It’s a quiet Monday morning.  Just me and the happily singing birds.  Everything else is peaceful- as if people are trying to stave off the work week just a few minutes longer.  It was such a beautiful weekend here in Atlanta- warm and sunny during the day, and cool in the evenings- like beach weather.  I soaked up every minute of it; breaking bread with friends in their new home, accomplishing serious amounts of spring cleaning with Adam, and playing with mountains of fresh, locally grown vegetables.

Since I had been away for Memorial Day Weekend, I missed the Grant Park Farmers Market.  Thursday rolled around, and I realized I had no photos to edit, no colorful veggies in my crisper, no muses…and I started to twitch.  So, I headed to the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market to get my fill.

I laid my eyes on these beauties from Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens, and a rush of positive energy swept over me.  Joe and Judith’s table was stacked with the freshest offerings of the season.

I knew I would be picking up my CSA box from Jackson Lowe on Sunday, so I tried to have some restraint, but this girl cannot refuse a purple pepper.

Seeing Joe’s smiling face always makes me happy.

Gotta love your local farmer who constantly looks like he’s having the best time ever.  I remember back in the day when Joe and Judith left the Brickstore to strike out and start a farm.  I’m sure I stared at them in disbelief…I mean, it sounded like such a foreign idea.  What a lesson in self-determination and drive.  Those two have paved the way for slow, local food in our community.  So very cool.

Other highlights of Thursday’s market included purple basil

from Fresh Roots Farms.  They are new to me.  And they gave me a red flower to put in my hair, so we’re totally friends now.

I was taken by Crack the Sidewalk Farmlet’s daikon- not a typical radish for this time of year.

Chris said they were randomly hanging out in his field, so he pulled them and brought them to market.

This basket of garlic caught my eye too.  Hudson, from Oakleaf Mennonite Farm, explained that I should start by peeling and cutting the stalk to use much like green onion before breaking into the bulb itself.  I took some of them home, because- really- there’s never too much garlic in my house.  And it’s kinda my perfume these days…

I turned and noticed a couple little girls embracing the market magic,

and my grin just widened.

Patchwork City had these crisp, green peas that were calling my name.  As I talked with the farmer about how to prepare the peas, he popped one into his mouth and encouraged me to do the same.  Sweet and crunchy!

Peach season is not lost on H & F.  These beautiful peach and basil focaccias are almost too pretty to eat.  Since Adam was still at work while I was having a big time at the market, I decided to grab him some soft onion rolls.  He’s a sucker for all things gluten-loaded.

Last, but not least, I stopped by the Spotted Trotter’s table and chatted with John and Kevin.  I knew what I wanted.  Something to top a fresh, locally inspired pizza made on Nazifa’s naan bread.

Three cheese and parsley sausage fit the bill perfectly.

With a purse full of vegetables and a soul rejuvenated with the wonders of spring, I was on my way…to drop off a check at my landlord’s house.  As if my day couldn’t get any lovelier, he took me on a tour of his backyard gardens and sent me off with fresh spring onions, dill, parsley, mint, and Ole’ Mr. Carrot Pants.

The joys of the season tickle me so.

My bounty for the day was beyond what I had imagined.

And we quickly executed a pizza to write home about.

With our sausage in the pan, filling our home with the most delicious smells, we prepared a small collection of fresh goodies.

You’re going to see me incorporate zephyr squash into just about everything over the next few weeks.  It’s sweet, has great texture, and is super versatile.  I just sliced it up simply for our pizza.

I peeled and sliced my garlic stalks, and julienned my purple pepper.  Once the sausage was out of the pan, Adam added the peppers and tossed them for a couple of minutes in the luscious sausage drippings.  That’s it.  We were ready to build.

Olive oil and a clove of pressed garlic on the crust laid the foundation.  Then squash,

sausage, peppers,and garlic stalks,

and a healthy layer of shredded cheese.  Into the oven for 10 – 12 minutes.

We tore a few basil leaves and scattered them around the cooked pie.  And presto!  Dinner time!  Oh my- the freshness in every bite was overwhelming.  So.  Incredibly. Wonderful.  The green garlic stalks permeated each mouthful with a soft, earthy, sweet flavor.  The sausage was unreal.  The Spotted Trotter’s Kevin Outz is out of control with his charcuterie masterpieces.  And the local squash, peppers, and basil just danced on my tongue.  Local party in my mouth!!!!!!!!!!

I guess I talk about making and eating pizza a fair amount.  I’d say we probably create our own pie once every two weeks or so.  The beauty of making your own pizza is that you can utilize just about any ingredient you have in your fridge.  It’s quick to build and super fast to cook.  You can make your own dough, buy a pre-made dough like Boboli, buy whole wheat or white dough at the store that you can stretch into whichever shape you like, or get your hands on whole wheat naan from Nazifa.  You’ll be glad that you did.  Sauce it- or don’t!

Serve your pizza up with a fresh, green salad and you’ve got a meal that you can really feel good about.  And you may never go back to ordering pizza from a chain again.  I’ve ruined myself and my mom for that.  I suppose I’m not sharing anything novel here- except for a passion to create and a message to celebrate the freshness and enjoy every bite.  It can be this simple and this delicious.

I hope that your Monday will treat you with kindness and that your heart is full of positive memories of the weekend past.  I hope you filled up your soul with the good stuff that will fuel you to tackle the week.

Happy cooking and eating to you,







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