Farmers Market Challenge

Greens! I saw greens! So many greens!

There was kale and kalettes, Brussels sprouts, leeks, spring mix, arugula, chives, cabbage tops, cukes, onions, radishes – I wanted it all!

It seemed poetic, almost, the last market of the winter season had finally brought forth several venders featuring the first of the spring veggies and greens. Two vendors – Greendale Herb and Vine and Ripple Creek – I hadn’t seen since the first market of the season.

“I’m happy to be back,” said Chris Kay, owner of Ripple Creek Organic Farm.

I picked up a leek and asked about the dark green leaves: can I use them? Because the leeks were still young, their leaves had not yet reached the fibrous, stringy stage. They were delectably edible, Kay told me. He suggested I use them in a blended soup or chop them up and roast them.

“They’ve got plenty of flavour,” he boasted.

So much soup, so much taste-a-licious!

I was not the only one excited over the greens.

A woman at Ossome Acres was practically jumping up and down over the cabbage tops. I had never had cabbage tops; I was intrigued. She told me they paired excellent in stir fries and eggs. She told me their season was super short. I had a nibble of a leaf and oh man, where have these been my whole life? They were like no other green I have yet tried. So tender, so sweet. I had them in frittatas and soups. But by far my most favourite way was mixed with other greens in salad.

When I spotted the bags of arugula, I saw visions, not of sugarplums, but of Neopolitan pizza. There would be quiche with the leeks and chives. The kalettes and kale were destined for the roaster. And the French breakfast radish (okay, so I may have totally picked those radishes over the others for the name alone), which were more sweet than heat due to the months of cold, were a perfect addition to our nightly salads.

The most economical purchase of the shop was the potted garlic acquired from Greendale Herb and Vine. The pot was already abundant with garlic leaves that I have been using in our salads, omelettes, garlic bread, free standing even, and anything else I can think to put garlic in – so much flavour! By mid June, we should have the early makings of garlic scapes growing out from the centre of the bulbs, which also feature an intense garlic flavour and are perfect for grilling, hummus, or fresh in salads. And by July, the three planted bulbs will be ready for picking.

That’s like three for the price of one. Win-Win.

Potted garlic: three uses for the price of one

Market Loot:

• Ossome Acres:

– 1 bag kalettes: $3

– 1 bag cabbage tops: $4

• Ripple Creek Organic Farm:

– 1 bag arugula: $4

– 1 leek: $3.50

– 1 bunch radishes: $2.50

• Outwest Ranch

– 1 bunch chives: $2

• Greendale Herb and Vine:

– 1 potted garlic plant: $8

– 1 bag meadow bouquet tea: $4

– 1 container snacking cucumbers: $3

– 1 artisan garden spoon: $4

• Sweet Thea

– 1 chocolava cookie: $2.25

Total spent: $40.25

Greens! Greens! Greens!

The weekly summer market starts this Thursday at Tipperary Park from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and I hear it is booked solid. Can’t wait to see the greens that await.