Farmers Market Challenge Summer 2017: Week 5

Give us this day our daily strawberries.

Er, I mean…

No, wait, that’s exactly what I mean.

It is strawberry season, and every day we are running out buying two pints of strawberries. Every. Day. This season is short; we need to take advantage while we still can. So it was a given that come market day, strawberries would be number one on the list. Now, at $10 for the larger two-pint size, which both strawberry vendors were charging, it was about $2 more than I would have preferred spending. I almost opted for the smaller, one-pint container figuring I could get more out of my $40 budget that way. But the thing was I had my slightly impatient four-year-old under foot and no partner to help with the load; there was no time to overthink the $2.

While I may have been able to shave that $2 off at a nearby fruit store, I would not know exactly where the strawberries were coming from without asking the cashier for explicit details, of which they themselves may not know, and may require asking the store’s manager or owner. That information could very well get lost or mixed up in translation. Whereas, the strawberries I purchased at the market, I know the exact farm they were picked at, and I am certain they were picked that morning because that’s what the farm’s owner, and the first bite told me. Fresh does not lie.

Plus, they were Spiderman approved.

I could barely get the money into Tarin’s hand before my mini Spiderman (compliments of Tarin’s Facepainting) was popping them in his mouth!

Market Loot

• Mandair Farms

– 2 pint strawberries $10

• Harvest Direct Farms:

– 1 pint cherries $6

• Fresh Quality Produce:

– 1 pint raspberries $5

• Ossome Acres:

– 1 bunch swiss chard $3

• Zaklan Heritage Farm:

– 1 Napa cabbage $3.75

– 1 bunch Mizuno mustard greens $3

– 1 bunch Miz America mustard greens $3

• Tempea

– 300 g tempeh $7

Total spent: $40.75

Tempeh and Napa cabbage were the most outside-the-box purchases for me this week. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the Napa cabbage, although it took me up until writing this post to actually get down to business doing it. I was recently gifted the book Home Fermentation, a Starter Guide by Katherine Green. After perusing the pages, I noted Napa Cabbage was required for several of the kimchi recipes. I have been wanting to try my hand at kimchi for a couple years now, but never had the confidence or know-how to do so. Well, after last week’s You Can Just Call Me Chef post, the confidence is in the bag, and with the starter guide, and the Napa cabbage in hand, hopefully the know-how is now there too. I’ll let you know how it turns out next week.

If you’re into Napa cabbage, take note this week’s market is the last week it will be available.

I had no clue about tempeh prior to last week’s market. Sure, I’d heard of it; my sister-in-law is full-on vegan. But I had never tried it, never really given it much thought. I chatted with the women at the Tempea booth and learned that it was a soy product. However, likely because I was somewhat scattered due to the solo parenting that evening, I didn’t realize until later in the week, that it is actually a fermented food, fermented with the Rhizopus mould.

It’s laughable, though, they way I learned tempeh was fermented. After seeing a taste-a-licious Instagram post from New West Farmers Market president Jen Arbo showing her rendition of Tempea’s fried tempeh hash, I was inspired to make my own. But with no potatoes on hand, I opted to make a breakfast tempeh “sausage” and egg sandwich instead – for lunch, of course.

When I opened the package, I thought it kind of looked odd with its white speckles all throughout, but I just cracked that up as a “vegan” kind of texture type thing. But then I smelled it and thought hmm, it smells a bit, odd. And that’s when I decided to read the friendly Tempea product information handout.

Fermented food! I like fermented foods! See kimchi above. I also have a chemistry lab in the bottom corner of my pantry growing a scoby for my ongoing kombucha consumption.

Savoury Tempeh Breakfast Sandwich. Click photo for the recipe.

By the way, this sandwich was to die for! I altered the recipe a bit adding a sunny side up egg because I love eggs and a slice of cheddar cheese because who can say no to melted cheese. Plus, I grilled a few slices of summer squash I had left over from last week’s market, and topped it with mustard greens. I left out the ketchup because I’m not about ketchup, but added in a few dollops of stone ground mustard. So, so, smoky good! I highly recommend giving it a shot the next time Tempea’s at the market on July 6.

What of your purchases was out of the box?