St. Paul Farmer's Market Top 5 This Week

Ah, I just love our Minnesota weather. One minute it’s 85 and humid, and the next thing you know it’s mid-60s and feels like fall. This past weekend was one of those sweatshirt-craving, appetite-confusing weekends at the market. My brain was saying summer but my mouth was pleading for stew. Lucky for me, the St. Paul Farmer's Market is in full swing and I can appease my fickle palate in all sorts of ways.

Mid-summer is truly the most fantastic time for local food here in the Midwest. And I think our long winters and short growing seasons make us appreciate the bounty that much more. Despite the chilly weather, the market was packed with people, flowers, fruits and vegetables, honey, dairy and some of the best beef and chicken I’ve ever enjoyed. I hauled out my new grandma-esque shopping trolley, packed it with empty egg cartons and glass milk bottles, and joined in the fray.

My picks this week:

  • Rainbow chard – this is a new one for me and I must confess that I was drawn in by the beautiful colors. And for $2, the price of exploration was right up my alley. I’m looking for recipes now but think I’ll stick with a simple sauté in olive oil and…
  •  Garlic – everywhere I looked this week, there was garlic! It seemed that you could spend anywhere from $3-5, depending on the size of the bulbs. I can’t wait to slice, mince and crush this stuff into dressings, sauces, soups and so on. Garlic has such a great reputation as a cholesterol-busting super food, it’s an easy add to my basics list.
  • Raspberries – many farmers had raspberries in this week. Here again, the going rate seemed to be $5 for a pint, $3 for a half…much better than the long-traveled organic numbers at the grocery running upwards of $4.99 for a half pint! One guy even had 2 pints for $9 which I think I’m going to do next time and freeze for smoothies. I wonder if I hang out at closing time on Sunday… will they throw me an even better deal?!
  • Chives – we used one of these HUGE $1 chive bunches a few weeks ago to make Japanese gyoza, and they got rave reviews from the chef in our clan, as well as some finicky eaters. I intend to chop them into ½” pieces, sprinkle over the little fingerling potatoes I found this week (I’ll boil and crush them slightly) and add buttermilk for a zippy side.
  • Red currants – no idea what I’m going to do with these yet; they were a complete impulse buy.  For $3, I’ll likely be experimenting with scones and perhaps a martini of some sort. A girl’s gotta have an adventure, right?!

Tracy Morgan is a Twin Cities foodie and the owner of Segnavia Creative, a marketing services consulting company located in St. Paul, MN.