Boulder Farmers' Market, week eight: More tomato plants, more spinach...and walnuts!
You can use your credit card to get special bucks at the Boulder Farmers' Market, and I tend to spend them like Monopoly money. I buy primarily because I want something that's available or am anxious to try something I've never tasted before, but also because I feel guilty for passing the same stand again and again and not picking up anything, because I think a farm might be in trouble (not that my three dollars will really make a difference) or just because I think of a particular vendor as a friend. As a result, my refrigerator is filled with vegetables and the freezer with various meats, including duck, lamb and goat. We eat huge amounts of fresh stuff in summer: fruit with every meal, a plate of salted, cut-up turnips, carrots, radishes or whatever's out there at most dinners. And I spend lots of time investigating recipes. Like everyone, I have quick, easy and tasty ways of dealing with kale, bok choy, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant -- whatever's abundantly in season. But when your vegetable crisper is stuffed with, say, spinach, a little variety in preparation is nice.
- Boulder Farmers' Market, week four: Strawberries, and seven things not to do
- Boulder Farmers' Market, week three: spinach is in, but no apricots...ever?
- Best Farmers' Market 2012: Boulder Farmers' Market
Here's a photograph of part of this weekend's haul: two tomato plants to join the five I've already set out, which have been pretty much marking time until the nights get warmer. Buying tomatoes is confusing these days. There was a time when you'd just get Early Girl seeds from Burpee and have done with it. But now you'll find dozens of plants at the market with names like Black Krim and Pineapple Heirloom, and who could resist trying some of those? That's a Black Prince in the photo, alongside a bigger plant called, unaccountably, Box Car Willie. I also bought several kinds of eggplant, including the slim, green, tender and prolific Thai eggplants I love and a couple of little basil plants to plant among the tomatoes. One of the best things I've learned while gardening is that plants that taste good together also like growing near each other.
Also in the photo: the season's first field strawberries, from Aspen Moon Farms; turnips from Oxford Garden (delicious to eat out of hand, but I'm going to try them glazed tonight); long white Chinese radishes from Black Cat Farms; a bar of lavender mint soap handmade by Regan of 2 Rs Farms; a bag of black Japonica rice (obviously not grown around here) from Alta Alma Organic & Farm that I'm dying to play with and, from Morton's Orchards, the first local walnuts I've ever seen at the market -- perfect for granola, toasting and sprinkling on salads, whether fruit or savory, or the kind of Eastern European cakes and treats my mother used to make.
The woman at the Morton's counter said there's a huge walnut tree in her grandmother's garden, but they'd never thought about bringing the nuts to the market before.
Of course, I brought home too many bags of greens from the market.
Keep reading for what to do with those greens.