This is the first in the series of posts on all of the good things I find at the Black Hills Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday during the growing season here in South Dakota, I intend to visit the local farmer’s market and write about what I find and what I did with my loot. Specifically, I will visit the farmer’s market at least once during the week and publish a review on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s why: I love the farmer’s market. It is important to support our local farmers and ranchers, both for the economy and the environment. It is equally important to consume fresh, local produce and animal products as often as possible. I love this time of year because I can get my entire grocery list at the local farmer’s market. It helps that I like to eat whole food, heavy on the veggies. Here is this week’s haul.
Shown above are: Red cabbage, green bell peppers, two kinds of snack cucumbers, Dragon Egg cucumbers (which were displayed in a basket with a stuffed dragon and my 5-year-old cannot wait to try them), celery with the tops, purple and white carrots with their tops (this vendor also had true baby orange carrots, which were tempting, but I had a $50 budget and chose the colorful ones), beets, garlic, and interesting purple tomatoes. Not shown are the 6 cobs of sweet corn, a dozen eggs, grass-fed buffalo soup bones, a grass-fed beef ribeye steak, and a locally made Paleo snack bar.
Some other interesting items that a shopper can routinely find at the Black Hills Farmers Market are: local honey (love it!), Edith’s Brew kombucha, tons of baked goods, pickles, jams and jellies, BBQ, coffee, locally spun and dyed yarn, maple syrup, plants, paintings, pottery, and so much more. Oh, and they have yoga in the shady area adjacent at 9am.
I have already started using what I brought home today. Here’s what I’m doing. First off, I needed to use the celery and carrot tops before they wilted. This is where the soup bone comes in. I prepared the bones by boiling for 30 minutes, to tame the sour taste marrow bones sometimes get. After boiling, toss out the water and rinse the bones. Then I followed the beginning of this recipe from Paleohacks. Notice how it doesn’t use celery or carrot tops. I added those to the rest of the veggies and herbs in my crockpot. I brought the bones to a boil in the apple cider vinegar and water that they had been soaking in, then poured the boiling water over the vegetables and turned the crockpot on high. It will sit in the crockpot for 24-48 hours or until all of the marrow and meat has released from the bone. Right now it looks something like this:
By-the-way, I didn’t have leeks, so I used extra onion. The rosemary is from my garden, and the orange carrots are left over from last week. When this bone broth is done, it will sit in my fridge in a mason jar to be used as an afternoon pick-me-up drink, or for adding flavor to other recipes.
The beets will be used in a new experiment that I have been researching. I am going to pickle them using a lacto-fermentation technique (see what I’m doing here). I admit I’m a little scared. Applied Chemistry never was my strong subject. The instructions are pretty straight forward, though, so I feel hopeful. Lacto-fermentation yields pickled vegetables that contain probiotic cultures as opposed to vinegar pickling which is sterile and can be shelf stable if canned. My pickles will have to be stored in the refrigerator and will have an expiration date similar to yogurt. I’ll let you know how it goes.
The cucumbers will be snacks for my daughter and I. They won’t last the week. If my beet pickling experiment goes well I will get smaller cucumbers to test out next. The Dragon Egg cucumbers look like this on the inside:
They taste like a mild cucumber. Side note along those lines. Everything from the farmer’s market tastes more. Many people are surprised by this. Make sure to try everything, even things you don’t normally like from the store. You may like it when it is truly fresh. My daughter doesn’t like lettuce or spinach, but she likes it from our garden. The produce that I bought today was likely picked last night or early this morning. The eggs were probably in a chicken earlier this week, and I’m pretty sure the chickens have a better life than the chickens in a factory farm. The honey is really from bee hives, not a factory. These things matter in the taste, nutrient density, and overall quality of food. Farmers who intend to sell their produce right away are able to select different varieties. They don’t need to choose types that will survive the trip across country and sitting on shelves. Also, they are likely selling their produce directly to the customer themselves. So, they pick flavorful, tender, colorful, and fun varieties that customers will come back for. Check out the difference between the egg that I bought from Owl Creek Farms today and the cage-free organic egg I bought at the grocery store earlier in the week:
The one I bought today is on the bottom. Happy hens make happy eggs!
Getting back to my grocery list, the green peppers will be snacks and may be added to recipes this week. In fact, one pepper didn’t make it to the picture. The tomatoes will be sliced and eaten fresh. In fact, we had some for lunch today. This is what the inside of the purple ones looks like:
The vendor called them black. He might have even told me the variety, but I don’t remember. The other two tomatoes in the picture are, from left to right, from my friend’s garden in Tennessee, and from my patio tomato plant (I picked it a bit too early).
The sweet corn was eaten today for lunch. Which is the best way to enjoy sweet corn, by-the-way. After it’s picked, corn kernels start to turn their sugar into starch almost immediately. So, the faster you can eat that ear of corn the sweeter it will taste.
There is one more thing I picked up today that was pretty stinking interesting. It’s this Paleo friendly beef bar from a local rancher just south of here in Custer, SD. It’s like tender beef jerky. I give it a thumbs up on everything except the cost. One stick (0.5 oz) was $2, or I think you could buy 10 bars for a few dollars off. Despite the price, I think I would buy it again. It was delish!
I hope you enjoyed my trip to the Black Hills Farmer’s Market today! I enjoy it every week. I’m so grateful to live in an area where markets like this one can be successful. Be sure to come back next week for another installment. Remember to like this post if you found it interesting. Follow me to stay in the loop. Share this post with friends if you know someone who would be interested in this subject. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more frequent updates. Stay tuned for big news coming soon!