We seek market perfection, yet some days the bears runs as hard as the bulls (and I am not talking Seth's bears). Crappy weather contributed to a weak market. Supplies were thinner and variety less. One vendor who takes up a lot of space in the eastern edge of the market, did display a lot, including some Asian vegetables. The problem there, everything looked like it had been picked for someone else's farmer's market. Also, we are clearly in a produce cusp. Nature has exhausted its supply of early season products, the sugar snaps, the asparagus; the first summer crops, the potatoes, full onions and zucchini have been there for a while, while the truly sunshine crops, the tomatoes, corn and peppers are a mere trickle. So, this was a market with really just a lot of the same. A market to fill in kitchen gaps. Not a market to wow.
Having said that, there were tomatoes at a vendor called Tomato Mountain. I did not see them last week. They offered three colors of heirloom tomatoes: green, yellow and a red plum variety. We picked up the yellow because the vendor candidly (and cannily) told us they were better. I still wait for Nichols to bring out their tomato zoo vats. Then, I will know tomato season really arrived. Aside from the tomatoes and some really nice looking peaches, some still with leaves, found hidden, we concentrated on the other offerings of the market.
The Green City Market gives space to several interesting food vendors. There are two natural beef people (for details see Joan's post from last week), really expensive natural chickens and one natural pork stall (question, how natural is bacon seasoned with nitrates?). Then, there's that Chicago summer staple, smoked rainbow trout. The same stand also sells fresh farm raised trout. Finally, caviar Chicago style, we splurged on something called salmon roe, gravlax style. The caviar is worth purchasing just for the little insulated purse they comp. I have to say, my shopping companion and I marveled at how cute Ms. VI looked toting her baby blue caviar bag.
In anticipation of more tomatoes (and in honor of one of most witty contributors), today's link is for a recipe for heirloom tomato ketchup.
I do not know if I will see you next week at Green City, but plan on seeing me at Oak Park.