Farmers Market Inspiration

I can’t think of a place where there is more color and texture than at a farmers market.

The produce, the flowers combine to make me want one of everything which means I always come home with more than I need.

This time the market buys provided inspiration for a table.  It was a little challenging getting the carrots through the neck of the bottle until I found just the right size.

IMG_9438With the centerpiece of flowers and vegetables in place, it was easy to choose the rest.  

I had planned on using the black plates with the harlequin bowls, but one plate was missing….how does that happen?  

The solution was to do half of the place settings in reverse which added a touch of the unexpected.

As I added glassware to the table, I remembered the little Mason jars which I use for the kid drinks at tini time.  Off went the chosen water glasses to be replaced by the jars. 

This table was such fun to create, and as I stood back and looked at it it dawned on me that inspiration can come from anywhere.  You just have to be open to the suggestions.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

 

New Look Belfast

Belfast

This is Belfast, not in Ireland but on the midcoast of Maine, so named at the request of an Irish settler around 1770.  With names like Yarmouth, Moscow, Camden, Naples I think many towns in Maine are named for places of early settlers origins.

Not  too long ago Belfast was best known for its chicken packing plant.  That is closed now, and new restaurants, galleries, and shops line the main street making it a very fun place for an outing.

One of the most popular eateries, not only in Belfast but on Maine’s coast, is Chase’s Daily where tasty vegetarian dishes are prepared from produce grown at the family farm.  During the summer months, one can expect a lengthy wait for a table.

Chase's DailyWait time can pass pretty quickly if you venture to the rear of the restaurant where there is a stunning array of vegetables and flowers available for purchase.

 Chase’s is also a venue for local artists to display their work.   How many places do you go and see art and vegetables being complementary?

As good as all the healthy food is, my very favorite thing is this cookie oozing with chocolate and dried cherries.  I’ve been known to have one when I’m waiting in line for a table.

New this year in Belfast is an unbelievable farmers market.   I’d been told it was wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared for just how great it is.

Most Maine farmers markets are outdoors.  Not this one!  It’s in a huge enclosed building, and plans are for it to operate year round.  Hopefully, the full time population of the midcoast will support it as it is a great asset to the area.

In addition to produce and locally made cheeses and meats, there are all kinds of prepared edibles surprisingly representing a number of cultures.  It’s going to take more than one visit to try them all!

It was great to see a variety of handmade items  displayed and getting considerable interest.  It got me to thinking about whether or not some of my handwoven pieces might find a market there. Scarves and shawls just might fit right in.

cupcakesMost of the vendors did a great job displaying their wares.  I tried to pass by the egg carton full of mini cupcakes, but it was impossible to resist!  Not only were the cupcakes cute, they were very tasty.

That’s a quick look at some of what is in Belfast.  Next stop is Coastal Mountain Land Trust’s recently developed rail-trail which follows the route of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, a passenger and freight line which operated from 1871 to 2007 between Belfast and Burnham Junction.  A hike is just the thing to walk off the extra calories ingested at the farmers market.  Let’s get going!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

You Can’t Beat Beth’s

Beth'sThere may be a better farm market than Beth’s in Warren, Maine, somewhere, but I’ve not found it.  No fancy signage will get you there, but when one of these signs is on a corner, you better turn and head in that direction.

Beth'sAny time of year is a good time to go, but fall is my absolute favorite.  Do you get a hint why?  Nowhere is there so much evidence of fall bounty.

Beth's/pumpkinsThere are more varieties of pumpkins than you can imagine

Beth's/pumpkins/gourdsand so many decorative gourds that it’s almost impossible to choose which ones to take home.  If all this color and texture doesn’t get you in the mood to do some fall decorating, nothing will!

Beth'sIsn’t the name of these wonderful?  They almost inspire me to have a ladies lunch just so I can use them as a centerpiece.

Beth'sInside is just as plentiful

and with so much beautiful, fresh produce grown on the acres Beth’s farms it’s hard not to buy more than you need.

Beth'sIn addition to all these temptations, there are lots of specialty products and baked goods made in-house.

Beth'sWith all it has to offer, you can bet many of the area restaurants rely on Beth’s for their produce.

Beth'sI’m not sure though if these pumpkins are going to have many buyers!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

You’re Gonna Love it Tuesday

To Market To Market

Let’s get right to first things first.  Being in Florence for a month means we need food so top priority is going to a market.

Mercato Centrale/marketFirst, I went to the big market, Mercato Centrale, which had dizzying arrays of everything

Mercato Centrale/marketfrom pasta to cheese to meat to olives to sweets to seafood to fresh produce.  I was too far from “home” to carry a load so my purchases were few.

