Farmers Market Challenge: Week 14

Last week’s post was all about summer; this week’s is all about fall.

The air is crisp, the orange, red and yellow leaves are blowing in the wind, children screeching with glee as they scatter through the organized piles, hoodies and winter leggings taking over shorts and tanks, hot chocolate fast replacing ice cream.

‘Tis the season for belly warming, hearty recipes.

The Bartel menu has officially embraced fall – tortilla soup; quinoa, kale and squash stew; stir fry; and cheesy, cheesy quiche were staples of the week – made all the more comforting by market-fresh goodness.

To be honest, I didn’t know we were going all in with fall, in fact, our market shopping list this week was quite lacking. We had our usual meal-planning session, but both husband and I were stumped as to what to put on it. Meals were suggested, but ultimately rejected – we were not inspired.

So we went in with a list of our staples: greens and a few veggies, and that was it. We left it to the market to decide.

This week’s loot:

Zaklan Heritage Farm:

  • 1 mini purple cabbage: $1
  • 1 leek: $3
  • 1 purple onion: $1.60
  • 1 bag arugula: $4
  • 2 bunches mustard greens: $5

Greendale Herb and Vine:

  • 1 eggplant: $2.50

Country Village Market:

  • 1 basket Brussels sprouts: $3

Golden Ears Cheese Crafters

  • 1 medium-sized  chunk of smoked gouda $8

Wild West Coast Seafoods

  • 1 pound petrale sole: $12

Total spent was $40.10.

Of the loot not on the original must-have list were the Brussels sprouts (screams fall), red cabbage, leeks, eggplant, onion, smoked gouda, and petrale sole.

Smoked gouda
Smoked gouda

We knew we wanted a fish, tuna to be exact, but unfortunately, due to a “crummy” season, what was $12 for a pound a month or so ago is now $18 to $20. Sadly, out of our price range. Ron “the fish guy” suggested we try the petrale. We were hesitant at first because every time we’ve purchased sole from the grocery store it has significantly shrunk upon grilling.

That’s filler, Ron told us, all water. Apparently most fish sold in chains have added water filler to beef up their appearances!!! Ron assured us it was a tasty fish that would retain its size, and at $12 a pound, it was within our family friendly budget.

Because it’s a lighter fish, we didn’t want to overload it with seasoning – keep it simple, Ron advised.

We splashed it with olive oil, added dill, salt and pepper, wrapped it in tinfoil and threw it on the barbecue, along with tinfoil wrapped veggies, including the eggplant and zucchini from last week.


My only concern with the fish, which by the way, my four-year-old devoured without any prodding, is the bone content – there were a lot of small, fine bones littered throughout. Good thing the boy doesn’t care about appearances of his foods just yet; it was quite mangled by the time I was through with it.

The Brussels sprouts and eggplant were grilled on the barbecue – sooo yummy! A portion of the leeks and cheese were used in the quiche; the remainder of the leek was used in a quinoa stew that also used the delicata squash, tomatoes and tatsoi from last week, as well as the Russian garlic from two weeks ago, and the onion, and purple cabbage. Pretty much I threw everything I had in there!

Essentially, a kitchen-sink stew
Essentially, a kitchen-sink stew

The stir fry incorporated the green beans, red pepper and garlic from last week, as well as this week’s onion. And with one more day to go, a little bit of onion and cheese remaining, I am heavily considering making a single-serving French onion soup.

Fall, it’s a beautiful, tasty time of year, don’t you think?