A Visit to the Farmer’s Market

Photo courtesy of https://www.piquafarmersmarket.com/

Today I went to a farmer’s market in the next town over! I am a huge fan of the idea of them, but have never actually been to one before. Most of the time, they’re too early in the morning for me (anything before noon is too early for me), but this one was in the afternoon. I am a supporter of others supporting small businesses and believe in buying things from actual people, the whole “farm to table” ideal. Of course, that’s just in a perfect world. In the real world it’s difficult to not get McDonald’s and buy tons of groceries from Walmart, because they have what you need at any hour of the day, and it’s cheaper.

Anyways, this farmer’s market was pretty small, but they closed down one of the more mainstream roads for it. I had no idea what I wanted to get or what was even available, so I went up and down the middle for awhile and probably looked suspicious as hell. One vendor had nothing but honey, another had handmade jewelry, one had baked goods, and a lot of them had vegetables. I ended up getting lemon bars from a nice Amish family, and green onions for a dollar from another Amish family!

I’ve always thought it would be so fun to have a stand at a farmer’s market and sell the produce I worked so hard to grow. Agriculture is fascinating to me, and maybe it’s just because of where I live, but I love seeing the plants grow and bear fruit. I mean, one day you have a seed, and soon enough you have food! It’s amazing! It’s hard work that actually ends up providing something useful, it’s never effort in vain, you know? Someday I’d like to have chickens, and sell the eggs, or keep bees and sell honey, nothing fancy, just helping provide for my community. All of this post should be read in a country accent, by the way.

If anyone knows something that the green onions would be perfect for, please tell me, because it’s a pretty good amount and I’m always lookin’ to get cookin’! And as always, have a great day!

40 thoughts on “A Visit to the Farmer’s Market

  1. Finely chopped green onions may be used as chives on a baked potato with lots of butter. They are excellent in an omelet. I also really, really like throwing them in a tuna sandwich! Often, they are used as a bit of a garnish, as on a Steak Diane

  2. Because everything else for a salad can be had at the farmers’ market:

    Buttermilk Dressing
    2 scallions, white and green parts minced
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use non-preservative from a jar)
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise (Duke’s, because flavor)
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 garlic clove, grated
    1 cup buttermilk
    Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

    I tend to go a little heavy on the garlic, and to either add a bit more buttermilk (makes it a little thinner) or a scoop of greek yogurt (thickens it a bit). I also add a bit extra olive oil if I am looking for a subtle floral note.

  3. Also, too:

    Mix grated/prepared horseradish into cream cheese, spread on thin ham slices.

    Trim green onions to match the widest part of the ham, wrap ham around the green onion shaft to make rolls, chill.

    Slice into little edible Venetian glass cylinders. Poof! Hors d’oeuvre!

  4. Someone already mentioned baked potatoes, but they’re also a key ingredient in baked potato soup. It’s a great cold-weather dish. Just be aware that if you have leftovers, they turn into a brick overnight, so you’ll have to do a lot of stir-reheat-stir-reheat to get the temperature consistent throughout.

    This is pretty close to my recipe, except I use two cups of already-prepped bacon bits (you can buy big bags of them at places like Sam’s Club), and my recipe calls for a butter/flour roux instead of using the bacon drippings as the basis for the roux. I also use the 2-cup size of prepared shredded cheddar, and I put all of it into the soup, although there’s nothing wrong with using half in the soup and half as garnish, as suggested here:

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/fully-loaded-baked-potato-soup-recipe-3381409

  5. They’re aliums, you can use them almost anyway you’d use onions, although scallions are milder. Here’s one idea: blanch them (drop into boiling water for about 1 min, then into ice water to stop them from cooking further); then broil or grill them.

  6. I’ve quick pickled them (cut up and chopped) before, then use them as toppings on salads, ramen, rice, etc.

  7. Oooo, this is good. Sir John has been silent here since 9 June busily finishing up his novel and yet Athena you keep us entertained with interesting posts. After your internship and return to school, why not ask Dad to allow you to continue your “intern-like” posting here throughout the school terms. You could do that from your campus living quarters, right? Once every week or two? Just suggesting you not disappear come summer’s end.

  8. Our little rural town in Australia has a farmer’s market once a week. The first time I went I notice that in one stall all the fruit was washed and waxed the way it is in the supermarket. I asked around and was told that those folks bought fruit from a Melbourne wholesaler and trucked it the 4 hours up to our town. I was also told that most of the locals didn’t buy there because they knew what was going on.

