even in the middle of winter. Natural fermentation interacts with the sugars in the cucumbers, garlic, and spices, transforming them into lactic acid & CO2. 

I'd read something about this, so I was excited to see this:

Uh-huh. A home fermentation kit with which you can take advantage of summer's approaching bounty. Pickles, green beans, carrots, asparagus. You name it, you pickle it. In a way that keeps the nutrients and probiotics you into wonderfulness!

I want

Naturally fermented foods have been around forever (think kimchi and sauerkraut), and their health benefits are only now getting press. I'm thinking everyone might get a jar of homemade pickled goodness this year, instead of the knitwear I've turned out to be really slow at!

Check in with the blog for more discoveries this season, or find them for yourself this Thursday, from 3-7 in the Bellevue Presbyterian Church parking lot.