Sad times going to the downtown farmers market for the next-to-last weekend. With so little time left we couldn’t miss a trip though. Oddly enough, the cold, blustery October day yielded very Spring-like results.
This was our first market visit when Bonnie Blue Farm was present. Bonnie Blue makes farmstead goat cheese a few hours east of Memphis on Highway 64. Farmstead cheese is made entirely from milk from the farm. We picked up Cajun-flavored unripened cheese, a log of rosemary garlic chevre, and a jar of feta marinated in olive oil and Italian seasonings.
Next we got salad greens. After an entire summer, somehow my journalistic chops have not led me to learn the name of the vendor I fondly refer to as wacky arugula guy. He has the freshest greens and lettuce because he is usually up at 3 a.m. on market day to pick them. He often has some small extra to go with your purchase. A few weeks ago it was lovely edible flowers, sugar snap pea blossoms. This day it was sugar snap pea leaves. We managed to get his last portion of baby spinach leaves. It is surprising how much one misses spinach, especially when on an e. coli-forced withdrawal. We also got just a bit of baby arugula for a touch of spice.
Next it was on to Bun in the Oven for a beautiful boule. The Bun in the Oven folks are king and queen of the prom and cutest couple at the market. They also have my favorite buns. Um, and cookies and breads too… Laura of Bun in the Oven pointed out that with the greens, cheese, and bread, we had a ready meal.
We did make a fantastic meal of our market haul. We lightly toasted slices of the boule and spread on the unripened Cajun-flavored cheese. The flavors of both were mild enough to contribute rather than contrast. Over the spinach and arugula, we dumped our entire jar of feta and olive oil. A nice splash of balsamic vinegar added to the olive oil made a wonedrful vinaigrette. All the fresh local ingredients made for a meal almost as sweet as the sugar snap pea leaves.
It wasn’t until we were in the midst of our meal that the oddness of it struck us. Here we are, losing our market to the oncoming wintry cold yet one of our last market meals was a perfect Spring repast.
Best of all, the coming of Winter is not the end of great products downtown. Bun in the Oven, wacky arugula guy (got to learn his name), Neola farms beef, and some other vendors will be setting up at Cafe Francisco downtown. Now we market addicts can still have that great coffee and delectable local goods practically around the corner.