So I am at the farmer’s market this morning, as I always am on Saturdays. I am absolutely astonished this time of year seeing people in supermarkets buying produce, especially tomatoes. Why, or why?
I have an established routine. First, I get my warm doughnut at Old World Doughnut Emporium. Then I make the rounds of the entire market to see what looks good and who is selling it the cheapest. Then I head over to West Wind Farms for my sausage. Sometimes I buy other things. Their chicken wings are the best. But always sausage. Today it was Sweet Italian and Hot Sage. And there is Ralph, the farmer, fiddling with something attached to his phone. Normally, to pay I just sign my name in a receipt book. Today, they want to run my credit card on his phone! There he is, in the white shirt, running an order. You swipe the card on a little thingie attached to the phone. You sign with your finger. That my signature resembled that of a 5-year-old seemed not to matter. West Winds was pretty high tech already. They have a knock-out website, from which they conduct e-commerce. You can follow them on Facebook.
My next stop is my egg guy, James Gardner. James is decidedly old school. West Wind has a fancy truck and a beautiful banner featuring their cows. James has a hand-painted sign, Gardner Grove. There is no e-commerce. James doesn’t even have a website. But I like his eggs and he gives me 25 cents off if I return the carton from the last batch. One Saturday last winter, on a 12-degree morning, I was at winter market and I asked him why he was there on such a frigid morning. “The chickens keep laying,” he said matter of factly. James sells other things, produce and organic meat. But, to me, he’s the egg guy.
A couple of nights ago I made supper and it occurred to me that everything on the plate was from the farmer’s market and that each component featured only two or three ingredients each. You don’t need much embellishment when you’re starting with perfection.
So here’s what we had and here’s how it was prepared. Fried chicken from West Wind Farms: Dredged in flour mixed with dried ranch dressing mix. Fried in lard from my lard guy in Atlanta. Okra: Mark’s family recipe is soak it in milk and cover it with cornmeal. Salt and pepper. Fried in the same lard I did the chicken in. You do not want to waste good lard. Fried cabbage: Cut into ribbons and sauteed with butter, salt and pepper.
Please do not get on me about frying everything. It is the summer, people. And the most fortunate of us are living in the South. All of you who want to broil fish and serve it with quinoa need to just get over it.