Farmer’s Market Haul

I have always loved the *idea* of going to the farmer’s market early on Saturday morning to get fresh produce and eggs.  The reality, however, is more difficult.  Working full time, my mornings at home are extremely precious to me.  I love that first cup of coffee at home with my husband.


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Fresh eggs, yellow, orange, and red carrots, leaf lettuce, asparagus, and what appears to be an avocado, but most definitely is NOT.  More on that later.

This may be starting to edge out sleeping in.  Maybe we can create a new tradition of having our first cup of coffee in the car on the way to the farmers market.  LOL.

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Fresh low-temp pasteurized milk.

And this milk- holy cow!  For real, ha!  It’s my first experience with milk that separates into cream on top.  You just give it a shake before drinking.  It is the most amazing milk I’ve ever tasted.  I’m not a huge milk drinker, but several times this week, I’ve poured myself a cup.


I like several things about going to the farmer’s market.  The freshness of the produce is unbelievable.  The asparagus I bought was literally picked less than 24 hours before I bought it.  And the carrots.  Last time I bought these carrots and roasted them, I craved them and thought about them and wanted them again.  They were so flavorful!  This time, I couldn’t wait to get them home to roast them.  Then I proceeded to pick them off the pan like candy every time I walked past.Farmers Market Produce1

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Beautiful eggs!

The eggs have the most golden yolk.  My husband can tell you, I’m quite the egg snob now.  My son’s best friend has chickens at his house, and the best is getting those eggs.  They are really fresh -and free!- every now and then when I’m lucky enough to get some.  The farmer’s market eggs are just like those.  The yolks are firm and golden.  If you cracked an egg, I could tell you if the chicken was actually pastured or not.  When you are shopping at the store, always buy pastured eggs if possible.

Cage free doesn’t mean the gloriously open grassy areas that the word tries to conjure.  In reality, cage free chickens live on a concrete warehouse-style floor with a small chicken door on one side that the chickens could theoretically use to go out onto a small square of dirt.  If they knew it existed.  And if they could get past all the other chickens to go out.

Pastured eggs are the way to go for sure.  The chickens get to peck around in the grass and eat little bugs with their feed, which is what they should do.  Chickens are not vegetarian, so vegetarian fed chicken eggs aren’t a good thing, either.  Healthy chickens produce the best eggs, and it’s really the only kind of egg I feel good about eating.  I want a chicken to live a good life and not suffer over much for me to have the eggs.  Happy chickens, right Timmy?

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NOT a chicken egg.

Speaking of eggs, this adventure in food is actually an emu egg!  Look at the size of it compared to the standard chicken eggs.  It really was quite a novelty and produced a lovely frittata.  Be looking for more on that in a future post!

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Look at those colors!

The other thing I love about shopping at the farmer’s market is the absence of so much packaging.  My poor husband has to put up with me griping about unnecessary packaging at the store all the time.  I hate the flimsy plastic bags that I’m supposed to put produce in.  I use them, but I hate them and feel guilty all the time.  Not only that, but packaging that goes above and beyond, like a pack of four potatoes on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic.  I don’t need my potatoes in plastic.  I can pick them out of a bin just fine, thank you very much!  My mom will be familiar with these gripes of mine as well.  We went to Costco and I just about croaked at the large plastic clamshell containers that the apples come in.  The apples tasted good, but it seemed like such a ridiculous waste to have all those containers.  Sorry, mom!

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Roasted Carrot and Green Leaf Lettuce Salad

It baffles me that we have lettuce trucked in from California when there’s great organic lettuce that is grown here!  So yeah, I may be getting a little picky about my food.  Or maybe I’m just starting to see that I have real options apart from relying on industrial agribusiness.  Supporting the farmers at the market makes me happy.  Fresh.  Local.  Low waste.  Yum!


Gorgeous Purple Sauerkraut

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Let’s just all pause for a moment to admire that vibrant purple color.

That color came about by accident.  I went with my friend, Tara, (the one I met at sourdough bread class, remember?) to HEB the other day.  We were on the hunt for some green cabbage to make homemade sauerkraut.

I should probably back up a little bit and fill you guys in.  My hubby and I were actually camping for a few days in Georgetown, TX.  It’s really ideal, because he works in Georgetown, so after work he comes home to the camper.  That leaves me all day to myself, which I have to admit is quite a treat.  After one day of luxury to myself I decided I wanted some company.  I called Tara to see if she wanted to come down from Killeen and make a day of it.  We had a vague plan to make something together.

