Saturday, May 8, 2010

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Every year, with the coming of spring, I count the days until the farmer’s market opens. While I enjoy seeing, smelling and poking all the seasonal produce, brought by local farmers and growers, my heart skips a beat when I contemplate the various and sundry other items on offer. I frequent the Piedmont Farmer’s Market in Kannapolis, which is conveniently located near LA’s apartment. During the winter, a few sellers turn up for a “tailgate market”, but the full market every Saturday, from May through November, brings in the big guns. Not only can you buy produce, but also birdhouses, a bedazzled butterfly blouse, wine stoppers made out of old silverware, and soaps in every color and fragrance. Meats, cheese, and eggs are available from multiple producers (more on those in future posts). Two bakeries were offering breads and pastries. The market isn’t yet in full swing, which left several stalls unoccupied. The pimento cheese lady was missing, as was the blueberry man. I’m sure they’ll turn up as the season progresses. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

One stall that I was very happy to see occupied was that of Deborah’s Kitchen Kreations. LA and I first encountered Deb’s wares at one of the winter tailgate markets. She was offering lemon poppy seed bread and small-batch mustard. Deb’s lemon poppy seed bread is like a pound cake, but lighter. And more heavenly. Full of lemony deliciousness, without the over-processed and stabilized taste of a store-bought cake. (Entenmann’s, eat your heart out.) Better than the bread, however, is the Stone House Mustard. Deb offers samples, and you will be hooked after one taste. The mustard is sweet, like a honey mustard, but not at all cloying, and with a little spiciness.  LA and I each bought a jar that day and it became the centerpiece for that lunch and several that followed.  I made a vinaigrette using the Stone House mustard and apple cider vinegar. We drizzled (or maybe poured) the vinaigrette over spinach, sliced Granny Smith apples, candied walnuts, and feta cheese that we’d also grabbed at the market. For the sake of full disclosure, the salad is an adaptation of one served at Old Stone Vino, but the salad is delicious whether made at the restaurant or at home. (I would recommend using blue cheese, rather than the feta that Old Stone Vino uses.)  Old Stone Vino also offers Stone House mustard with their cheese tray. This mustard has become a go-to every time I make a vinaigrette. Deb recommends it as a glaze for meats and poultry, and LA puts it on all of his sandwiches. I could go on and on about my love of the Stone House mustard, as it is officially my second favorite condiment (nothing can top banana ketchup), but another of Deb's items merits mention. Today Deb also had an olive tapenade. I love olive tapenade in all its guises. Deb uses a variety of olives and leaves it chunky, more like a relish. You would be correct if you already guessed that I wanted to put it on everything. While the products are fantastic, Deb herself will keep you coming back. She obviously enjoys what she’s doing, and this is apparent in everything she sells. She only began selling her items at the markets in November, so anyone who hasn't gone to the markets since last summer may not be familiar with her. Deb is definitely worth seeking out; she'll be the one in the yellow apron.

Now that I’ve thrown a craving on you for some mustard and lemon poppy seed bread, I do have a bit of bad news. Deb won’t be at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market for the next two Saturdays. She will be in Belmont at the Belmont Garibaldi Festival on May 15, then in Harrisburg for the Harrisburg Heritage Craft Day on May 22. She’ll be returning to the Piedmont Farmer’s Market on May 29. You can call or email Deb to order any of her products , then pick them up at one of the markets she’s attending. If you’re smart, you won’t waste any time in doing so.

Please visit Deb’s website Deborah’s Kitchen Kreations for a calendar of events, to find out a little more about Deb, and to order any of her products. You won’t be sorry that you did, but you may be sorry that it took so long!

We are so used to buying everything from corporate giants or faceless producers that it is gratifying to meet and talk to the person growing, raising, or making what it is we’re eating. “Buying locally” is a catchphrase that we see or hear all the time in magazines, books, and on the Food Network, but I remember the days when that was our only real option. I’m less interested in how far the strawberry has traveled than I am in the person who grew it. Everything tastes better when you know it was raised or made with care and attention. I will be returning to the market every Saturday and possibly Tuesday, and a different vendor will be highlighted each week. Check back to find out what items are available and to read about the wonderful people selling them!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I wonder if the blueberry man and the pimento cheese lady have ran off together to make pimento muffin babies.