Food

To Market, to Market

Ah, Farmer’s Markets… where you pay too much for food of dubious provenance.

Franklin, Ohio
Franklin Farmer’s Market

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good farmer’s market, and I am all for supporting local growers. Having been one myself, I understand how much work it is to grow, weed, pick, haul, and sell… pricing to compete with the supermarket just isn’t possible. What I do have an issue with are the ‘Farm’ markets where the produce is all perfect and uniform, and oh look, honey, you forgot to pick the sticker off that tomato which proclaims it was grown in Chile.

I don’t have anything against imported yummies, either. I just don’t like lying. Same with ‘crafters’ who proudly proclaim “I made it all myself!” while the bottom of their wares is stamped ‘made in China.’ I saw a lot of that – some fairs the ratio was like 90% – when I was briefly on the craft fair circuit in New Hampshire. One of the rare ones to NOT fall into that trap is the Concord Arts Market, but I digress. I was explaining why, as we walked into the Franklin Farmer’s Market for the first time, I was very dubious about what we would find.

Franklin Farmer's Market Ohio
Farm Produce
Franklin Farmer's Market
Zucchinis and summer squash
Franklin Farmer's Market
Blueberries and Jams

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middletown Greekfest
Souvlaki and spanikopita
Middletown Greekfest
Baklava, two of the three kinds we got at Greekfest.

It didn’t help that the weekend before we had gone to the Greekfest in Middletown, which my First Reader had fond memories of, but had been unable to get to for some time. It was a mild disappointment. The food was very overpriced for what you got. The souvlaki was tasty, and cemented my determination to actually find a local restaurant with good Greek food. But the salad was ‘eh’ and the best part were the pastries, which were made who-knows-where (remember the dubious provenance?) and I have no idea what to call them, other than baklava variants, the guy behind the table rattled off names and descriptions too fast to follow.

I didn’t have anything in mind at the Farmer’s Market, other than checking it out for future veg-hunting if it looked at all authentic. I was very pleased to see that it did indeed look like local farm produce, familiar looks to the people sitting behind the tables of jams, honey, veg, and baked goods. I’ve never met them before, but I know them. I’ve been them. Tired, hot day, but good sales… the market was fairly busy, less than an hour before shut-down. I’ll go back in a couple of weeks when my schedule settles down and I can take the time.

Franklin Farmer's Market
Fresh young zucchini, a bit battered. I’d need to use it today before those bruises rotted.

We did pick up zucchini. I have no garden this year – well, ok, I have a weedpatch. Somewhere in it are a couple of tomato plants and pepper plants. The tomato has green ones, but it’s been so cool and wet, they aren’t even close to ripening. Fortunately, I like fried green tomatoes. The First Reader doesn’t, but he does enjoy zucchini bread.

Franklin OHio Farmers Market
shredded zucchini

Zucchini-Carrot Bread

First, I prepared by shredding all the zucchini with my food processor. I knew I wouldn’t need it all for this batch, but the very tender baby zucchini had been roughly handled and their skin bruised and broken. I knew it wouldn’t last long at all in that condition. I’d seen that when I bought it, but planned for this. Normally if you’re buying baby zukes at a market, you want to look for the tender ones, their skin still shiny, but look for people who have a clue and have handled their produce gently, unlike this marketer. Shredding these guys made about 6 cups of zuke, enough for three batches of bread. Since I was doubling the batch, but using carrots as well, I froze four cups of it for later use.

  • 2 ½ c sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 4-5 c flour
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 c oil
  • 2 c shredded zucchini
  • 2 c shredded carrots
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (we’re not fond of it, you could add more)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Nuts, optional.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F

I used my stand mixer, on low, but this is easy to do by hand, too. Put the eggs in the bowl, beat the sugar in slowly, then the oil, veggies, and combine thoroughly. Finally, add the dry ingredients a little at a time, until you reach a batter-like consistency. Stop mixing, you don’t want to activate the gluten too much and make your bread tough.

Grease 4 loaf pans (or two loaves and one 8×8 pan if that’s what you have. Muffins would work well here, too) and pour the batter equally into them. Bake for 55-60 min or until a toohpick comes out cleanly. Allow to cool at least a little, slice and eat. This bread freezes very well, and a slice in a baggie can go straight from frozen to lunchtime treat with no fuss.

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0 thoughts on “To Market, to Market

  1. Cedar, thank you again, I really enjoyed your take on the farmer’s market.

    My own experience is with the local Renaissance Festival here in Kansas City, where you can find some really nice period and artisan wares, but it is buried within a lot of fake modern shtick and shtuff. Same problem, different venue.

    1. Some farmer’s markets – and this looks like one – are good. Others are dubious. And yes, I think anywhere you find a fair or festival you run into the cheap useless schtuff being sold for far too much.

      One of the problems, I believe, is that a true craftsman can sell his wares for cost of material, and a little more. But they will never sell for enough to pay for their time. So it’s easier to buy cheep knock-offs and sell for ‘handmade’ than it is to actually create something which would take a long time and sell for a pittance of what the labor in it was worth.

      1. We are in different economic conditions from when those crafts were standard fare. People were on subsistence basis, and the crafts were the extras in their spare time. Some people today still are doing it that way, and can price it the way you say. But if you need to actually make a full living off it, it just doesn’t work that well in a mass market environment.

        The price of labor is really an interesting theory — we all value our labor differently than what we actually get paid for it. 😉

    1. Not to my knowledge – I know Tilton Winter Farmer’s Market and the Sanbornton Market were good. But here in Ohio all the roadside stands seem to be people reselling from the supermarket, and it is something I have seen on occasion elsewhere. I also am a little dubious of the baked and canned goods at any fair, since they are made under who-knows what sort of conditions. I’d have to know and trust someone before I bought that sort of thing from them.

          1. Cool! Though the lighthouses aren’t exactly ‘up’ in Maine. We’re up near Moosehead lake, at the foot of Russel mountain. If you want to spend some time out in the woods, we’d be pleased if you’d pay us a visit.
            mobius at mainestream dot us

  2. “I just don’t like lying. Same with ‘crafters’ who proudly proclaim “I made it all myself!” while the bottom of their wares is stamped ‘made in China.’ ”

    I see the same thing at the powwows. Not that I approve of the practice, but I can understand them selling what people want to buy, i.e. crap. What I don’t understand is wanting people to think you actually made that crap with your own hands.

    You’re in NH! We’re in Maine, a little farther up. About even with NH’s canadian border.

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