So there we are at HEB and wouldn’t you know- they are OUT of cabbage.  When is there a run on cabbage EVER, am I right?  The only kind they had left was some purple cabbage.  Tara said it would work fine, so we continued with our plan to make sauerkraut.  We nosed around and bought other things and returned to my camper to get to work.

The first step in making sauerkraut is to chop the cabbage and put it into a large container.  My slices were  a little thick, which makes the cabbage a little crunchier.  I love it, but my hubby likes it a little less crunchy, so I’ll try thin slices next time.  So, slice according to your taste!

Add about a teaspoon of salt.  Then, you essentially bash the shit out of it for 10 minutes.  Seriously.  The most appropriate tool I had while camping was a mason jar filled with water to add more heft.

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I love the color already!

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Take turns with a friend so your arm doesn’t get tired.

The smashing helps release the natural water inside the cabbage.  After a good ten minutes or so, it’s time to transfer the sauerkraut into a smaller container.  This part amazed me- Tara kept adding the cabbage to my empty yogurt container and pressing it down and adding more and pressing it down.  I thought several times that there was no way she’d get it all to fit in there, but she did!

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Here you can see the natural cabbage water rising to the top.

Press down super hard on the cabbage until the natural water covers the cabbage.  Leave the weighted jar on top of the cabbage and set it aside for 5-7 days.  There’s really no rule on how long to leave it, just leave it until it gets the taste you like!

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See the bubbles forming on the container and the jar?  That’s what you want.

I wiped the bubbles away from the edge of the container every few days.  Because my cabbage is purple, the bubbles were a little bit brown and gross looking.  If you look carefully on the edge of the container below, you can see some of the residue still on the edge.  But the bubbles are a good sign.  It means the magic of fermentation is happening!

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See the left side with brown residue- eww.  Totally normal and not a bad sign, though.

I let my sauerkraut sit for 6 days and I love it!  It has just enough tang and crunch, plus it looks so beautiful!  I think from now on, I’ll always make purple sauerkraut.  It’s just so gorgeous, I can’t resist. And the colors you see in the photo are true to life, I didn’t edit them or pump them up at all with photo software- nature at its best!


  • Servings: lots
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 head cabbage

1 teaspoon salt


Thinly slice your cabbage and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salt on the cabbage and mix up. Smash the cabbage for 10 minutes using something that has weight. You can use a clean can of soup, or a meat mallet, or do what I did and use a mason jar filled with water. Press the cabbage and the resulting water into a smaller container and really pack it in tight. Using the jar, press down hard until the natural water rises to the top and the cabbage is submerged. Set aside for 5-7 days or more, wiping any excess foam from around the edges. Remove the jar, wipe down the container, and pop a lid on it. You can refrigerate and enjoy- no need to rinse or anything!

My first loaf!

Well, I have to say, my first loaf is actually edible!  I was nervous pulling out my starter and feeding it and then forming my first loaf at home.  But I really really wanted more cinnamon raisin bread- I was determined!


Isn’t it pretty?!

It turned out really dense and smaller than the one in class, and I’m thinking that might be because it was unsifted whole grain flour.   In class, we used lightly sifted whole grain flour.  It was heavy as a brick, but very tasty!


Crumb shot

I was happy to achieve the flakiness of our loaf in class, and you can see the clearly delineated swirl of cinnamon, which makes me happy.  Next time, I will use even more cinnamon.  And please don’t make too much fun of the date stamp in the picture.  God knows what setting I had pressed to get that to show up.  And of course, I don’t know the editing software good enough to remove it yet…  It’s a learning process, people!

Overall, I’m proud of how the first loaf went at home!  I did have some realizations.  One, working on a cold granite counter top may not be the best surface for making bread.  Sigh. I guess I’ll have to get an extra large wood cutting board.  Second, don’t start making a loaf of bread at 8 pm.  I KNEW I’d be up very late finishing it and I was determined to have my fresh bread for the morning.  But next time I’m really going to try to start earlier!


Before the first rise.


About to go in the oven (at 11:45pm).

I ended up baking it for abour 45 minutes, which was longer than I thought it might take, but ended up being perfect.  That means that I took the loaf out of the oven at about 12:30 and by the time I was able to fall asleep it was almost 1 am.  But the payoff!


The best part- breakfast the next morning!