Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eye Candy

Posted at 3:24 PM
This is one of the vendors' tables at the Bloomington, IL, farmers market (this morning).

It may be tiny compared with those in New York City or Paris, but it has its gems.

I got enough long beans to double my recipe — after one of the vendors collected the loose ones that had fallen in the bed of his truck — and I nabbed a creamy sheep's milk cheese called Ewe Bloom made at a farm in Champaign, IL. It's buttery and also a little pungent. Not exactly Reblochon — I'm in the middle of rural Illinois, not the Alps — but satisfying with a slice of ciabatta and a glass of pear cider.

More long beans! I never know if certain goodies will reappear.

The cheese is local, but I have to admit, the cider and grapes aren't.
 I also grabbed some peppers because they were so pretty. I don't know yet what to do with them. Sorted by color in baskets, they beckoned like jars of jewel-toned jelly beans do to young children. I was a kid in a candy shop.

I'll miss the market (especially the cheeses) when it closes for the season next month.

Related: Farmers markets have proliferated — the U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 6,132 this year compared with 2,863 in 2000 — and vegetables raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars at Sotheby's in New York City this week. But people in this country seem to be ignoring public health officials' advice to eat more vegetables.

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