There are so many things to love about summer: sunny days at the pool, vacations, cook-outs, gardening and family gatherings to name a few. Summer is also the time for one of the Buds' favorite shopping venues - farmers' markets.
Last week, the Buds made their first trip of the season to the Wheeling Farmers' Market which began on May 31 and will run through October. The event is held at St. Michael Parish parking lot, 1225 National Rd., Wheeling, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Beginning July 2 through October, they will also have a market day on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. held at the Ben Franklin parking lot at the Elm Terrace Shopping Center. The markets feature fresh picked fruits and vegetables in season, all grown within 40 miles of Wheeling, fresh baked goods, crafters and more. The Buds were anxious to see what the vendors had to offer!
Green Ridge Farm,
Green Ridge Farm brought along a HUGE selection of homemade breads including their famous English muffin bread, country white , wheat, 7-grain, cinnamon swirl with and without raisins, Challah and Italian. They also had maple cinnamon rolls and both white and wheat pepperoni rolls. All baked items ranged from 3 to 5 dollars. Later in the summer Green Ridge plans to also sell potatoes, green beans, pumpkins and popcorn.
Bud Em picked up a loaf of the English muffin bread, which she's had several times in the past and - It. Is. Amazing! Dense and flavorful, pop this in the toaster and you have one heck of a delicious snack served plain, topped with butter and jam or for sandwiches - it's one of the tastiest four bucks you could spend!
Bud Shaunna picked up one of the maple cinnamon rolls and it turned out to be a great choice. The dough was soft and the maple gave it a great taste - those famous cinnamon roll makers have nothing on this homemade goodness. It was so good, Bud S. saved nary a bite for Bud Hubby. Oops - better luck next time Bud H.!
A peanut allergy lead to the creation of granola by Granola Girls, two pint-sized entrepreneurs who sure know how to pitch a sale.
With store-bought granola out of the question, this family came up with a recipe for the snack that is out of this world. These gals got their hooks in the unassuming Buds via the "free sample" and it was a done deal from there. One taste and Bud Em had to purchase a bag of their Fruity Pie granola. Loaded with oats and dried fruits, the sweet and salty snack was $5 of pure happiness. They also make Irish soda bread which the Buds will be sure to try in the future.
Half Acre Eden
This vendor brought along a huge selection of jams, herbs and lettuces. They had hot pepper jam, blueberry cherry jam, strawberry and more. Herbs included healthy bunches of cilantro, oregano, curly parsley, thyme, dill, lemon verbena, Italian parsley, mint, lemon balm, bronze fennel, chives, orange tarragon and sorrel. Red romaine lettuce was also available.
Bud Em snatched a jar of the Lavender Peach Jam which rang in at $4.50. The jam perfectly blended the distinct flavor of lavender and the sweetness of ripe peaches. Unique and delicious, it was the perfect thing to spread on the previously mentioned English muffin bread.
Bud S. grabbed a bunch of the red romaine and enjoyed it later served with a grilled chicken breast. Yum!
Kathy's Kountry Oven
If you were in the market for delectable baked goods, then you didn't want to miss out on this vendor! She brought along a wide variety of pies including apple, blackberry, red raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb and sugar free apple. Breads included cream cheese zucchini bread, blueberry bread, Amish friendship bread, polish poundcake, pumpkin, chocolate zucchini and coffee cake.
If that wasn't enough to get your sweet tooth going, you could also pick up some nut rolls, Rice Crispy treats, or cookies like M&M, oatmeal raisin or Bud S.'s personal favorite, the 7-layer bar. Dumplings were also available.
This vendor offered a great selection of organic lettuces - and the Buds just LOVE their salads! Varieties includes spinach, butterhead, bibb, endive, romaine, oak leaf, sorrel and an "organic mix" of several of these varieties. In addition to the lettuces, a wide range of fresh herbs were also available, including spearmint, parsley, dill, collards and tatsoi (a Chinese spinach).
Patrons could also purchase free range eggs, zucchini, kohlrabi, radishes, rhubarb and green shallots. Bud Shaunna picked out a bunch of fresh radishes and diced them up in summer salad with cucumber and fresh dill. Delish!
Bluebird Farm also sold a variety of breads made by the Woodstreet Bread Company (including kalamata olive, jalapeno cheddar, six-grain and deli rye) and breads made by Herbold Farm (oatmeal molasses, chardonnay apricot pecan and basic sunflower seed.)
Elaine's Kitchen was serving up some tasty-looking baked goods. There were tons of breads like Polish poundcake and double chocolate zucchini, as well as a number of fresh fruit pies, spinach pies, biscotti and gigantic cinnamon rolls. As the Buds were browsing, another patron stopped by and snagged some biscotti and cinnamon rolls while remarking that they were the best around.
Bud S. grabbed a spinach pie, and it turned out to be a great pick up! The dough was soft and flavorful, and the spinach filling had a nice hint of dill, making the flavor out of this world. Next time the Buds will have to try some of those cinnamon rolls!
Stout's Country Greenhouse
Stout's Country Greenhouse had just about every colorful hanging basket you could imagine full of geraniums and petunias, just to name a few, as well as a variety of potted veggie plants for your backyard garden including tomato, hot banana pepper and jalapeno. If the Bud S. hadn't already squared off and filled the tiny deer-resistant area on her back deck, she would have most certainly added one of these pepper plants to the mix.
And, this, folks, is just the START of farmers' market season. We can't wait to see what the rest of the season brings in fresh produce and baked goods to the Valley.
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader online.com.