A ROOT RAINBOW FROM THE WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET

Sunday was one of the days (there are many more – all the days of winter, actually qualify) when I am very grateful to live in a town with a vibrant winter famer’s market.  It is possible to be a well-fed locavore with the Dane County Farmer’s Market at hand.

My daughter was coming over for brunch, and I found a few beets in the back of a veggie bin in the fridge.  Beets are her favorite, so I decided to make a frittata around them for brunch.

...Who could live without their cast iron pan?

I don’t peel my beets.  If they look a little grungy, I just scrub them with a nylon-net-covered sponge and exfoliate the  outer layer then slice.  When I tossed them into the pan, their brilliant red bonded with the cut edges of the onions so vividly that I had to run for my camera.

...Almost to beautiful to eat -- almost.

That inspired my photo essay on the glories of winter roots on a sunny Sunday in  February.  Everything in this meal (except the olive oil ) – and if I hadn’t just run out of local sunflower oil, it could have been capital E EVERYTHING came from our local famers’ market.

While sautéing the onions and beets, I gave the taters a little head start in the microwave till they were al dente.  Then they went into the pan to get crispy edges.

...Taters from Butter Mountain.

Potatoes of several varieties from Butter Mountain and sweet potatoes from Don’s Produce.

Tom Brandtmeier, from whom I normally get my eggs was not there Saturday, so I got eggs from another vendor.  I miss the green and brown tones we usually enjoy, but really eggs are beautiful in any color.

Hook’s cheese is a staple in our diet.  Their 15-year-old cheddar recently hit the market with a splash.  We brought tiny wedges with us everywhere we went over the holidays, and swooned with friends over the intense flavor.   But their cheddars are also delicious at the tender age of 6 and 8 years, and find their way into the sandwiches we pack for lunch and add pizzazz melted on any frittata.

...Breakfast is ready!

I hope you had such a good breakfast, dear reader.  All that plant energy!  There is nothing better than root medley’s on winter days.  It provided the fuel Doug and I needed to cut and drag brush as we cleared our building site till it was almost too dark to see.

..Brush clearing on root power.

I dream of the day when farmers markets rather than “super” markets will be the backbone of our area’s food supply.   I dream of being part of that food supply.  Next weekend Doug and I will be going to our second Midwest Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse.  Full report to follow.

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6 replies

  1. I am not a huge beet fan but have to admit that a root medley for breakfast sounds perfectly brilliant. There is something so warm and comforting about root veggies in the winter. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for commenting, Tammy. Roots! Ya gotta love ’em. They come in so many amazing colors, and they all saute up wonderfully. It is one of my favorite little serendipities that nutritionalists now say that vivid color in food usually means high nutrient levels. Talk about win-win!

      One of the things I love about starting to eat more locally and seasonally is the dependence on roots in the winter — just when their starchy solidity hits the spot.
      Denise

  2. I love roots and squash, much more than salads. But my wife and I ran across the Dane Cty. Farmers’ Market one Saturday by accident some years back when we were visiting Madison for other reasons. Was I ever taken aback! I couldn’t believe the crowd or the huge range of foods available. Now, we grow much of our own food so we don’t buy much from our local farmers’ market (except for meats), but I agree that I would love to see a growth of local food infrastructures with lots of farm markets and CSAs and the like. We’d be a much sturdier country and less subject to being ripped off by some corporate citizens.

  3. Yes, the Dane County Farmers’ Market is on e of the wonders of the world to me. Especially because everything sold there has to be grown or made by the people selling it. it really connects buyers to the source.

    And the winter market has a completely different feel — small and folksy with wonderful smells floating out of the kitchen of the senior center where it is held. Each week a different one of our local “super star” chefs designs and oversees a meal made entirely of materials from the market. Volunteers cook and serve it.

    It’s a highlight of our week.
    Denise

  4. Denise,

    I made a root vegetable medley for dinner in the slow cooker with Farmers Market/Co-op finds this weekend. This winter market is quite nice, and a definite change of pace from the summer market. I really enjoy it.

    When you get a chance check out the project I’m developing for the spring – http://nicbitting.wordpress.com/ Yay urban farms.

    Nic

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