Farmers markets and weekend baking

Happy mid-week to you all.

A few weekends ago I ventured out into the cold and windy weather in search of a farmers market. Do you also brave the elements to seek out local produce? It is a rewarding escapade.

The market was small. It seemed as though the producers had looked out of their frosted-over windows and chose their warm beds. Or perhaps they had travelled to other markets.

But it was of little matter! The swans were out flaunting their graceful walk, and the ducks weren’t fazed by the cold. So I told myself to toughen up, and was duly rewarded for my perseverance.

I found piles of large paper bags filled with knobbly dutch cream potatoes. The couple serving me were rugged up with thick knitted scarves that nearly covered their ears and were numbly folding away money despite their fingerless gloves. The woman, stacking even more bags of potatoes at the rear of the three-sided tent, asked if I mashed these potatoes. Why yes, I do; they are lovely and smooth and rich in flavour. But the woman was surprised; she had only ever roasted them. Well that is something you would never learn at a supermarket, would you? Roast them I shall!

I also found little cucumbers, which were as long as my hand is wide. Plump and glossy and tied in little mesh bags, they were so tempting. I adore cucumber. Sliced with a little salt and pepper, cucumbers form the basis of my lunch whenever I can find them. Surely cucumbers aren’t in season here, but the grower uses a glasshouse. Or a hothouse. I should really ask next time. He chuckled a little at my enthusiasm for the cucumbers, but he seemed quietly chuffed that other people enjoy his food. They were gone from my house within three days.

Finally, my toes like ice, I came across a tea stall. There were little containers filled with loose leaf teas, all lined up in a neat row. At one end of the stall was a stash of slender wire tea infusers. At the other end, an assortment of eclectic tea containers. One woman was oohing and ahhing over the different black teas, but I was drawn to the greens. I’m a late addition to the green tea band wagon, but I’ve certainly fallen for the simple clean flavour. Have you, too?

I zeroed in on one tea exotically named Japanese dew. Which summons visions of early morning maple leaves doesn’t it? The tea consists of long dry green leaves studded with lilac and rose coloured petals. I have no idea these are, but the tea is very fragrant. Sweet, even. It comes of some surprise to me that I actually like this tea, because I am someone with high distaste for anything unnaturally floral scented.

I won’t be baking until the weekend. But when I do, I’ll be looking at the apple sponge recipe, as it is apple season. Or perhaps scones. They would go perfect with the tea.

Until then amigos.



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