One of the reasons I fell in love with Seattle was the farmer's market. Of course there was Pike Place Market, the most famous one. But I didn't know Washington state was farm country until I moved there. Farmer's markets and veggie stalls were all over the place. There were u-pick farms where I could pull carrots, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, onions, zucchinis, etc, etc, etc straight from the ground. I was once told by a local, "If you can't grow a vegetable in Washington, it can't be grown anywhere." The moist, mild climate does seem to be a boon for plants. There is a rain forest in the Olympic mountains, after all.
All I had eaten up to that point was store bought produce. I didn't know how veggies tasted fresh from the earth. They taste 'alive'. They taste 'green'. They don't need seasoning because they are naturally sweet and the flavor of fresh. Eat them raw and they burst with water.
I was in the best health of my life. Produce that fresh is jam packed with minerals and vitamins.
Make no mistake, our paleo ancestors ate their veggies because they tasted good. We sit in our offices, eating fast food wrapped breakfast sandwiches and look down at those knuckle draggers. In truth, our paleo ancestors probably were better nourished. We did not rise to the top of the food chain without being well fed on high quality food.
Since moving to Savannah, GA, I've seriously missed the WA farmer's markets. One time when we were traveling to Atlanta, and I saw a road sign for "Farmer's Market". I got excited and told the husband to take the exit. We drove and followed the signs to "Farmer's Market". What we found were stalls selling tractors, tractor parts, and plows. Hmm. I see.
A farmer's market, selling farm equipment. Well, yes. That makes sense.
While we've lived here 2 years, I still feel quite new. Locals have pointed us to a few things we like to do, but I had been unsuccessful finding fresh produce at an, ahem, 'farmer's market'. I didn't ask around because I was afraid I'd get pointed to more tractors. It was frustrating because I knew there were farms in Georgia. Vidalia onions come from here, but oddly, the grocery stores tend to sell the California variety. Where were these farmers selling their produce?
Just recently, I did some poking around. I was looking at taking cooking classes. Apparently Savannah has a cooking school that's a popular destination for cooking tourists. Sort of like an organized vacation trip somewhere, but with a culinary focus. The one in Savannah is called 700 Kitchen Cooking School.
I was looking at the classes they offered, and I noticed there was one for "Farmer's Market". It was on a Saturday morning, and they said they would go to the market at Forsythe park to get fresh veggies to make lunch with.
I became excited. I looked it up, and sure enough, it said there was a market in Forsythe park every Saturday morning. It had been going on the whole time and I never knew! My husband and I sometimes take a walk around there in the summer, but we had just never walked far enough down to see it!
Fortunately, I discovered this on a Friday, so I didn't have long to wait. I got up Saturday morning, and grabbed my produce bags. Is it weird I was excited for veggies?
This is the famous fountain at Forsythe Park in Savannah. It is in one of Thomas Kincaid's most famous paintings. Sometimes I forget I live in a tourist town. So I stopped and played tourist for a few moments taking pictures.
Forrest Gump sat on a park bench waiting for the bus to see Jenni a little further behind me where I took this picture.
My husband and I have walked around here many times on a Saturday morning, but we just walked around the fountain then headed back into town for a coffee. The market is further down, on the other side of one of the civil war memorials! We just happened to never keep going far enough.
I finally found it. It was very small, but I didn't expect it to be on the grand scale of the Seattle markets. That wouldn't be fair. The only larger markets than the ones in Seattle that I've been to are in San Francisco and Vancouver. And, well, Seoul, S. Korea, but that's not fair at all because their markets take up whole city blocks.
Point is, I was excited that I could get fresh veg, not store bought dead veg. Anything was an improvement.
I didn't end up getting much. I got there too late to get the farm fresh eggs (early birds get the eggs). I got 4 cute little eight ball zucchinis. Zukes are my favorite veg. My mouth was watering when I saw them. Fresh carrots, and 2 pounds of green beans. That was plenty of fresh veg for the DH and I for the week. I didn't see any fresh lettuce for salads, so I would have to get that from our local market.
I made a steak for dinner that night. I sliced one of the zukes, sprtitzed with a little olive oil and salt, and baked it in the oven. One thing that I forgot about super fresh veg was the water content. I baked it at too low a temperature, so it got a little soggy. However, it was still fine, just more steamed rather than seared like I intended. But gosh, was it good. It tasted 'alive', and 'green', and like 'zucchini x10'. My husband remarked on how you could taste the difference.
The thing about super fresh veg is it tastes almost 'sweet', even if it has no sugar content. I believe this is one of the reasons that I broke my sweet tooth when I lived in Seattle. When I started eating naturally fresh, sweet veggies and fruit, my palate changed. My body craved those vitamins and minerals, and I didn't need to eat a lot of food, because I was nourished on less. Over time, sweet and salty packaged foods tasted bad because they were artificially sweet and devoid of nutrients. I needed to eat more, because I wasn't getting every vitamin and mineral I needed.
Yesterday, I made a chicken and vegetable soup for my lunch using my fresh carrots. I had to mix it with conventional veggies like celery. The soup was good, but let me tell you what. The brightest flavor in the soup was the carrot. It just popped. The celery tasted like cardboard. All fiber and no flavor.
I wished I bought celery at that market. Maybe this week.