Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winter Farmer's Market

The calendar says today is the first day of spring, although I am sure there is still time for another snowstorm to hit Wisconsin before we can really call it spring in this state.  So, I suppose it really wasn't too late to visit the Winter Farmer's Market held at Wisconsin's State Fair Park yesterday.

Overall, the market wasn't as large as I had expected and the variety was a little lacking.  Three quarters of the room was made up of vendors selling meats, syrup/honey/jarred sauces, and baked goods.  I was really hoping to get more produce such as potatoes, onions and other root vegetables, but left somewhat disappointed.  There was one vendor who had nice looking onions (that sounds oddly dirty, doesn't it?), so I purchased a few, but all other vegetables looked pretty sad.  I suppose this could be due to stock running low this late in the winter.  There were also a couple of people selling homemade soups and pastas, but as someone who makes their own pasta from scratch, it didn't seem necessary to pay the price when I could make it myself.

From a few of the remaining vendors, I purchased a package of handmade whole wheat tortillas, a wonderful raw milk Gouda, unique herbal tea for calming the stomach of my over-indulging husband and some beautiful portabello and baby portabello mushrooms.

I marinated the large portabellos with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and herbs and grilled them with steaks for dinner.  The portabellos were so meaty and delicious, I could have eaten them as the main course.  I will be using the baby portabellos to make stuffed mushrooms for a brunch I am hosting next week.  More to come later on that.

The farmer's market had more of a craft fair/bake sale vibe than I was expecting and some of the vendors were really pushy, which turns me off pretty quickly.  One of the things I did like was that several vendors had free recipes available, so I snagged a few of those.  My goal from this point on for the year is to make at least two new recipes a month.  So, stay tuned to see my successes and failures.

Winter Farmers Market Star Rating:  3 out of 5
Grilled Portabello Star Rating:  4.5 out of 5

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