Freshness is king at the farmers’ market

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2016

By Deirdre Parker Smith

It was a chilly start for the Salisbury/Rowan Farmers Market, but the regulars were there — customers and vendors, all smiling and happy that the opening day had finally come.

A few vendors were not there, because they are waiting for their own harvests. Still, there was plenty to choose from, ranging from plants to meat, and including soap, bird houses and dog treats.

Correll Farms, Lee’s Fresh Flowers and Vegetables and Two Pigs Farms had loads of bright green temptations.

Correll had asparagus, two kinds of kale, Napa cabbage, lettuces galore, spring onions and some plants, along with other greenery. Lee had gorgeous purple iris, along with green garlic, bok choy, pea shoots and radishes, to name a few items.

Two Pigs had eggs, meat, alpaca wool products and a big bin of spinach, along with other spring greens. The spinach was popular.

Thomas Family Farms, a new vendor from Richfield, brought pork, including sausage, and promised to have beef soon. Their booth got quite a few visitors.

One vendor had flowers, herbs and vegetable plants. Hutchens Homestead just had eggs for the first day — some of them turkey eggs. They name all their chickens, with names from movies 8-year-olds might watch, including Nemo. They have 15 turkeys in need of names, too, and suggestions were accepted.

Kristine Turco had her usual selection of pound cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies and a special dessert featuring raspberries and red velvet cake.

Miller Farm had boxes of juicy red strawberries and some lettuce and vegetable plants. The strawberries moved quickly.

Fading D Farms was back at the market, now with their fresh water buffalo cheese. The DiLoretos generously offered samples of all the cheese, ranging from the garlic dill pograsso to a tangy sapore, along with mild cheeses. The pograsso came plain or flavored with blueberry or garlic and dill. They also had water buffalo meat, ground and steaks, as well as a couple other cuts. Barbara Sorel was enjoying a tasting and learning about the cheese early Saturday.

Tyler and David DiLoreto explained what she was tasting and some of how the cheese is made.

McCombs was back with pimento cheese, slaw and other products, too.

Both Treehouse Soaps and the Soap Shack were back with multiple scents and products. The Soap Shack has added things like Goats Milk Laundry Soap and Bubble Crumble, for bubble baths.

Joyce Bittner creates JB’s Dog Treats, using whole wheat flour, quick oats and peanut butter, and they come in all sizes.

Upsidedown Farms were back but without mushrooms. The dry spring has hurt production, but they have begun watering the logs where the mushrooms grow in hopes of producing a crop. Paula and Ron Herion had birdhouses, corn hole sets and various sized bags on the first day.

ReWorked had several cute recycled crafts, candle holders, a basket made from old jeans and a framed “pocket for you desk,” which could hold pens, glasses, thumb drives.

And OBX Seafood was back at the market, after a winter on Innes Street. A shrimp special was popular.

So there was plenty of food to inspire ideas for lunch and dinner. All the lettuces will be delicious in salads. The greens make hearty side dishes. The cabbages and bok choy are good cooked or raw, and that precious asparagus just cries out for a little lemon juice and butter. Feature pork, water buffalo or a guinea hen, add some rolls and put out a big bowl of strawberries for dessert — aww, perfection.

This is an easy, springy recipe for shrimp and spinach, done in minutes.

Shrimp and Spinach Sauté

• 1 pound peeled or unpeeled shrimp
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
• 4 cups spinach
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel shrimp and devein, if necessary.

2. Sauté shrimp and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp from skillet; keep warm.

3. Add chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and red pepper to skillet, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add spinach, and cook 2 minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Stir in shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Strawberries and Blueberry Pograsso Sauce

• 1 quart strawberries

• Sugar, to taste

• 2 ounces blueberry pograsso cheese from Fading D Farms

• 3-4 Tbsp. cream

Cut off the top of the strawberries and slice. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Blend cream into cheese to thin it. Serve strawberries in bowls with some of the blueberry mixture on top.

If you don’t have the pograsso, use cream cheese, either blueberry flavored or plain.