    I have no idea if they’re still doing that, I’m usually working when the market’s on. I guess there might be enough tourists to make it worth it? Anyway, a little attentiveness and inquiry is a good idea to make sure you’re supporting farmers who are actually local.

  9. Scallion pancakes. Which are a Chinese-American restaurant staple in some parts of the country, but not everywhere. https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/extra-flaky-scallion-pancakes-recipe.html

    For a retro party dish from before your parents were born, there’s a cheese ball. Cream cheese, green onions and dried beef (grocery store, with the other canned meat. Looks like a sheaf of burgundy slices and completely unnatural, but it’s just salted meat.) Serve with crackers. Cheese balls sometimes look like they came from the regrettable foods archive, but they can be pretty, too, and savory. My grandparents only made it during the winter (it was THE Thanksgiving appetizer), but I make it when it’s hot and I can’t imagine cooking. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/16527/dried-beef-ball/

  10. Mornings is the worst thing about Farmer’s Markets. I like the adoption of the Hong Kong/Taipei trend of Night Markets that Richmond, Milwaukee and San Diego have. Evenings with more cooked food and entertainment to go along with the traditional agricultural items.

  11. I mix them with cottage cheese and sour cream. I also have them in schav (cold bottled sorrel soup), again with a nice dollop of sour cream.

  12. Athena’s posts are honestly highlights of the week for me. I hope you keep hanging around. And I hope you keep sharing adventures and reflections and your media consumption with us!

  13. Glad you got to try out a Farmers’ Market, Ms. Scalzi! We’ve got a huge one in our community that runs year-round (outdoors from April to November, indoors over the winter), and our weekly trips there are a major highlight for us.

    Things we like doing with green onions include but are not limited to:

    Chop coarsely and use in a stir-fry

    Chop and use in an omelet along with whatever other omelet stuffing you like. If you can find green garlic at the Farmers’ Market, add some of that in as well.

    Chop, mix with ground beef, then form into patties and fry or grill.

    I like using green onion in summer salads like potato salad, pasta salad, bean salad and the like, to get an onion flavor that doesn’t blow your head off.

    Have fun with them in any case, and let us know what you bring back the next time you go to the Market!

  14. Glad you got to go to the Farmer’s Market. We have a BIG one near where I live. It’s open every weekend, and the things you can find grown locally is amazing.

    Back when his health was still decent my uncle used to grow a lot of veggies and Saturday morning he’d load up and travel to the market. His specialty was cherry tomatoes. He’d go and wind up buying, selling and trading with a lot of the other farmers there.

    I don’t know if you have roadside stands up there, but if you do, and want to get fresh fruits and veggies, those are also great. Here we have lots of those set up right beside the field and you can either buy what you need if you’re in a hurry, or if you have some time, you can go into the fields and pick your own. There is NOTHING better than munching on some of those fresh veggies that you just plucked off the vine.

    As for those onions you mentioned, like a lot of other people, use them as you would if you bought them in the store. The flavors will be a bit stronger so you might have to adjust a bit, or if you like onions go for broke.

    I don’t know what grows in your lawn naturally, but one of the biggies here is wild onions. As kids we plucked the green stuff above ground and gnawed on them like you see “hayseeds” chewing a strand of hay. Some of the older generation–I’m 50 and probably the older Gen to you–dug up the bulbs and used them for pickling.

    One of the things from my childhood? You could tell when a neighbor had cut grass. Onion to the max. You could also tell when peach season arrived because… crop spraying and the funky sulfur after smell, but you knew in a few weeks roadside stands would pop up.

    And as an intern? You’re doing a bang up job giving an old guy like me a fresh perspective. Keep it up, and tell the boss man he needs a regular fill-in while he’s doing that other thang that makes the moola. I doubt that anyone here will be upset if he actually hires the intern for a bit more.

  15. Keeping bees is a great idea, especially now. We need these amazing insects more than ever.
    Glad you had fun at the Farmer’s Market.

  16. You could try making Thai Green Curry paste from scratch with them, it’ll be extra fragrant for being made from fresh ingredients. I always like the idea of farmer’s markets but find it hard to ever actually go to them, so good work there. If you want to support local farmer’s on a slightly more regular basis, you could see if there are any CSA schemes near you – you’ll get plenty of experience using new stuff in the kitchen that way too!

