AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: The Central Square Farmers' Market DATE: 6/10/2008 08:26:00 AM ----- BODY:
A visit to the Central Square farmers' market shows that my garden is right on cue with local farmers. The lettuces are winding down, and there really is not much else. After many years of going to this market, I’ve come to recognize the usual vendors. Many were missing this week, (most notably Steve Parker who I’ve known for years because he sells to local restaurants) probably because they don’t have much to sell yet.

The farmers that were there primarily offered seedlings and lettuces. Seedlings are perfect for those who have not yet had a chance to plant vegetables in their own gardens. The tomato plants are vibrant and full, the herbs billowy and aromatic, and lettuces sprouting a few leaves. Wait… lettuces??? After all this heat, I was surprised to see farms even suggesting that we should start growing the cool weather plant. I questioned this… the gal from Kimball farm says they plant new lettuce seeds every 5 – 10 days. This makes sense: The standard method of harvesting lettuces, “cut-and-come-again,” does not work in this heat, necessitates successive planting if you want a steady supply throughout the summer.

One farm was selling hot-house tomatoes, but I’m still not buying. Though this betters the California hothouse because they could ripen on the vine longer, I’ll hold out for the drippingly juicy field tomatoes.

The Herb Lyceum at Gilson Farms specializes in herbs. Herbs grow easily in pots as well as in beds, and have a great cost/benefit ratio. Garden fresh herbs are better than store bought because the aromas are more pungent. Better still, you can harvest just what you need for a single meal – unlike the predetermined pack sizes at the supermarket. Better flavor, less waste - another point in the no-waste column.

Gilson Farms also owns two restaurants, including the local Cambridge favorite: Garden at the Cellar. This gastro-pub features locally inspired, European-styled cuisine. The perennial favorite is the creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese. The three-course tasting menu highlights local farmers.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous limeduck DATE:6/10/2008 01:39:00 PM Love the Garden at the Cellar. Best grilled cheese in town. Next week will you be setting up a table to sell sage? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger lynne DATE:6/11/2008 09:18:00 PM I hope that you will regularly report on the local farmer's market and suggest recipes! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:6/11/2008 11:14:00 PM I always loved it when Gilson Farm came to the now-defunct South End Farmers Market -- especially when they brought samples of lavender pound cake and goodies like that. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:6/12/2008 07:00:00 AM limeduck, I'm not setting up a table of sage, but I'm happy to sell you some.

Hi Lynne -- I do plan to post regular reports with recipes! I would have this week, but there wasn't much by way of cookable food.

Lydia, I haven't tried the lavender pound cake, but for sure I'll look for it next week and report back on all the baked goodies. By the way, the South End has a new farmers/flea market every Saturday. ----- --------