I've been wanting to go to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market for a couple of weeks. It's sort of an off time of year to go - they are open year round, but in Michigan in April, there's not much that's in season. So it was some herbs and flowers, and just a few other things. Lots of apples and apple cidar, which seemed strange, because it doesn't seem like this was really the time of year for that.
At any rate, after taking forever to find a parking spot, we parked, and hiked across the street. I decided that I was going to take the tact of starting at the back, and working toward the door, so that's what we did.
One of our first stops was the Sansonetti Gourmet Foods booth. I have to give major shout outs to these people, because that guy was really cool. They are a locally owned business, headquatered in Holly, Michigan, which is about an hour north of here. They mainly do sauces - they have Michigan Maple BBQ sauce, Hot Sauce, two kinds of spaghetti sauce, and a curry mustard, which he told me was especially designed to go with Kogel Hot Dogs. Which made me laugh, because that's the mark of being a Michigan company - to most of the world, the phrase "Kogel Hot Dogs" means nothing. In Michigan, that's big business!
So he let me sample a little bit of everything. The Michigan Maple BBQ sauce is delicious - thick and rich, but not overpowering, and I didn't taste any pepper, or anything that would change the flavor that they were going for. The Hot Sauce I was impressed by as well. Most hot sauces have a vinegar base, and so you just get a really kicked up vinegar. Theirs, you taste, and you really get true, red pepper kick. One of the spaghetti sauces, and the name of it is escaping me right now, is really delicious. It's a spicy sauce, and he uses FOUR different kind of peppers, to get a really even flavor, and it's really great stuff.
There was a bit of confusion with the guy, which is why I'm giving them such a strong shout out. I got the Michigan Apple Glaze, which is good stuff - it's got the feel in your mouth of BBQ sauce, but has a delicious taste of fresh apples. When I was standing there talking to him, I realize that their product looks so familiar to me because they carry them in my grocery store, which I told him. He thought I meant that I worked at the store, and was like "Ooh, if you work at a store that carries our stuff, I'll give you a deal!", and he gave me a dollar off. D'oh! So I was honest, and it eventually came out that I didn't work there. Still, I felt so bad, I wanted to give him the dollar back.
Yes, I am considering buying the Curry Mustard and some Kogel Hot Dogs when I go to the store tonight. I'm just saying - the mustard was really good!
The jar of apple glaze. It says it goes well with fruits, and even that you can mix it with a little vinegar and oil, and have a nice salad dressing. Guess who is sales pitching Kogel Hot Dogs and grilled fruit for dinner tonight?!
My next stop was the Zingerman's Creamery booth. Not to be confused with Zingerman's Deli or Zingerman's Bakery, all of which are headquatered in Ann Arbor, and appear to have no connections to each other.
Zingermans does all of their cheese work themselves, and can I tell you, it's amazing stuff? They give free samples if you stop by their booth, and I tried a bit of the mozzarella and a bit of goat cheese. The Mozzarella is all hand made and mixed, and packaged by hand. It's smooth, and creamy and delicious.
The goat cheese is also packaged by hand. I know alot of people don't care for goat cheese because of the strong flavor, but those people have never had fresh! It's soft, creamy, has a really nice, mild flavor. Goes well with everything! :) I got the roasted red pepper, and the guy working the booth recommended using it in pasta salad, but I just sliced it up and put it on crackers. I couldn't help but wonder how well it would go on a bagel with a little smoked salmon, though. You'll probably be reading the results of that experiment later. :)
The gorgeousness that is Zingermans fresh goat cheese. It also comes in regular, Rosemary, and cracked black pepper. And I can tell you - the only one I haven't tried is the cracked black pepper, but if it's as good as the others? I'm so there! :)
Back to the front of the market, we found a biscotti booth. Gorgeous flavors, smelled so delicious. I settled down on the Mint Chip, and we went merrily on our way.
Honestly, I'm a little ambivalent about it. It wasn't knock me down fantastic - for as much mint as I had smelled, I kind of expected to taste more in it. It seemed just neutral. Of course, I suppose I'm being too tough on it. I mean, it's not like there's many ways to revolutionize the biscotti, you know? It's sort of is what it is. The both did by far and away have the most diverse range of flavors I've ever seen!
The biscotti. You can see the chocolate running through it. I've only tried to make biscotti once, but it did not look like that!
Nearly to the door, we found something fantastic - a snow cone booth! Oh, come on - it's not high food culture, but who isn't excited by a snow cone?! I'm waiting for my order, and I'm all kinds of excited, because I haven't had a snow cone in years, and James has never had one. And the lady is kind of getting excited, because she sees how excited I am, and I'm like "James! Check it out! A snow cone!"
And he's looking at this cup, and I'm sure thinking "Check it out! My moms finally gone crazy!"
But we pay our dollar, thank the lady, and wheel around the corner to enjoy our treat.
The syrups she used were actually nicer then I remember a snow cone being - it wasn't "Make my teeth hurt" sweet, but it tasted like candy, just the same.
I don't have any pictures of the snow cone, but suffice it to say...
...it was delicious!