Sant'Ambrogio/marketMuch closer, I discovered Mercato Sant’Ambrogio, not quite as fancy nor as touristy.  There I plunged right in.

marketWhile food was the calling card, how could I resist buying a wonderful leather bag for only $20E?  It’s for my daughter, but today it came in very handy as a carry bag.

marketNow on to the produce.  I actually came prepared with a list so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy everything in sight.

marketEven so, I couldn’t pass up these little artichokes.  Now if I can just figure out how to prepare them.  Any suggestions?

marketTrying to decide what cheese to buy is always a challenge, but after sampling this soft gorgonzola the decision got a whole lot easier.  That is one of the best cheeses I’ve ever tasted.

marketI don’t know how many euros I ended up spending, but I felt like the market was a lot less than shopping at Whole Foods and twice as much fun!

market/PhilThankfully, the hubby was with me or I would never gotten home with all my purchases. Would you believe those two humongous bunches of flowers were 5E? I’m in heaven!

vegetablesGetting home and putting everything out was just as much fun as the purchasing.  Isn’t this a beautiful still life?

I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and  start filling the apartment with tantalizing food smells.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

P.S.  It’s hard for me to keep up with your posts right now, but I look forward to catching up later.

Common Ground: A Maine Tradition

Each fall Common Ground is an opportunity for Maine organic farmers and growers to show their stuff.

Common GroundThis year there seems to be more of everything and the crowds are huge, perhaps thanks to a near perfect weekend.

Common GroundOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACommon GroundCommon GroundNo matter your fancy, there’s something for everyone whether it’s books on growing and cooking,  lectures on every subject or demonstrations showing work done the old fashioned way.

Common GroundThe farmers market is full of tempting produce,

Common Groundso much of it in breathtaking color this time of year.

Common GroundOf course, the farmers lay out their choice items hoping for a prize. which to my eye, almost every entry receives!

Common GroundTantalizing food smells fill the air, and while there are unlimited choices, most natural and/or organic, the lamb kebabs and sausages are a real favorite.

Common GroundJust past the food, one hears shrieks of delight from kids sliding down the hill on pieces of cardboard which goes to show that expensive toys aren’t the only answer for fun.

Common GroundCommon GroundCommon GroundCommon GroundAs much as I enjoy all the exhibits and activity, my heart is drawn to the tents filled with handmade items of clay, wood, glass, fiber and metal.

Common GroundSeeing this lovely dyed sheep’s wool causes me a moment’s regret that I don’t weave with wool, but I can imagine a beautiful blanket made in stunning colors.

Common GroundIf only I could think how to get one of these apple ladders in the car, you can be sure it would be going home with me!  Can’t you just imagine all the wonderful things you could do with one?

Yes, Common Ground is one of those special events that takes one back to those times when everything wasn’t mass produced and value was given to what one could do with his hands.  Fortunately, Maine is one of those places where the old ways are still good ways.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Seasonal Sundays

Tuesdays With A Twist

Let’s Go! Part IV

On the subject of food, meals aboard Le Boreal were outstanding creations made from fresh and local ingredients that Chef Alain Morville and staff purchased at every stop between Portugal and France.

At this market, we will go along.  Like most European markets, it is a visual delight filled with edibles and flowers.

Why is it that abundant arrays of just brought in produce are so much more seductive than carefully arranged grocery store bins?

Look, there is the  cabbage used in the green cabbage soup that we tasted yesterday and lots of dried beans that are sure to be used creatively by the chef.

The fish market is something else altogether and for the first few minutes is a challenge to the sense of smell!

Some of the fish are unfamiliar, but there is no question about all being fresh.

They may be bought whole

or prepared to order by skilled hands. Now, this is a job at which I wouldn’t be very adept!

Some fishes have quite wonderful colors.  These I can see in one of my handwoven scarves, perhaps one for a man.  One never knows from where inspiration will come!

Aboard ship, here are some of the dishes prepared with fresh seafood:

Cod 

Seafood soup…yum

Paella made with a combination of shrimp, mussels and chicken

The mussels are rope raised on these platforms off the coast of Spain and are absolutely delicious.  

There’s just nothing better than fresh seafood which can be prepared in so many flavorful dishes.  Here, paella was my favorite.  Which is yours?

Thanks for traveling and tasting with me today.  Do come back tomorrow for another adventure.

Joining Seasonal Sundays


Eat Fresh, Eat Local

Eat fresh, eat local has become a mantra when it comes to food in Houston.  That should be easy to do when you consider that, along with Florida and California, Texas has the longest growing season in the country.

Farmers’ markets have sprung up all over the place.  They can be found in parking lots at Rice University, shopping centers and restaurants, around the reflection pool at City Hall, at Discovery Green or in many neighborhoods.

Everything there is fresh and locally grown, meaning it came from somewhere in Texas.  And, of course, it has to be organic.

Fruits (can’t wait to make a pie with fresh dewberries) and vegetables are not all there is.

There is cheese

and olive oil (yep, made in Texas)

and baked goods, which for me means cookies,

and sometimes wine.

Some food is ethnic, ready to take home for dinner.

And not everything you find at the various markets is edible.  There are some clever handmade things like these adorable puppets

and hand embroidered cards.

No matter what is there, the good news is that the markets are getting people out, making them think about what they eat.  The only thing that is a bit troublesome is that the prices are steep which means that  these fresh and local products are not accessible to all, and that makes you wonder how we can do a better job positively impacting the eating habits of a obese country.

What are your thoughts about the way we eat?

Linked to Favorite Things Saturday and Seasonal Sundays.

i love your comments, so jump right in and share your thoughts