Monday, February 4, 2008

Attack of the Heirloom Tomatoes (this weekend's run around)

This weekend was spent searching for the best stuff we could find at some of our local farmers markets. Saturday was our local Upper Eastside market. The usual suspects were there (Chef Michael Schwartz with a box of mozzarella and ricotta, the cookie guy, the brownie woman, etc.) and the pickings are getting better and better. For us the winner was baby bok choy at the Market Company booth. They looked fresh and crisp and were 4 for $1. Can't beat that.

Sunday we headed over to the Gardner's farmers market in Pinecrest. Tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere. We stocked up on regular sized heirlooms from Teena's Pride for $5 a box, mini-heirlooms from Redland Organics for $4.25 a pint, then we went a bit crazy at the Redland Organics booth where we got mizuna, canistels, and purple beans (like the green ones, but purple and much cooler looking).

Last stop was la viejita (the old lady). It's a patch of land just south of the Costco in Kendall which has u-pick tomatoes, strawberries and herbs. In a frenzy there we picked up strawberries, arugula (large and baby bunches), thyme, purple basil and cilantro.

Considering that a just few years ago I was buying the vast majority of my (inferior) produce at Publix, I can't believe how far we've come to getting local produce into everyone's hands. Granted, I'm running around town like an idiot wasting gas and spewing ozone-depleting emissions, but it's such a difference come dinnertime to know that what I'm having has come (predominantly) from a few miles away. But our choices are getting better, our restaurants are sourcing locally (with Chef Schwartz leading the charge), the CSA is doing bang up business and the popularity of the brand new UES farmers market shows that people in the area are caring more about what they eat and where it comes from. Granted, I still think that people are being duped by vendors that basically sell wholesale imported produce at these markets (not that there's anything wrong with that) or maybe these people don't really care where their food comes from and just want to buy their produce in the outdoors. Fine with me as long as locals keep coming with their produce so that someday I won't have to write about running around South Florida to procure my fruits and veggies.

Now, I'm wondering how long someone could go making meals using primarily locally sourced ingredients from South Florida? I started last night (I'll post later on what I made) so let's see how far I can take it.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Glad to hear the UES is getting better. Big change from the first week when on one seemed to be really impressed... Looking forward to reading about the local eating challenge.