Sunday, July 26, 2009

Middle Of The Week Farmers Market!

So, thanks to the wonder that is Vacation Bible School, I got to make it out to the Ann Arbor Farmers market in the middle of the week this week!

Gorgeous eats this week - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to be had, everywhere you looked. Made me a little sad I was doing Farmers Market on a budget. :D The snow cone lady, who is a customary stop when I've got my two year old with me, had fresh blueberries with her this week. Between snow cones and blueberries, he would have been her best friend!

So I made a couple of my usual stops, and added in one new friend. When I get to the Farmers Market, I usually make a cruise through once, scope the sights, and then go back to the stuff that looked interesting.

Roos Roast

This was my first stop, the really cool people at Roos Roast coffee. They make free trade coffee, with funny names like "Lobster Butter Love" and "Rich French Neighbor". If you order in an area where it's possible to do so, they deliver your coffee on bike, and all their stands are set up off the grid. This is my first experience with the cool people at Roos Roast, but I hope to make it back to see them again!

Because I don't drink caffeine, I'm a bit of a tough coffee customer. Most places only have one coffee I can have, if even that. Wednesday was kind of a dippy, dreary day, and so Roos Roast was running a special that you could get a hot coffee for only $2.

The guy running the stand (who I learned later from their twitter was named Brian. Shout out to Brian!) forever earned a soft spot in my heart for a few reasons:

1)Not only that he had decaf (their decaf is called "Decalf". Hah!), but he acted shocked that I dared to think they wouldn't. And

2)He patiently allowed me to stand there while I doctored the coffee up. I'm a coffee doctorer, I admit it.

Like I've been saying this whole time - I love the people at Roos Roast! Smooth, mellow, delicious coffee. My cup was filled to the brim, and as I happily walked away, Brian told me if I needed any more ice (I got an iced coffee) or anything like that, to just pop on by, and he'd be happy to help me out. Shout out to the people at Roos Roast! I'll probably be back this week for another! :)

My next stop was my main man, one of the reasons I go to the Farmers Market at all - the Zingermans cheese guy. Aah, Zingermans. How do I love thee?

Zingermans Creamery

Zingermans Creamery hand makes fresh cheeses that they sell at Farmers Markets all through the area. They are always really good to you when you stop by their booth - they generally have a few cheeses out that you can sample to, and they are always ready with a recommendation if you want to try something new, like I did on Wednesday. I usually run in, get my City Goat, and split. I told the guy that I wanted something new, and he suggested the Sharon Hollow.

Sharon Hollow isn't totally new to me, I've had it before, but I wanted something different, so I was game. He said that they'd made a really good batch of cheese that day (yes, THAT day. I was buying cheese at 9 in the morning that had been made the same day. Hows that for service?!), and I had to try it.

Man, he wasn't kidding. Smooth, mellow, with a nice creamy flavor. Delicious! I got the Sharon Hollow rolled in chives, which was really good - every time you bit into a chive, it offered a little spike of peppery goodness to offset the creamy goodness from the cheese.

He's also quick to offer suggestions on how to use the cheese. I think he said that the ways he liked it the best were over a crusty baguette, or crumbled into a pasta salad. I won't lie - their cheese is so good, I just sit down with the cheese and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. :D

My last stop was the street cart of Pilar's Catering.

Pilar's Catering

I am a total convert to the ways of Pilar's. I made my first stop there a few months back, got just a order of plantains, came home, and went "I don't get it!", and kind of wrote it off.

Oooh, no, no, my friends! I had to get the whole deal!

The next time I went back, I got the "Farmer's Market Special", which is a tamale, a little salad, some rice and beans, the plantains, and a drink. Oh man. My life was changed forever!

They use everything as natural and organic as they can get it, and the recipes are really authentic - their website says they do "traditional Salvadorian cuisine", and their head chef, Chef Sylvia Nolasco-Rivers is from Salvador!

I've tried the Vegan Tempeh tamale, and the JalapeƱo and Cheese, and their both delicious. I'd actually be hard pressed to name a favorite! And the plantains, in the context of the entire meal, are fantastic! I wish I could figure out which of their salads listed on the website is the street cart salad, because it's a knock out.

And the hibiscus tea is delicious as well. It's an acquired taste - the first time I had it, I took my first swallow, and went "What is happening in my mouth right now?!", it was a little sweet, a touch tart, and had a little bit of a woody note on the back of my tounge.

By the last swallow, I was ready to get back in the car and drive back to Ann Arbor for more! Hibiscus tea is an acquired taste, but try it - you'll love it!

So here's to my tasty adventures at the Farmers Market! :) I met my son at Vacation Bible School, and we went out, and got ice cream! As you can tell, Wednesday was a very good day to be a foodie at my house! :D

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