Two or three times a year I like to take a notebook with me as I visit my local Farmers Market and jot down a few of the amazing things that are available. This mid-summer a hungry shopper is going to be thrilled to see an incredible variety of produce and protein for sale. Chef Jerry Pellegrino suggested we start with one of our favorite vendors, Shane Hughes of Liberty Delight Farm.
Shane turned me onto the wonders of Berkshire pork and he's got plenty of choices for the summer grill. Bone-in or boneless pork chops are at the top of his list, along with those slender pork tenderloins. Have you tried grilling ham steaks?
Well he's got those for sale as well. And don't overlook his farm-raised bacon to go along with your home-made baked beans.
This is prime time for squash and everybody seems to have bright yellow and green squash, along with a new arrival, baby squash and Patti pans.
Eden Farm, run by the Kim family, offers up big heads of bok choy cabbage and pecks of peppers and cucumbers ideal for pickling.
Joe Bartenfelder's White Marsh farm had dozens of gorgeous bouquets of cut flowers for sale as well as fresh okra and an assortment of kale.
Martin Family Farm was trotting out their home-grown garlic along with radishes and big fat shallots.
Billy Caulk's Pine Grove Farm is one of my favorites. Look for pretty yellow
wax beans and huge ripe tomatoes (both red and green). He's laid out some of the biggest beets I've seen in a long time, right next to his specialty, Eastern Shore cantaloupe.
Our friend Joan Norman's famous One Straw Farm had beautiful smallish white onions hanging on the end of dark green stems. Nearby are their smaller cousin, the classic little Spring onion. Joan always has a ton of lettuce on hand in multiple varieties. I spotted one called "Salanova" handsome variety of butter lettuce.
King Mushrooms has a little stand with a great variety of fresh mushooms for sale. I saw cartons of morels, lion's mane, oyster and the bigger King oyster, and beautiful little shitakes.
If you get to the market every week, you can start enjoying South Mountain Creamery's milk, cheese and butter. I just wish you could get some of their outstanding ice cream.
Reid Orchard had something I rarely see: red currents! Right next to them were cartons of pretty red sour cherries, perfect for pies.
Black Rock Orchard also has sour cherries as well as a good assortment of peaches, plums, nectarines and the oddly named pluot.
Waverly Farm specializes in home-made sausage including chorizo and bratwurst.
And my friends at Gardner's Gourmet are selling baby spinach, holy basil and purple basil, mixed greens and mesclun, and fabulous looking heirloom tomatoes.