Salisbury Farmers Market a great place to see, greet friends

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By Sue Davis
For The Salisbury Post
While walking through the Salisbury Farmers Market last weekend I enjoyed the energy of the vendors as they weighed and bagged for the shoppers who came to select fresh meats, breads and produce. The chance to have short visits with friends and acquaintances, to select high quality foods and to enjoy watching flower arrangements being created are unique parts of the Salisbury Farmers Market.
Saturday, Miller Farms had almost sold out of corn by 8:30 a.m. By 9 a.m., Mike Miller had arrived with a trailer of freshly harvested corn. He set up a display of a corn stalk with four marketable ears growing on it. Mike says this is very rare. Three is the most ears on a stalk he had ever seen, and not all the ears were market quality. I spent some time talking with Mike about the corn he brings to the market each week and the work that goes into being sure Rowan County has fresh corn from June until the first of September. Throughout the season corn is replanted to replace what has been harvested. The life cycle from seed to corn for our table is about 90 days. This means our vendors are planting corn from March until mid-August.
What’s new?
Dawn’s Greenhouse has Brown Turkey Organic Figs. Remember, figs do not improve after picking and are incredibly fragile when ripe. Dawn is harvesting the figs at their peak. They will smell fresh and fragrant.
When you get them home refrigerate immediately until you are ready to use them. You may want to peel the figs, but this is not necessary unless the skins are thicker than you like. Generally the only preparation a fig needs is to remove the tiny bit of stem. While the figs are at their peak, try macerating the figs with sugar to taste, add a little rum or rum extract and serve over frozen yogurt or ice cream.
Fruits and Vegetables
This is the beginning of change at the market. Vendors are beginning to talk about late summer fruits and vegetables becoming available. Miller Farms has two new rows of half runner green beans ready. They also have brown-eyed and white-eyed peas shelled and unshelled. Eagle Farms has shelled lima beans.
The produce vendors have local tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, green beans, okra, cucumbers, and some varieties of eggplants. Several vendors have tender Swiss chard, which has a nutty flavor and is a change from the other more common summer green vegetables. Correll Farms has green tomatoes for frying, pies and other summer favorites. They have tomatillos for salsa, mole and pies.
This week I bought a Mr. Stripey yellow and pink stripe tomato to try. This heirloom variety has a low acid mild flavor and is bi-color throughout. The center is pink. This is a good addition to salsa. Lee Ly features an aromatic selection of Asian herbs and vegetables including baby bok choy, beans and chard. Dawn’s Greenhouse has fresh-cut herbs.
Blueberries are still available. Barnett’s Blueberries may not be at the market this week, but if they are not, berries are still available for you to pick at their farm on Patterson Road. Other vendors have small packages of blueberries at their booths. There are some local peaches and South Carolina peaches available.
Cantaloupes and watermelons are plentiful. Many vendors have small watermelons. Most local watermelons have seeds, a sweet flavor and don’t have to be refrigerated until a few hours before cutting. If you are not sure how to select a melon, ask the vendor for help.
Flowers, Plants and Herbs
This is the time when hanging baskets and early annuals need to be refreshed or you crave a new plant. Many vendors have replacement herbs which should last into fall. Joyce’s Greenhouse has an unusual ornamental, edible pepper. The leaves are variegated green, pink and lavender. The fruit is eggplant color until it ripens. When it is ripe, it turns red. She also has the more common ornamental pepper plant which is a milder pepper. The fruit is yellow to red. Don’t forget a bouquet of fresh flowers to bring the colors of summer inside.
Breads, Pasta, Pastries, Meats and Egg
The Bread Basket introduced Tomato Basil bread which I found wonderfully light and hard to stop eating. The Chocolate Zucchini Bread and the Sunrise Coffee Cake are very good as well. How Sweet It Is! has berry pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and loaf breads of all types. Pick up a cinnamon bun or muffin to take home for breakfast. Joyce’s Greenhouse has sourwood honey which is great on the breads from either vendor.
Posh Pasta has added dumplings and lasagna noodles to her other bread, cakes and pasta. Heather of Posh Pasta will be doing a demonstration on August 15.
T&D Charolais Beef has a variety of cuts of top quality beef. Wild Turkey Farms has a number of cuts of pork as well as sausages. They have grass fed beef and chickens as well. The Bread Basket and Wild Turkey Farms also has fresh eggs.
Sue Davis is a Master Gardener Volunteer for the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.
The market is located in downtown Salisbury at the corner of South Main and Bank Streets. Hours are from 7 a.m. to noon each Wednesday and Saturday.