During the winter months, when many of the farmers markets closed, we fell into a standard routine. Wednesday we would head over to the Decatur market and on Saturday we might go back to Decatur, but usually I like to mix it up and adventure all the way up to Marietta or over to the Morningside market.
More incredible oyster mushrooms from Deep South Mushrooms , just can't get enough of them and they're so easy and quick to prepare.
However in the last couple of weeks some of our old favorites have been starting up again, which is wonderful, but does make for some ethical decisions.
You see, as much as I love the Decatur farmers market, there are some things that I prefer about some of the other markets. It might be the setting, or selection or time or a particular vendor or product, however I am a very loyal customer, especially when it comes to local, small operations.
Decatur kept going, rain or shine, even when it got pretty cold or windy. I couldn't just abandon them.
Decisions, Decisions....or Not
The solution I've come up with is to buy less at each market and go more often and eat even more home prepared meals.
For me the markets are a field trip, a way to support the local economy and food being produced the "right" way. It's a good excuse to get out and because of our regularity, its become a time to socialize as well.
Peachtree Road Farmers Market is the largest farmers market I've been to in Atlanta and I had imagined that it would be the one opening that we'd all go to as a family, however as it would happen, Cindy was exhausted from the job she's on and I decided to let Skye sleep in because there was a very real possibility that she would be racing with me later that day in the Great Urban Race, (she did).
So I went at it alone and early since I needed to get ready for aforementioned race. (note;for some reason I really like the word aforementioned)
It's a good thing I did because it was insanely crowded, not in the LA sense where it is better to forgo the event, but in the, "Wow! There sure are a lot of people up early for a farmers market."
I decided to splurge and go for the market burger, with a fried farm egg and goat cheese from Decimal Place Farm; Skye's first home-school field trip here in Atlanta was out to their place, so a little nostalgia kicked in, not to mention how delicious their cheeses are.
There's nothing like knowing how and where your food is grown but actually having been there makes it even better, as close as you can get to raising it yourself.
There were several vendors there that I hadn't seen in months.
Indian Ridge Farm always has a varied, interesting and beautiful array of "greens", although often they're not the color green.
They usually have several plants that we most think of as "weeds" like dandelions that might not look or taste like a traditional green salad, but are quite delectable, an adventure and experience for all the senses.
Sweet Savannah Shrimp was there with there amazing and almost local shrimp.
You really can tell the difference, as soon as you start shelling them. Their texture is firmer than what most of us have become accustomed to and the taste...yummy yummy.
So Many Local Markets to Choose From
East Atlanta Village
The EAV Farmers Market is probably my favorite for a few reasons.
It's in a lovely local, the only market that I can recollect being on dirt and grass rather than on asphalt or cement.
It's also very much part of the community, with several of their own planter beds and compost bins and other educational demos.
And hula hoops lots of hula hoops.
I think we first came across S&J's Wood-fired Pizza at the Peachtree Road market.
We used to have our own wood-fired oven in our backyard in LA, so I know first hand what it takes to make pizza in them, how hot it gets,(around 750 F worked best for me) how long it takes,(just a couple of minutes tops) and how amazing and delicious they are.
So whenever I see them I make sure to get me one of their latest concoctions.
I've become a big hula hoop advocate. Its a great way to get into the "flow" which is more important than people tend to realize.
Hooping and juggling, two things I think people should be doing more of.
Plus a live band and a couple of food trucks and of course local fresh veggies, eggs and all the rest.
Also the EAV farmers markets hosts several craft fairs and Eco-awareness events through out the year.
Another Opening Day
We don't often make it over to the Grant Park market because we've either been to the EAV on Thursday or one of several of the markets on Saturday or perhaps both, so by Sunday we really have no reason to go to another market.
However when schedules get hectic and we haven't able to get to the other markets, well on those occasions, Grant Park has been a more than able substitute.
The day of its re-opening however was not one of those days, although we decided to go anyway to show our support.
Crack in the Sidewalk Farm is really local and really small (1/2 acre) but always have a nice mix.
Recently we've got arugula, some spicy mixes to braise and mulberries.
But since we had just seen them on Thursday and still hadn't finished off the goodies from then, we just said hello and meandered down the path.
We did find a new mushroom source, Atlanta Gourmet Mushroom, which is good because we are fungi fiends and they never last for long at our house.
We trekked up to Marietta one Sunday because Cindy had heard that once its spring the market moves to a larger location and there are around twice the number of vendors.
The bit of information she missed was that was on Saturdays.
Sundays are a relatively new thing and well as you can see, not quite yet the event as its older brother.
We still haven't been to that one yet or ELF, East Lake Farmers market and I'm sure several other note-worthies.
But I did return to Your Dekalb Farmers Market which is where so many people from Atlanta think I'm going when I tell I'm off to the Farmers Market.
It is an amazing store in its own right. And if I did enjoy the experience this last time around. It has wonderfully fresh food from all over the world. So not very local, but no worse than say Whole Foods and much more affordable. If I were entertaining like I did in LA, I'm sure I would be in there more often.
And it was quite an education for Skye to see how much of our food comes from so far away.
Enough for now. It's taken me forever and a day to finally put this post together and now its done. There are many more vendors and stories and ......