Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Mornings

I tend to be a creature of habit.  While I enjoy surprises and new beginnings in life, it can take me a while to readjust and find my happy medium again.  Over the last few weeks, I have been training for a new job, which left me mentally exhausted at the end of each day.  When things get busy or I feel out of sorts, I always count on my Sunday mornings to bring me back. 
No matter the day of the week and regardless of whatever craziness I managed to get into the night before, I'm awake before 7:00am.  Sometimes earlier if the kitties have anything to do with it.  On Sundays, I grab the morning paper and make a big pot of coffee before heading out to my happy place: the St. Paul Farmers' Market.
One of my favorite parts of Lowertown is Mears Park.  It's like a little green oasis amid the lofts and restaurants surrounding it.  It's so peaceful.  There are brightly colored flowers, a bubbling creek, and happy dogs running around with their owners in tow.
Then I arrive at the farmers' market.  I usually take a quick pass by all of the stands, checking on the best places to buy what's on my list and looking for inspiration from new produce.
This Sunday, farm-fresh eggs were on my list.  I love the shades of brown of the eggshells and the promise of a golden yolk inside.  Hard boiled, fried, stirred into muffin batter, or scrambled into some fried rice, eggs are one of my favorite kitchen staples
The farmers' market is a great place to check out new things.  These twirly, garlicy, snappy garlic scapes called to me this Sunday.  If you're unsure of what to do with your new ingredient, ask the farmer.  They more so than anyone else will know how to showcase the fresh flavor of your new item.
Besides the tasty, fresh food, I think that sense of community and conversation is what I love most about the farmers' market.  Everyone is there because they love fresh, local food.  Shoppers talk to the talk to the shoppers...shoppers talk to other shoppers all with the hope that these freshly grown morsels end up deliciously on someones plate.
Part of this conversation involves eating.  How can you truly know if a carrot or tomato is what you are looking for if you can't test it out?  While walking past a stand this morning, I heard a farmer say, "well taste it!  You won't know if you want to buy it until you do."  Where else are you encouraged to try before you buy?  And because the food is so fresh, you can snack on your purchases while you shop.  Thin, snappy stalks of asparagus are my favorite farmers' market treats.  But I've been known to munch on fresh berries as well.
The farmers' market reminds me that we have a plethora of food locally available to us in Minnesota.  While we might not have the most advantageous growing season, and there are some things that we can't grow here, overall we have a lot of variety!  It's no wonder the locavore movement is so strong here in the Twin Cities.  You can rely on locally-sourced produce and have a menu filled with diverse flavors.
My whole trip to the farmers' market usually lasts under one hour, and then I make the trek back home, my grocery bag bursting with expected and unexpected treats.  I think about all the delightful things I can cook with my new produce over the upcoming week.  I leave the zen of the farmers' market, once again at peace and ready for my week.
I can absorb all of the crazy of the upcoming week, knowing that I'll be able to draw from my Sunday morning routine every time I pull out my freshly picked strawberries or sugar snap peas.  And the crazy can hit anytime, anyplace, even a block away from the farmers' market!


  1. Other than the 7:00 a.m. on Sunday part (we are definitely a 9:00 a.m. Saturday family), this post echoes our weekly experience at the Farmer's Market each week! And regarding the local food component, I believe that the St. Paul markets require everything to be grown within a 75 mile radius of the city, meaning that you will see a more representative sampling of food each season than at other, less restrictive markets (see: Minneapolis)

  2. I love that about the St. Paul market as well. You won't see any bananas or mangoes there!! I like buying veggies that are still clinging to bits of you KNOW it's super fresh :)