Last Saturday I made a beeline to our farmer’s market hoping that there was still one last weekend with fresh orchard peaches. Yes! The peaches were there, but sadly I was informed that this was the very last day for peaches at the market. I quickly bought my box before they all disappeared.
I wandered down the row of vendors but nothing jumped out at me. All the usual items were there in mass quantity. Peppers in every shade were piled high. Tomatoes covered tables along with lettuces, green beans, zucchini, cantaloupe, and a plethora of squashes and pumpkins. Just the same old, same old.
On a whim I decided to check out a new farmer’s market a couple of miles away. This market was started last spring, but I had never been to check it out.
Right away I knew this was different. The line of cars slowly snaked through the parking lot. It was like finding a parking spot at the mall during Christmas rush. If you spotted someone leaving, you followed them to snatch that spot. Live music grew louder the closer you got to the market. Food trucks were parked along the entrance way enticing you with all sorts of smells. Once you arrived at the pavilion, the music disappeared in the noise of people chatting. A carnival/craft show atmosphere surrounded me. Yes, there were the usual veggies, but so many more.
The booths were not just produce. There was some locally produced wine, flavored pizza crusts, bakery products, wool, spices, totes, clothing, candy, and much more.
I made a pass through just to see all the choices. Then I went back to several booths intrigued by the produce. I bought a bunch of rainbow Swiss chard and Asian spinach (later I learned it is called Malabar). Both vendors assured me that I could cook it just like spinach. We love sauteed spinach, so I thought I’d give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Once home I googled ways to prepare the chard. I chose a recipe and prepared it. Not a favorite in this house. Disappointed with the chard, but we did not despair, I still had the Malabar.
Once again Google to the rescue, but now I am reading some things that concern me. If you cook it too long, it becomes slimy like okra. Ewww! That does not sound good.
Dinner was all ready, I just needed to saute the Malabar. It did not wilt like spinach. I worried that it would go into the slime stage. I decided to call it done. I think I am too late, I see strings of slime as I lift it onto our plates. I choked down several bites, but I cannot finish it. I don’t really taste anything. Another bust! I think I will stick to spinach.
On a happy note, the neighbors’ tomato plants are over producing and they are bringing the extras to me. I am a happy person! I see BLTs, Caprese salad, hamburgers with sliced tomatoes, and who knows what else in my future, but definitely no Malabar!