Standing on the bed of a truck, covered in construction grit, heaving the last of 1500 pounds of waste into the heap at the dump – Is this really how I wanted to spend my Spring Break? Remodeling our house is the current all-time, energy and money consuming project keeping us from travelling or taking even a staycation this year. I watch my friends and co-workers return from weeks away, relaxed and tan, with great stories of the places they went and the foods they ate. It always comes back to the food for me. Eels in Belgium, poi in Hawaii, chocolate in Paris – oh the jealousy!!
But, instead of whining (I am getting a brand new kitchen, after all), I came up with my Spring Break rebellion plan: If I can’t go away, I’ll take food adventures right here at home. I’ll make it to a different farmers market every week. We are really lucky to have over 15 markets in Seattle – some of them a bridge or a ferry ride away – but, still close enough to call “local.” Tony (the husband) won’t be able to say no, I have to go grocery shopping, right?!? Maybe he’ll even come along. He may not track the first asparagus of the season, or the perfect peach, but he loves the crowds and the food that hits the table after a good market trip. So, I'm making the time for food adventures - pulling up the rest of that carpet will have to wait!
First up? Well, Pike Place Market, the largest and oldest public market is here in the heart of downtown. It is the perfect place to start. Who cares that I live only 6 miles away? Other people take their vacations here, why not me? Pike Place was started in 1907 and is still going strong, it was saved by passionate Seattle citizens in the 1970s when developers threatened to have it demolished. The iconic open air building perched over the waterfront piers is a common tourist destination, with fishmongers throwing fish and all. It is a vibrant market open 7 days a week that supplies locals and visitors with fruits, vegetables, flowers, art and crafts.
Samples abound - my favorite part of the market! Unlike the other area farmers markets still waiting for the first local vegetables to come in, Pike Place allows vendors to sell some produce from around the country – which is why my pictures are so colorful. I sample it all, but try to stick to buying the local stuff. Fresh and local usually means healthier and tastier when it comes to produce. I come home with fresh asparagus from the Yakima valley, rhubarb from Olympia, and tulips from the Skagit Valley. These are the items that really signal spring here in the Northwest. Tulips may not be tasty, but they are bee-eautiful. I put them in the grocery budget every springJ.
I hopped onto Allrecipes and matched the asparagus up with some leeks from the garden and made French Spring Soup and found this great recipe for Rhubarb Crunch. It was the perfect dinner after a cold spring evening spent digging out a new window well!
I love this market/food vacation thing. Can't wait for next week...
Do you shop at farmer's markets, too? What are your favorite springtime foods and recipes?