Dear Reader, as you may guess, I love farmers' markets. There is not a lot of opportunity to get to know all the people who produce our food, so I feel when the farmers come to town, I want to take the time to schmooze and taste and see what they have in those big coolers under the table. It's usually worth it.
My companion and I reached the Brattleboro Winter Farmers' Market a little bit after noon on Saturday and were met with a comfortable scene in the River Garden. We immediately headed to the back to see the prepared foods and were met with a couple very tasty choices. One thing that impressed me right away was the minimum of paper and plastic - people were having lunch with reusable bowls and plates, spoons and forks. My delight increased!
Soon our little cafe table was crowded with dishes and we were eager to taste - Thai Hut and Cai's Dim Sum provided a nice variety of dishes for us, so we relaxed and listened to the live music while we scarfed the peanut sauce. I was impressed that Cai's took the time to list the locally sourced ingredients in their offerings. I like local food!
Once I was no longer famished, I was ready to browse the tables to see what was on offer. The goat table had a cheese board that my companion had just sampled and wanted me to see. As I was looking, the wise and generous person behind the table asked if I would like to try the goat stew. I had the knee jerk reaction that most of us have when we are offered a meat we've never tasted, and so she gently loaded a teensy spoon and held it out, beckoning me into new territory. Just as I guessed, it tasted much like lamb, and due to the expertly combined veggies and savory herbs it was delicious! I want more! Luckily now I know where to get it.
Cruising further up the aisle I encountered the brightly colored Vermont Quince table and proceeded to taste all things quince, which I find difficult to describe. It needs more study. Pass the chutney, please! There are experiments underway with currants, so I tried to be as encouraging as possible after trying a sample that was divine. I came away with an orange red vinegar, which I can imagine will dress some field greens beautifully, the chutney and the quince paste. I want to sprinkle and schmeer them over everything right now, but I'll probably calm down. I'm seeing a blog post about quince looming in the future, and Vermont Quince in the starring role. They are creating this world of quince goodness in Newfane, just down the road.
The best part is that I get to go back to the market every week and try more. And in the spring the market will move back outside with more vendors! There were a couple dozen tables I didn't even cruise. And at least that many farmers and food producers that I haven't met yet!