Sunday, August 19, 2012

it's about food, it's about people

Pancake Breakfast
Saturday, August 25, 2012
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Commons, Third Street near Washington
A benefit for the Wixtrom Family

Hmmm, hmmm good pancakes!

A farmers market is all about food, of course, fresh produce and berries and fruit and jams and bread, and I was thinking about that while driving home, munching on  popcorn - specifically, Janelle Buttery's* Pop That! Sweet Corn popcorn made with maple sugar and spices I won't divulge - and sharing it with Buster. Yes, I was coming home from the farmers market with popcorn, not vegetables, and by the time I got home it would be just popcorn kernels between my teeth and odd crumbs on the van seat.

I love the food I can eat while at the market, and yesterday that started with ice cream. The homemade ice cream vendor doesn't have a fixed spot so he floats around, a new spot each week, but never a spot near my beeswax booth, which I stick to like a bee to honey, so all summer long I've watched people walk by with ice cream cones in fantastical flavors like Sweet Potato, Avocado, and Earl Grey and could only imagine the tastes I was missing. So imagine yesterday when Fly by Night Ice Cream was just a skip away from my booth. Yes, I lost control, and at 9:15 a.m. I was enjoying a cool scoop of Earl Grey along with my hot cup of Earl Grey (from the thermos). Oh Dad, you taught me well. The flavor? Subtle, demure, delightful.

A bit later, I had one of Heather Zdroik's Bakewell tarts. Heather is Sinfully Seductive Sweets, and the fact that her booth is practically next to mine every Saturday is a bit disconcerting. How not to have a brownie or one those gooey, chocolatey, grandma bar things? She even makes homemade marshmallows. The scones are always good, but a few weeks ago I started in on the tarts, which Heather had just started baking, and now I'm hooked. The Bakewell tart is kind of like a pie, as it has a crust, and the filling is jam below and atop ground almonds. First, there was the strawberry tart, and I thought I'd never tasted anything so fine. I hinted I might come back for a blueberry Bakewell if Heather so baked, and in a week or two, voila, a blueberry tart appeared. But - it had icing. Someone had told Heather, "Bakewell tarts are iced." I was skeptical, because I liked the covert sweetness of the tart and icing seemed a little overt, and, anyway, why mess with a good thing? Honestly, the blueberry Bakewell was good, but not as good as the strawberry. Did I mention that to Heather? Hmmmm ... This week, an orange marmalade Bakewell  showed up, no icing, and ... Have I mentioned how wonderful these tarts are?

Heather's orange marmalade Bakewell tart.

As I said, I always graze close to home, and that was as true three years ago, my first year selling beeswax at the market, as it is today. Then, more often than not, I was set up alongside Lyn and Rachel Wixtrom of Wixtrom Natural Farms, well-known in these parts for a variety of excellent potatoes, including the favored German Butterball. We had a lot of crazy weather that year, and when the gale winds blew the Wixtroms and I held on to each others' tents, grumbled about the rain, and commiserated over the cold. When I discovered the small, wonderfully divine loaf of lemon bread that Lyn baked, I was hooked. (Maybe you can see why I stay away from drugs.) I tried not to buy this bread too often: it was too easy to eat the whole loaf at once and for some reason I thought I shouldn't be eating a whole loaf of lemon bread on a Saturday morning, but of course the way around that was to share a bit, but that wasn't always possible ...

I haven't had any lemon bread this year, but Rachel has said she's going to take a shot at it. Lyn had cancer, and she died July 21. Next Saturday, August 25, there will be a benefit pancake breakfast at the market to help Lyn's family with medical expenses. If you can, please join us. The farmers market may be all about food, but even more so, I think it's about people.

* Janelle is perhaps better known as Knit Witch Fiber and Bead Work.