To market, to market!

Shopping at the farmers' market isn't like shopping anywhere else.  You have a sense of what will be there, but you can't be sure that what you want will still be available.  Or you might make an impulse purchase.  You could arrive with a list that says rhubarb, fingerlings and baby beets and you'll leave with none of those - but armfuls of radishes and three punnets of strawberries and a bunch of purple basil.  And then you have the problem of what to make with them!  Because whatever plan you had walking in has now flown out the window.

For a long while I've fantasized that there might be a perfect farmer's market cookbook out there for me.  It would 1) be organized by season; 2) with colorful tabs so I could easily find, you know, the asparagus section; 3)  obviously, seasonally appropriate recipes (where every one's a winner!); 4) a customizable list section so that if I get radishes, I'll remember to pick up lemons and mint too, because I like those in a lot of my radish recipes.

Eat Your Books goes far toward filling that need - at least you can look up your recipes on the go, and you can see the ingredients you might use, even if you can't customize your list.  Personally, I'd still want a handy dandy pocket-sized laminated guidebook/cookbook to take with me, because at heart I'm still a print kind of gal, and a single screen always feels confining to me.

The recipes shouldn't be that hard to find...Susie Middleton's books, for example, are seasonally sensitive and her last one, Fresh from the Farm, proceeds chronologically.  Nigel Slater's Tender has the right sensibility and great recipes, but it's alphabetically organized, and a doorstop.

What do you bring with you to the farmers' market?  EYB?  A favorite book? Or just an open mind and imagination?  

4 Comments

  • ellabee  on  6/24/2014 at 1:42 PM

    I think the most useful paper list to take would be a collection of ingredients from various EYB recipes that feature the items you're likely to find. Then, when you pick up the subset of those at the market, you go back on EYB to check out what else you might need. Lemons would never be at any market in my locality, and mint is less likely than radishes -- so there'd have to be other stops anyway.

  • wester  on  6/25/2014 at 1:58 AM

    It might be useful to take something like The Flavour Thesaurus; something to suggest combinations with what you're going to find. A proper cookbook needs too much space for the recipes themselves, and I'm not going to need those until I'm in my kitchen. And of course, EYB would be nice, and an open mind is essential.

  • slimmer  on  6/26/2014 at 7:51 AM

    I like to be surprised, so I just bring lots of cash and several shopping bags or a backpack. Where I live, there's just one growing season, so many booths have the same produce as the next. I cruise through once just looking, tasting and checking prices, then I double back to make my purchases. And I always buy too much for two people to eat in a week, because it all looks so good! When I get home, then I check EYB for ideas.

  • achookwoman  on  6/26/2014 at 8:14 AM

    I write recipes for our local Farmers Market, based on what is in season. As I am Australian , the seasons are different and the recipes different to those often available. This is where EYB comes in handy. We have a free swap stall where people donate what they have in excess. This means that one has to be very creative. Often unusual ingredients appear , such as horseradish root or Warrigal greens , and again this is when I rush to my computer to see how I can use or store that special prize.

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