  17. Chop green onions finely. Mix with grated ginger, oil and salt. Add chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, if liked. This is a classic garnish for Hainanese chicken & rice; would also suit any poached white fish.

    Scallion pancakes (here in Oz they’re called spring-onion pancakes), as mentioned by CZed above.

  18. If you ever get to NYC, we have farmers’ markets all year round. There is a big one in Union Square (and I mean big!) open Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday year round, and for you late sleepers, it is open until 6 pm. We go to the one in Downtown Brooklyn outside the (State) Supreme Court on Saturdays to buy apples (and sometimes, walnut chocolate chip cookies). They are also open Tuesdays and Thursdays,

  19. I like to mix them in with the cheese for topping pizza, but $HERSELF says that Chinese scallion pancakes are awesome. Then there’s pico de gallo, of course, or thousands of variants on tabbouleh.

    And we put nearly anything in bread here.

  20. Green onions can be sautéed into sauces for many different dishes: baked onions or coq au vin, for example, or shrimp scampi. They can also go well in stir-fry dishes.

    When I lived in Princeton junction NJ, the nearby Trenton farmer’s market was fairly large and not only in the mornings. Running one of the booths can gt rather tedious and tiring on a day-after-day basis, however. (See http://thetrentonfarmersmarket.com/gallery.php and linked pages)

  21. If you go back, you should also buy some soap. I love local soap. :). I’ve thrown green onions into pasta or rice salads… Gives a nice onion flavor without too much “bite”. You could definitely do a bread, maybe Swiss cheese and scallion?

  22. Ah, the fantasy of farming! My annual crop failures in my garden keep me humble. Already some of the squash leaves are getting mold spots, but I also have blossoms, so here’s hoping. Re the green onions, I tried a recipe from the NY Times Magazine from a month or so back, a sauce of green onions boiled in vegetable oil and salt, to spoon over noodles. pretty good.

  23. Green onions make a delicious garland on quesadillas! Different soups take green onion slices very nicely, miso being a particular favorite of mine. Many Asian dishes, particularly fried rice, use green onions in the recipe.

  24. Farmer’s markets are a great source of produce that you *just won’t find* in regular stores. It’s just about time for garlic scapes to show up, and if you like garlic then scapes are incredible. You may not know what scapes are – they are what would become a flower on hardneck garlic plants, and are removed so that the plants will produce bigger garlic bulbs. They are round, about the thickness of a pencil and would be 12-18″ long except they generally curl into a pigtail at the end.

    It’s worth haunting your farmer’s market in June just to look for scapes! Diced and sauteed in oil, add some fresh or sundried tomato, put over pasta. Make pesto out of them – the scape is both the garlic and the green in that case, just need oil, nuts, cheese, scapes. Use them like fresh garlic – but they show up weeks before the new garlic crop is ready.

    While I can’t speak for your farmer’s market, around here most of the folks staffing the booth are pleased to offer suggestions on what you can do with uncommon produce. When japanese turnips first started showing up, they explained how they’re different from american turnips, for example. (IF you see japanese turnips, sometimes called salad turnips – look more like a large white radish – you might want to try them, too.)

  25. Grilling them is my favorite. Wash thoroughly and place on a foil square. Place 2 tablespoons of butter on top and sprinkle garlic salt and black pepper. Seal up the foil into a packet so the butter steams the onions, about 10 minutes. These things are awesome as a side with most any other barbecue meal. Steaks, hamburgers, ribs, chicken….

  26. Use green onions, cut into bite-size segments, as the vegetable in a beef or pork stir-fry with sweet and spicy sauce. Which you can buy in a bottle, or make from scratch. Not gonna point to a recipe, but something in the vein of Americanized (or not) Hunan or Szechuan would be appropriate.

  27. We were in Santa Fe in April and they have a huge farmers’ market in the downtown by the railway station. At that time of year there wasn’t a lot of vegetables but someone did have green onions and I bought a huge bunch. They were bigger than the ones you find in a supermarket and quite a bit stronger so instead of eating them raw in a salad I stirfried them with other veggies and they were terrific. I love going to farmers’ markets and figuring out what to do with whatever produce is available. Going with preconceived notions of what to buy doesn’t work as well as walking around and seeing what’s available. Enjoy!

  28. One thing I like to do with green onions is to chop up the green parts and then use them to make the world’s weirdest quesadilla.

