Farmers Market Bounty

The Umpqua Valley Farmers Market is really taking off now. Each week it gets busier and busier. Here's what I bought today:

4 zucchini from Norm Lehne Garden and Orchard. They are just the right size for grilling or stir-frying but I may decide on chopping and dressing them with a lemon vinaigrette and shavings of parmesan cheese for a Zucchini Salad.

8 medium beets, a large bag of Zesty Greens Mix and some snow peas from Jim Leet of Linnea Marie Farms. The beets will be roasted, tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and garnished with freshly-snipped chives for a warm salad.

I'll be using the greens for a huge salad tomorrow when I have company for Sunday dinner and I may try out the Chive Blossom Vinegar I started last month in a new dressing. It smells very pungent and might go well with the enchiladas I'll be serving.

The snow peas will be stir-fried in a bit of peanut oil and sprinkled with chili pepper flakes.

I sampled Kathy Linn's Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Truffles at Umpqua Valley Chocolates and would have bought some, but she was sold out. I opted for a 4-pack of Chocolate-covered Caramels topped with Sea Salt instead and I also bought 2 pounds of her pasture-raised, antibiotic-free extra-lean ground beef.

At Sweet Briar Farms, I picked up a package of breakfast sausage links--just made Friday I am told--and I'm thinking I will take them to Sunriver with us this week for a sausage and eggs breakfast.

I'm not sure of the name of the woman from whom I bought a dozen fresh eggs, but I should have bought two dozen. I've already used four this afternoon in the custard for Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream (Sunday's dessert) and Chocolate Chip Cookies. This same vendor's husband makes gorgeous wooden cutting boards and one will definitely be on my birthday list in a few months.

I picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers at Dang's Garden for our dining room table. Flowers are always a bargain at the market. For five or six dollars I can have fresh flowers that will last all week as long as I trim the stems and give them fresh water every other day.

The Baklava Lady sold out of Spanikopita before I had a chance to buy any, but I did try some of her Fineza cookies. Delicate orange and honey flavor, topped with bits of walnut. (They were actually my breakfast!)

A new vendor was there with fresh yellow and red sweet cherries. It was a variety I'd never heard of (and can't remember) but they are very good. My favorite are Bing Cherries, but I have heard the local crop will not be very big this year. However, Gordon Hentze, a fellow student in the Master Food Preserver course, tells me that at Hentze Family Farm in Junction City it looks like they will have a great crop and better yet, they sell them already pitted! Perfect for drying! No purple fingers! I will pick local cherries if I can find them, but this is another great resource.

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