Sunday, September 26, 2010

Finally, a Farmer's Market!

This summer we tried to hunt down a decent farmer's market in our local area.  For some reason the one in our little town was cancelled this year, we were unable to find a listing for one in Los Banos, and the market in Merced has shrunk in size significantly. The local paper had touted that Firebaugh, a town about 15 minutes from here, had the best farmer's market in the county. What a joke! It wasn't a farmer's market, it was a flea market. There was one produce stand with produce shipped from Mexico! The rest of the booths were cheap toys, clothing and other manufactured goods from Mexico. So we were about to give up on the whole farmer's market thing, since the next closest Market, Turlock Farmer's Market, is at an odd time on an odd day according to our schedules. Then Lee needed to make a trip to Nasco in Modesto to pick up some supplies for the set construction of his current film project, and so we decided to get as much out of the trip as we could and check out the Modesto Farmer's Market.

Our Modesto Farmer's Market fare.
Wow, compared to what we've been experiencing in the realm of central valley farmer's markets lately, we were quite impressed! So much selection! Yummy samples! Friendly vendors! Almost made me want to move back to Modesto (hah!) We brought the kids along on this trip, their first trip to a farmer's market (aside from the Firebaugh experience) and they were a bit skeptical because they thought a farmer's market was just a flea market. They ended up having a great time and had to sample everything. I ran into my great friend and fellow art student Rita while we were there, who told me that she was Crafty Acre's biggest fan and read it religiously. What an awesome compliment! Makes this effort all worthwhile when I hear that people enjoy reading what I write. (And it was fantastic to see you again Rita! Can't wait to catch up with you again in the future!) 

We didn't do any major shopping on this trip since our fridge was already stocked, but we did let the boys pick out a lot of things that they wanted to try. We got the most delicious peaches and white nectarines from J&J Produce (their stand is located on the corner of Geer & Whitmore in Highson.) We sampled all of the honey flavors at the Pure Valley Honey Bees booth, and all voted in favor of buying the blackberry honey, super delicious and fruity! The boys were totally fascinated with the blue potatoes from Zuckerman's Farm, so we picked up a small sack. We stopped by a table full of grapes, every different type you could think of and Rowan shouts,"there's a tarantula in those grapes!"  It was in fact, just a small, fuzzy jumping spider. I'm sure that made the vendors happy¡ Actually, the ladies were quite nice about it, and said that the spider was just part of their natural pest control team. Glad there weren't any other potential customers at the table right then, but I still felt so bad that I insisted we buy more than one bunch of grapes. They turned out to be the best grapes I've tasted this summer, but I didn't catch the name of the farm unfortunately. Liam and I chose some Jalapeno Cheese Bread from Word-of-Mouth Baking Company and it's already gone, as I just finished off the last of it while typing this post- this coming from someone who hates Japapenos and anything else fiery! Speaking of fiery, we got some super yummy basque piperade from Beret Rouge. The boys all voted for the spicy, but I think I prefer the sweet because I have a hard time enjoying the spicy after a few bites. Maybe it's just me, but when my tongue is on fire it's difficult for me to enjoy food. We sampled all of the cheeses at the Oakdale Cheese booth. My favorite was the goat gouda. I am looking forward to getting a couple of Pygoras or Nigerian Dwarfs and testing out my cheese making hands in the future!

There were a lot more booths that we didn't have time to stop by or purchase from, but we do plan to go back. When we asked the boys if they had fun, they were in complete agreement. Liam, who just turned 5, told us that next time we come back we should try all new stuff that we haven't tried yet. Ah, is my influence rubbing off on him? We finished off our day with lunch at Extreme Pizza since they offer a gluten free crust. Poor Rowan's diet is quite limited and he rarely gets pizza unless I make a homemade crust for him, so he and Liam loved it! Nice to see more restaurants are offering gluten free options!

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