Virginia Market Week
Last week was Virginia’s Farmers Market Week, so we celebrated by heading to three local markets last weekend. The toddler and I visited the McLean Market Friday morning, which is located in a shady corner of a park and had a nice mix of vendors, many familiar and a few new. The Middleburg ice cream truck was a fun touch. Westmoreland Berry Farm had giant blackberries and sweet raspberries – the toddler instructed me to keep them coming, one color in each hand. They also had one box of wilted squash blossoms (we were there shortly before closing time) that she threw in free since they were rather sad-looking. Mount Olympus Berry Farm had a rainbow of beautiful peppers (I picked purple and orange), tomatillos and purple and white cream peas. We got our favorite sweet potato bread from Grace’s Pastries, to eat along with the berries, cheese and watermelon for our picnic lunch. (At Clemyjontri, awesome playground a few minutes away.)
Saturday morning the toddler and I headed down to Old Town Alexandria. There were still a few dubious produce stands, including one with lemons and avocados, but I was pleased to see some well-known vendors, like Bigg Riggs, J&W Valley View and Twin Springs. I still have to dock them points on the lay-out though, with so many vendors smushed together in the front and wide open patches in the back, it made for tough going to get through to Bigg Riggs. But, peaches were everywhere. One vendor had a bin of squash blossoms and some small gooseberries still. We hit up the meat/dairy stands, with sweet Italian sausage from Babes in the Woods, Calhoun’s Country Ham, and Blue Ridge Dairy ricotta.
For brunch that day I stuffed my squash blossoms with the ricotta, fresh oregano and a bit of prosciutto, then coated in corn meal and fried. The corn meal was a little heavy – I might mix it into a batter next time instead of dipping in milk/egg and corn meal separately – but they were oh so good. (And that was my local corn meal, too!)
Sunday was a quick stop at the West End Market, where Norma’s had these lovely purple tomatillos. Since I already had the green ones from Friday, I had to pass them up. We picked up Hilldale’s organic chicken which isn’t cheap, but was far and away the juiciest chicken we’ve ever had.
I was sick all week so we stuck to simple meals and I really slacked off in the photo department.
Dinner #1: Grilled Tomatillo Chicken — We marinated the Hilldale chicken (breasts and legs) in a tomatillo-pepper salsa and grilled it, along with some corn on the cob from our CSA bag. Simple and so good!
Dinner # 2: Italian grill — Babes’s Italian sausages, peppers, pattypan squash and golden zucchini, all brushed with olive oil, fresh oregano, sea salt and pepper and thrown on the grill. The toddler is rejecting squash lately (last year he ate the golden zucchini straight from the market table) but loved the sausage. Served with watermelon agua fresca to drink, made from the final remnants of our Eastern Shore melon.
Note to DC-area bloggers: This is the week for the August Farm Fresh Recipe Round-up. Email me at foodietots at gmail dot com by midnight Weds. Aug. 13 if you have a favorite recipe to share!