Sun 11 Oct 2009
The Memphis Farmers Market closes at the end of October. It’s fascinating to observe, over six months, how the produce changes as Spring turns into Summer and Summer into Fall. Yesterday, one of the biggest purveyors of tomatoes had none, and peas and beans are almost gone, but all of a sudden turnips and kale and bushels of colorful peppers, hot or sweet, are all over the place.
The very cute apple is one of a wide bowlful of apples and pears we bought yesterday. I’ll probably make a clafouti with the pears, and depending on how tart the apples are, well, I don’t know, maybe just eat them. One of the gratifying points about buying fruit at the MFM is that it isn’t all perfect, gussied-up and polished the way fruit is at the supermarket, as if apples and pears and peaches had gone through some mutating perfection process, so they gleam under the lights as if they were starlets on the red carpet. No, these apples and pears bear the marks of variation and individuality; no Stepford Fruit here.
We couldn’t resist buying bags of peppers. At one stand, they were two for a dollar, at another stand, three for a dollar, so we loaded up. Some of the smaller peppers and those baby eggplant (trimmed and broiled with olive oil, salt and pepper) you see in the image went on the pizza I made last night, along with an onion, and tomatoes and a passel of basil and some feta cheese, all from the MFM. The peppers also look really pretty in this bowl, sitting on the counter. I’ll use more in salads this week, and surely some will find their way into a pasta dish of LL’s invention.
I’ll admit that some Saturday mornings, I think, “Oh rats, do we have to drive downtown again this week?” Once we get there, however, it’s always fun browsing the stands, seeing friends, as we inevitably do, and buying produce, meat and seafood — driven up from the Gulf of Mexico the previous night — with the prospect of great meals to come. The fact that at the end of this month the MFM will close until next April is a sign that the growing season, with its waves of successive fruit and vegetables, is also at a close, and that the bounty of the last harvests will be followed by Winter’s dearth.