    2 normal size flour tortillas
    1/2 Tbsp butter or ghee
    1/4 c chopped green onion
    1/4 c grated mozzarella
    1/4 c grated monterey jack
    Curry powder
    Sour cream
    Mint chutney, if you happen to have an

    Mix the onions and the cheeses together.

    Melt half the butter over medium heat and swirl it around to cover the whole bottom of your frying pan. Place one tortilla in the pan and spread the cheese mixture over the tortilla. Wait a couple minutes until tje cheeses starts to melt around the edges. Sprinkle curry powder over the cheese and cover it with the other tortilla.

    Continue to cook at medium heat until the bottom tortilla is golden brown. Carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook on the other side until it, too, is golden brown.

    Cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve it with sour cream and mint chutney for dipping.

    Notes: (1) You will want a curry powder with turmeric in it so that the cheese turns bright yellow, which is part of the pleasure of this food. (2) Decide how much curry powder based on how spicy your curry powder is and how spicy you like your food. (3) Be sure to sprinkle the powder evenly, however much you decide to use — this is ensure even coloring of the cheese and even flavoring, too.

    Everyone I have ever made this for has expressed a certain dubious concern before they tasted it, and every single one has also demanded the recipe and/or second helpings. It’s surprisingly good. If you have left over roasted chicken, you can add it, but don’t add anything else. This is a pretty mild combination of flacors, and you don’t want to take away from the awesome mingling of the onions, the spice, and the cheese.

  29. This is my go-to party appetizer recipe. They’re addictive and terrible for you. I rarely have to take any leftovers of these home! Credit goes to my Aunt Carrie.

    Ingredients:
    2 bricks of cream cheese
    1 cluster of 4-5 green onions/scallions
    1 package of Buddig brand beef, 2oz package (this is thin-sliced sandwich beef, which comes in a little round stack, because apparently Buddig has cylindrical cows). You could also use the turkey version if you are making this for non-beef eaters
    1 10-pack of medium flour tortillas (I usually use Mission brand)
    Toothpicks

    Set the cream cheese out and let it warm up a bit, so that it will be easier to mash.
    Slice the beef up into strips and then cross-cut them into bits.
    Cut some green onion stalks (we aren’t using the bulbs); rinse them and trim off the ends if they are brown.
    Slice the onion stalks into bits until you’ve got roughly as big a pile of green onion bits as you do red beef bits.
    Put the cream cheese, onion bits, and beef bits into a bowl.
    Select your favorite implement of mashing; I use the back of a wooden spoon.
    Mash everything together until the beef and onions are distributed throughout the cream cheese.

    Place a tortilla on a plate and spread cheese mix around on it (I use the back of a teaspoon for this).
    Roll up the tortilla and stick a toothpick through it to hold the roll together. You might not use all 10 tortillas.
    Place your rolls in a dish (I use a glass lasagna pan).
    Cover the dish with plastic wrap and put it back into the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight (I often make these the night before the party). This helps to set the rolls so they don’t unroll. Sealing it with plastic wrap keeps the tortillas from drying out and becoming flaky.

    Remove the toothpicks from the chilled rolls and cut off the ends. The end bits typically don’t end up with much filling, so you don’t serve them. (The cook gets to eat the end bits.) Slice what’s left into appetizer-sized rolls.

  30. Fresh green onions are really good in homemade hot & sour soup.

    “Most folks call them green onions, but they’re really scallions.”
    Stan Freberg, Christmas Dragnet

  31. I use them a lot in marinades and chopped fine as topping on baked chicken breasts.

    By the way, walking up and down the center of the market does not look suspicious as hell. It’s a good technique. You get to see what all the vendors have before you buy (you’ll find the best deals). Another tip if you find farmers markets expensive; wait until the end of the market and approach vendors to see if they’ll give you a deal. They really don’t want the labor of carting produce home.

    It’s interesting to get to market about an hour before it opens and watch the vendors set up. It gives you an idea of just how hard they work; because often they’re doing it after they’ve spent a morning (at an afternoon market, anyway) in the fields harvesting and packing up the produce.

  32. If you’re interested in keeping bees, I highly recommend Sue Hubbell’s “A Book of Bees,” which is both informative and delightfully written.

  33. In addition to the many excellent suggestions above, one thing I like to do with green onions is just chop them up and eat them between two slices of buttered bread for a snack.

    Also, you can plant the bulb portion in a pot when you’re done – water it every once in a while, and new green onions will grow. Then you can just cut them off and use them as needed.

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