Today may just be the most beautiful day in America! The sun is shining and there’s a slight breeze blowing, making the leaves sparkle like sequins in the trees. I am thankful for a day to catch up on my writing and reflect on all of the festivities that have been going on around here. I want to start with some highlights from the Halloween Market, take you through our first ever Chomp and Stomp Chili Cook Off, share photos from the most recent Grant Park extravaganza, and wind down with a simply delicious Greek inspired salad full of local goodness. One step at a time…
The leaves have been changing and falling like it’s their job or something,
blanketing the streets and sidewalks in a tapestry of color. And Grant Park’s Halloween Market was full of fall excitement.
I saw a giant Jack-o-Lantern walking by
holding a smaller version of himself. And there were kids decorating pumpkins in their own special ways.
Even the vendors were embracing the holiday spirit.
H & F was being run by Snow White, the Evil Queen and one little dwarf. The breads seemed untouched by the Halloween mischief, however.
Their table was brimming over with carb-tastic delicacies, including these beautiful cinnamon twists,
which smelled amazing! We felt compelled to take home two of these mini-baguettes,
reminiscent of traditional hoagie rolls from home. They were so crunchy on the outside, and light and airy on the inside…as if the water from New Jersey had been funneled all the way down to Georgia to make the ultimate bread for a sandwich. The kind that cradles the meat and cheese, rather than pressing the insides of your sandwich out while you desperately try to hold it all together. What a treat!
Mary, from Decimal Pace Farms looked warm and toasty
in her ensemble from another time.
I also spotted some costumed hula hoopers-
sporting roller blades!! That is a feat!
Mountain Earth Farm’s table, run by a jovial older gentleman, was overflowing with all kinds of fresh produce.
You know I had to purchase some of these gorgeous tomatoes!
We also took some of these delicious sweet onions.
Their cucumbers and green beans looked beautiful too.
We stopped by the Oakleaf Mennonite Farm table and grabbed some of these great-lookin’ peppers
to incorporate into our meals throughout the week.
Next up, the Hoopin’ Farmers were actually both in their booth at the same time- neither hula hooping-a rarity.
And as we walked up, Scooby spotted his brother, Scooby- along with the whole crew- Shaggy, Velma, and the lot. Our Scoobed-up farmer went running over to greet his people, and there was a very animated exchange of hugs and salutations, as if they hadn’t seen each other since the early 80s. So funny.
But seriously, the Hooping Farmers offered a vast array of freshly grown gems.
Root veggies galore-
complete with a yellow fall souvenir. Jerusalem artichokes,
also known as sunchokes, look like ginger root, but taste more like creamy potatoes.
Speaking of…they also had loads of sweet potatoes,
radishes, turnips of multiple colors and shapes,
Often called “white radish”, daikon typically looks like a long white carrot. This smaller variety has a much more spicy flavor and can be used in soups, for pickling, or straight up in stir fries or roasted with other root veggies. For some radish ideas and more radish love,
check out this blog from Love is Love Farm.
There are still plenty of green onions to go around,
and you should really try them while the gettin’ is good!
The flower arrangements always makes smile-
as did the news that Ned, one of the Hooping Farmers, will continue to grow vegetables throughout the winter, utilizing greenhouses. His goodies will be available at Home Grown on Memorial Drive in Atlanta, most likely on Saturday mornings, but nothing is set in stone yet. Not that I NEED another excuse to go to Home Grown…their fried chicken and biscuits with eggs is unbelievably delicious and has converted more than one Notherner to the down-home side of breakfast.
We stopped by to see Nazifa, and to purchase more of her special nan bread.
My clients are raving about the pizza recipes I planned for them utilizing nan as the canvas- claiming they will never go out for pizza again. Woah. That’s serious. We chose Nazifa’s spinach spirals for our brunchy bite this week.
Um- so incredibly excellent! Spinach, cottage cheese, and eggs married together in a portable party for your mouth. Moist, savory, scrumptious.
Other highlights of the Halloween Market include The Little Tart’s picture perfect brown sugar almond cake,
and The Spotted Trotter’s cooler full of meaty treasures.
I’m pretty sure we’re quickly becoming their best customers. We bought a package of hot dogs- um, not your average dog even in the slightest- and a pack of their new chicken chorizo, which we have yet to try. And just for kicks, Kevin threw in a package of their Spiced Lamb and Pork Sausage Crepinettes. I will brag all about them later, don’t you worry.
Patchwork City Farm delighted my visual sense with baskets of rainbow colored tomatoes.
And this collection of baby tomatoes.
For some reason, I would like to swim in there. That’s not normal is it?
The smiley pasta guy had Halloween Ravioli,
but I hadn’t saved enough of my pennies to take any home. He assured me there will be another batch available on November 13th. I am intrigued!
Turtle Bend’s awesome spread of naturally grown vegetables included perfect collard greens,
which my clients have been enjoying in salads, soups, and pasta dishes-
long Shunkyo radishes,
and one of my fall faves, lacinato kale.
Right next door, I finally visited the gentleman who makes boiled peanuts.
I was totally sucked in by this pumpkin! Doesn’t look like it’s covered in peanuts? So cool! His boiled peanuts are actually quite delicious- which is really saying something for me. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern traditions that I just haven’t been able to embrace…the slime factor gets me every time. But these particular nuts are not so slimy, and the salt level was just right. I am open to change. It’s happening every day.
At the end of the line, just past these handmade soaps,
was the Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet. Isa collected these unbelievable mushrooms
and also had a basket full of pretty purple eggplant.
And that, my friends, ended our time at the Halloween Weekend Market at Grant Park. We hauled our huge bags back to the car and marveled at our good fortune when we unloaded our bounty in the kitchen.
Oh, Turtle Bend, you never cease to amaze me. That bibb lettuce is so tender and wonderful. The kohlrabi and turnips greens were braised to perfection and those sweet potatoes are unreal. Lucky us!!!!!!!!!!
The rest of our loot was not too shabby either.
Celebrating the seasons with locally grown fruits and vegetables and artfully crafted breads has become the second love of my life- second only to Adam Price, of course. From the perusing of the market, to the creating of menus and recipes for dinner, to the transformation of raw ingredients into symphonies of flavor, I am completely smitten. I am going to soak up every last minute of the local market while it lasts- and there are only a few short weeks left. So, if you haven’t been taking advantage of what is literally at your fingertips, you have a couple chances left. Don’t miss out!!!
More tales to share ahead…
Happy cooking and eating to you,