Washington Farmers' Market Report July 11, 2007
A Thursday evening stroll down the shaded sidewalks of downtown Central Park begs the question 'What is the magnet that attracts us?' Is it the ambiance created by the historic architecture, the deep shade of the towering trees, the soothing carpet of green grass, the sparkling waters of Centennial Fountain or is it the casual conversations, the joyful greetings between friends as they re-establish personal links. Maybe it's the sight of a colorful display of juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, multi-colored sweet bell peppers, crisp shiny cucumbers and slender green beans, or the aroma of fresh cut basil, dill, cilantro and chervil. It could be the experience of discussing the story of that succulent ear of sweetcorn from seed to table, finding out the 'name' (Temptation, Sugar and Honey, Butter n Cream, Honey n Cream, NK199, Lancelot) and learning the latest updates from the local growing fields and gardens. Then again it could be just an all important respite from the busy day, long commutes, and summer heat. A chance to refresh our minds and bodies. These are a few of the reasons why we make the trip to the Washington Farmers' Market and eagerly await the 5pm start.
Sweetcorn and tomatoes are the stars of the summer market. Good quantities will be available this week. Fresh picked green beans and fava beans make a great combination with new potatoes and sweet summer onions. Summer squash, zucchini, egg plant, swiss chard, kohl rabi, bac choi, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, cucumbers, chili peppers, carrots and beets are some of the vegetables grown locally. Hints of melons 'maybe next week' seem to promise the addition of that delicious vine ripened crop. Blackberries and raspberries are the only fruit available at this time, the late freeze this spring was disastrous to the local tree fruit orchards.
Fresh farm eggs, honey, jams, jelly, fresh from the oven breads, cinnamon rolls, cakes and cookies are on display for selection.
Pulled pork barbecue, hot sweetcorn and fried potato spirals on a stick are some of the ready to devour items offered.
The Every Day Cook will be at the Washington Farmers' Market this Thursday. Chef Joe is Joe Godfrey, a Des Moines restaurant owner, with a food demonstrating background and a big supporter of using Iowa produce in his restaurant. Joe will demonstrate and offer samples from produce available and purchased from the Farmers Market. This cooking demonstration will appeal to the beginning cook and the accomplished chef alike in their efforts to prepare fine cuisine from local grown produce. The Every Day Cook is a project sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship funded by a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Joe is being kept busy this summer, he's been to Dubuque, Bettendorf, Mason City and Des Moines Farmers' Markets. Following the Washington Farmers' Market presentation he'll demonstrate at Toledo, Grinnell and Cedar Falls Markets. It is indeed an honor to be chosen as one of the Markets to offer this program.
"Cat Fish Keith" is the 'Thursday Night Live' entertainment this week. He'll fill the park with his delta blues from 6:30 to 7:30. The open air venue lends a touch of authenticity as he weaves wondrous musical tales with his strong vocals and strings. 'Cat Fish' calls Washington home but his music is known and enjoyed globally.
The Washington Muni-Band Concert will begin at 8pm, a musical finish to a wonderful evening in Central Park, a chance to refresh and recharge our lives. See you there!