The Market Report: November 18, 2012

November 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Berck Ville, France

Last weekend, we drove to France. From London. Literally.

The secret is the Channel train, which leaves from Folkestone four times each hour. We drove directly onto the train, which swiftly took us to Calais, France in just 30 minutes. With minor alterations to the car – namely adding a breathalyser kit per EU law – we were on the road to fruits de mer and Calvados.

We missed the Saturday morning market in Montreuil, famous for the setting of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, but woke early for the Sunday market at nearby Berck.

Beautiful church in the town of Montreuil, where we spent the night — right across from the Victor Hugo bar!

Here is a market where the locals shop. Baskets piled high with potatoes, children clamouring for sweets, an elderly woman paying for her Camembert with food stamps – there was no pretence, just an appreciation for the local fare as sustenance as much as it was also the makings of a delicious week.

Turnips glittering in the morning sun.

Odd-shaped Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes — one of my favorite things to eat after tasting them in a salad at St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, London.


Black Radishes: there’s a first time for everything.

The secret to French cuisine: shallots


Coquilles St Jacques — scallops, with their shell!

A few recipes:

Roasted sunchokes with hazelnut gremolata: Good sunchoke recipes are few and far between, but Food52 saves the day with this incredible preparation for the tuber.

Scallops with herb broth, braised radishes, & bacon: We enjoyed a similar dish the evening before our market excursion — fresh scallops barely need more than a sear in brown butter.

Potato leek soup with buttermilk: A British classic, potato leek soup highlights the oft-overlooked member of the Allium family. Put this relative of the onion to work!

The Market Report: November 10, 2012

November 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Amherst, MA, USA

Last weekend was the type of weather than farmers and football fans alike dream of. And it so happened that I was up at Amherst College for those two reasons: a farmers’ market and a football game, in that order.

It was Homecoming at Amherst College, a place where family ties run deep. My little brother and sister are current undergraduates, and my other brother, mother and grandfather are alumni. We wear a lot of purple.

While the College isn’t known for football (although the team logged a win over Williams), it is known for its farms. My brother is even starting one on campus! So the local Saturday morning farmers’ market is packed with local produce, as well as grass-based meats and dairy.

“Feast your eyes” never held more meaning than in the packed produce stalls of Amherst’s farmers, even in fall. I’ve never found more varieties of turnips, carrots and radishes in one place, and with such color!

Early start at the Amherst Farmers’ Market

The market sits in the center of the town green, equidistant from Main Street and the College’s campus.

Fresh ginger, grown organically in greenhouses to survive the harshest Northeastern winters. Its skin is so delicate, I didn’t even need to peel it when I made green curry!
Old Friends Farm in Amherst, MA

Another surprise from Old Friends Farm: fresh turmeric, also grown organically.

A panoply of colors among the carrots from Simple Gifts Farm, an organic operation where a pair of oxen sometimes help!
Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst, MA

A single variety of radish produces this colorful array — another bright surprise from Simple Gifts Farm.

A side of popcorn few people see anymore — on the cob!
Astarte Farm in Hadley, MA

Flying Amherst colors: these turnips capture the Lord Jeffs’ hue as if by design.
Atlas Farm in Deerfield, MA

Curious about the funny name for this radish? Cut into it and you’ll understand — their inside is a shocking shade of pink! Another organically-grown heirloom variety from Atlas Farm

Inspiration in the kitchen:

Thai Chicken & Coconut Soup: Fresh ginger is the secret ingredient in this flavorful soup, a simple recipe that takes no more than 5 minutes to make. And from Williams Sonoma of all places!

Spicy Carrot Salad: Show off different varieties of carrots with this elegant yet easy preparation — especially if you like cayenne pepper!

Pickled Radishes: Let radishes become the exotic pickle on your next gourmet burger or even just a garnish on a garden salad. This recipe adds vim and vi(ne)gor to the humble root.

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