Neighbor Lady Cheese

Happy Market Days Are Here Again

Hope everyone got out to the Market for Opening Day! But the good news is, the season is on, and each week will bring new delights.

Like these peonies, for starters

Like these peonies, for starters

In the excitement, did you catch some of the new additions to our Market?

Like the crepe truck, Crisp Creperie:


which should win a prize just for some of the names of its offerings. Although we didn't get to try any this week, we were particularly delighted by "Pig in the Orchard."

In fact, pigs in fun places was kind of a theme, as we discovered when we stopped to chat with Chehalis Valley Farm, home to Pig in the Forest, a.k.a. "Forest-Raised Pigs."


What exactly is a "forest-raised" pig? Exactly what it sounds like. Like their wild boar cousins in the southern United States (who also began life as domesticated pigs, once brought by European explorers), these little porkers live life to the fullest, roaming around their woods, doing piggy things like digging and foraging and hanging in the shade. Pigs free to do piggy things and to eat piggy things leads to tasty pork for us. I've got some sitting in my freezer right now, and we've already enjoyed one of their pastured chickens.

On the new and exotic side, I spied...locally-grown saffron???


Saffron is that most exotic (and expensive) of seasonings, and I confess that the only time I ever bought it was decades ago in Istanbul, where I saw some at the Grand Bazaar and thought, "Saffron? I've never cooked with it, but I know it's expensive, so I should grab some because this is a good price--I think." I made saffron rice once, and that may have been it. I'm going to have to stop by this table and learn more. (And, whatever the price, saffron could hardly be more expensive than vanilla right now. Yikes. Vanilla prices, if you haven't had to buy a bean or bottle of extract lately, are through the roof. As pricey as silver, for Pete's sake.)

Moving from the exotic to the girl next door, did you come across Neighbor Lady Cheese?


My terrible picture completely blocks out the cheese, but, believe me, it's there. I have the Cowgirl Cheddar in my fridge to prove it. Cheesemaker and -monger Jan Addison had the brilliant idea to add bacon to cheddar, one of those Eureka moments you can't believe no one ever had before, and I'm looking forward to grating mine over a baked potato, as she suggested. Or making an extra-tasty grilled cheese sandwich with it. (My oldest still raves about the bacon-and-grilled-cheese sandwich she got at Safeco Field, so it would be fun to surprise her with this.)

And finally, for this week, we found plant starts! To be specific, broccoli, orange cauliflower(!) and romanesco(!!). Since the plants all look pretty much the same to the untrained eye (i.e., my eyes), it was helpful to ask our farmers questions. Broccoli is broccoli. And orange cauliflower is just like the white stuff, only a pastel orange. Romanesco is the spirally, spiky cauliflower-like vegetable that looks like something out of a math textbook:

Thanks, Wikipedia, for the shot of "Romanesco broccoli."

Thanks, Wikipedia, for the shot of "Romanesco broccoli."

If you love to grow your own goodies, don't miss these. I'll keep the discoveries coming this week!