a saturday routine

30 Aug

We were in Seattle this past weekend and it was awesome. I loved everything about it and would highly recommend a trip there. I’ll be doing a full recap of our trip – which shockingly centered around food – in the next week, but what I want to write about first is my normal Saturday routine.  Why did I even tell you that I was in Seattle? Because although I loved our trip, I am always bummed when I’m not home on Saturdays to enjoy my weekly ritual. Do you know what I mean?

Since mid-May, my Saturday mornings have involved three of my favorite things: great friends, running and farmer’s markets.  Let me break it down for you.

I head down to the Mill City Farmer’s Market at 7:15 a.m. (yes, you read that right) to meet these awesome people who are also willing to get up at the butt crack of dawn on a Saturday for the sole purpose of running and farmer’s marketing.

Willa, Silvya and Jose Ygnacio

I’m so lucky to have found other crazies. :)

We usually run between 3 or 4 miles depending on the day and if we are training for something specific.  It is a beautiful area to run.

After our  awesome run, it’s time for the market.

We have a very strategic way of shopping and it’s not very often we deviate from the plan. Would you like to join me through our strategic trip through the market? Come along!

The most important stop is the first one…

Coffee! We stop at Cafe Palmira for either hot or iced depending on the weather and how the run went. I buy beans for the house here as well. The coffee is great!

The next step is to do a walk through. We scope out the whole market before making any decisions on purchases. Over the summer, we did tend to frequent the same vendors. Here are some of our favorites.

Prairie Hollow Farm

In the spring, I bought multiple pounds of asparagus plus great berries and morel mushrooms here. This week they had grapes! They also make their own cheeses and breads that are delicious.

Sunrise Flour Mill

I love this place. It was their whole wheat flour that made me a successful bread baker – I swear. They also have oatmeal, pancake mix, wheat berries and a whole variety of flours. This particular day I bought a course rye flour to make pumpernickel bread. I can’t wait to try it.

Shepard’s Way Farms

These guys know their cheese. They’ve received a number of awards and they are well deserved. My favorites are the big woods blue (perfect for black and blue bean burgers) and the hidden falls, which is similar to the consistency of a brie and it’s amazing on just about anything.  They also sell merguez sausages (yum), heritage broilers, and a number of wool products. The story of the farm is fascinating and it includes a devastating fire back in 2005. I really encourage you to check out their web site and more importantly – visit them at the Market. Steven is a great guy and is passionate about the farm.  They also have a cheese CSA if you’re a major cheese lover.

Very Prairie

These guys take the cake for eye appeal. I love how all of their products look – homemade marshmallows, graham crackers, pies, granola – I want to take it all home. What I do take home almost every week is the fresh chevre cheese. It is just the best goat cheese I’ve laid my hands on yet. It’s soft and spreadable and perfect in eggs, on toast or crackers with jam and superb with apricot mostarda. Silvya and Jose are now chevre crazy as well.

Loon Organics

Some of the best produce in the market and it’s always displayed beautifully.

They have great greens, spring turnips, zucchini, cucumbers – you name it, they probably have it and it will no doubt be delicious.

The frying peppers are my new love – they are sweet and crunchy and everyone is a different funky shape.

So, there is my peak at the Mill City Farmer’s Market. This does not even cover all the wonderful things they have there including the Chef Shack which was recently in bon appetit! How awesome is that? I had their tongue tacos last year and liked them. Yep, that’s right…tongue tacos.

So, you might think my Saturday morning is over at this point, but nope. I have more to go. See, I can’t just go to one farmer’s market. I must go to two!

Next up: Midtown Farmer’s Market.

Why do I got to this one too? Well, I like them for different reasons.

I love the location of Mill City and gorgeous backdrop it gives me. They also have some specialty items (like the cheeses and grains and everything I mentioned above) that I can’t find at Midtown.

I love Midtown because of the homey feel I get when I’m there. It’s a little more laid back and their vegetables tend to be a bit cheaper.

Here are my favorite stops at Midtown.

Fire Roast Mountain Cafe

Brette loves their scones and I get him one every Saturday (I’ve always believed a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach). Somehow a little chunk of that scone is missing by the time I get home. Maybe there is a mouse in my car? They always have a a couple different types of scones and they like to mix it up. I dig that about them.

They also have great coffee, other pastries (all made with real ingredients…like butter) and tamales.

Pflaum Farms

Julie might be the hardest working person I see at the market. She has a huge stand and runs it on her own. She always has about three things going on at once but never forgets a thing – and she’s always happy to see you and wants to know how you are.

Oh, and her produce is awesome. I’ve never been disappointed. I’m super excited that winter squash will be coming in soon. She has a lot of variety and they are so dang tasty.

Straight River Farms

Then there’s this guy.

This guy is my buddy. He’s honest, has good product and likes to shoot the shit. And he gives samples. I dig that.

In the spring, his strawberries are fantastic. Right now, he’s got the best melons in town (hardy har har), and fantastic sweet corn. He’s also my favorite guy to get apples from. This weekend he had some zestars and I’m guessing more varieties will be starting soon. He takes a lot of my money come apple season. I just can’t stop!

He will tell you everything you want to know (and more) about what he’s selling. I have learned so much about sweet corn and apples from this guy – I’m practically ready to be a commentator on Iron Chef America!

These are my favorites at Midtown – though there are many other great spots. I do really miss my favorite bread guy, but I’ve been visiting Bread, Coffee and Cake at Mill City on occasion (their whole wheat cinnamon raisin is like crack) and have really enjoyed their bread. I really need to start making more of my own, but baking in 95 degree heat is not at the top of my list.

So, that’s it. That is my Saturday ritual. I love it. I get sad when it doesn’t happen. I will be sad come October when the markets close and will likely start counting the days until May when things start up again. That’s how it goes here in Minnesota. I’m not going to that sad place yet. I still have plenty of Saturdays to enjoy.

Do you have a weekly ritual that you look forward to?


4 Responses to “a saturday routine”

  1. anne August 31, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    PLEASE bring me along to the markets some Saturday. (I’ll skip the run though.)


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