Monday, June 6, 2011

A Visit to the Farmers Market

Being a cook at heart,  one of my favorite things to do in the summer is to visit the local farmers markets.  It seems they have one in just about every town now, brimming with fresh, local grown fruits and vegetables.  Last summer my mother and I tried to visit a new one every Saturday. My favorite market was in the town right next to ours.  I felt it had the freshest produce, plus they sold fish, flowers, and crafts and goods made from local merchants.  I loved the set up of it, as it was right on the beach - not 10 minutes from my house. 

Driving along Saturday morning I saw this sign.  The farmers market is back in town!

I was so excited.  It's still early in the season and most towns haven't started theirs yet. Saturday was a beautiful day and it seems everyone had come out to play.  Driving through the quaint center of town to get to the farmers market I saw men in flip-flops, women in straw sun hats, and every other person was walking a dog.  There were folks on bikes, kids with soccer uniforms on getting ice cream cones, and  there was a line out the door of the coffee shop - ice coffee I can imagine. 

Hubbie and I have talked many times about how we would love to live here - within walking distance of this square.  It reminds me of small town America. 

I would love to be able to hear these church bells through my kitchen window every hour.  So peaceful....

This square is a perfect place to visit.  Especially on a sunny Saturday morning... : )

When I arrived at the farmers market I got a parking space facing the beach.  I lingered for a while.  I popped in my new Edith Piaf CD (which I will tell you about another time) and took in the view of the boats and waves.  I took a few deep breaths of salt air and then I came back to reality and realized I was on a time schedule and better get shopping.  There is never enough time, is there?

There were little white tents set up in groups all across the parking lot.  There were tables of fresh herbs, hanging plants, and vibrant fruits and veggies.

I walked through mentally preparing my meals for the week, feeling very grateful that I am able to feed my family healthy, organic food, while supporting the community at the same time.

I left with a brown shopping bag full of goodness.  The first item on my agenda were these beautiful strawberries.

I've been craving homemade ice cream and strawberry is always the first flavor I make.  Mostly because it's my favorite : )  And also because I always seem to dust off the ice cream maker in June - coincidentally right when the strawberries are at their peak.

Here is my recipe for strawberry ice cream.  You will need:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups pureed strawberries (roughly 2 pints)
2 tsp vanilla

Puree strawberries in a food processor and puree until liquid.

I have to admit, I love this machine and I look for any occasion to use it. 

Stir milk and cream in a sauce pan and heat until it begins to bubble. 

Remove from heat and add sugar.  Stir until it dissolves.  Add the vanilla and then the strawberry puree.

Mix well...

Pour the mixture into the freezer container of an ice cream maker.  (My mom bought me a Cuisinart last year for my birthday and I love it : )

Cover and freeze for several hours.

I had a little strawberry puree left over, so I put it in a Tupperware to freeze it.  I will certainly find use for it.
Stay tuned...

Anyway, here is my final result.

The flavor is very "strawberry-eeee".  It's literally like eating a strawberry. I got the approval from my three year old, which was all I really cared about, but everyone else loved it too.  After two days, the container is almost empty.

We consume an outrageous amount of ice cream in my home, so to know that this was made with fresh ingredients, by my own hands makes me feel really good. 

With that being said, there is only one thing left to do on this sunny day -

"Pick up your coat
Grab your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Direct your feet to the sunny side of the street...."

If possible, try and visit a local farmers market.  Fresh ingredients feed the soul and do a body good.  It's true.

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