By Sayward Rebhal, Networx
Can you hear that? Itís the sound of the world waking up. Itís the sound of springtime, and boy howdy friends, does it sound fantastic.
Spring is all about curbside daffodils, warm and friendly drizzling rain on the concrete, birdsong and baby squirrels, opening windows and airing out the winter musties. Spring is such a hopeful time of year!
And perhaps my very favorite sign of the changing season, is the start of the farmerís market. Spring means fresh food again: the tender greens and the precious asparagus, lazily leading into strawberry season … which means all-the-other-berries season is right around the corner. Before you know it, there will be heirloom tomatoes and juicy peaches, and just when youíre starting to feel overheated, the weather will shift again and the greens will return for their second showing. That will mean the glorious gourd days are right around the corner, with butternuts, acorns, and kabocha. Pumpkins everywhere, slowly dwindling down each week, until thereís nothing left on the market tables but a few potatoes and artisanal food products like jam, honey and breads. If you are lucky enough to live nearby it, the Red Rock Springs Farmer’s Market, which was started by a Phoenix electrician, sells artisanal hot sauce and salsa.† And so it comes full circle.
Are you excited yet? Market season is upon us, so Iím sharing my best tips for making the most of your experience. In no particular order:
1. Buy in season and save.
Itís always cheaper (and tastier) to buy food at the peak of its season. For example right now, in May, I can get organic tomatoes at the supermarket for double (or more) what Iíll pay at the farmerís market in August. The problem, of course, is that we donít just want to eat tomatoes in August! We want them year-round, and so we must learn to preserve them (and everything else along with them).
You can preserve by freezing (wash and chop first!), canning, fermenting, and drying/dehydrating. Different techniques lend themselves best to different foods. There are tons of tutorials all over the internet, so get your Google on and have fun with it!