Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June Culinary Smackdown, Part 1: Farmers Market Inspiration

I thought about titling this post "What If We Threw a Smackdown and Nobody Came?" It's been crazy hot everywhere (except the Pacific Northwest?). We've been contending with storms, power outages, vacations, who knows what in our personal lives, plus lots of summertime opportunities. Our Smackdown host this month, Diana from Cookerati, was kind enough to extend the June deadline for Battle Mint to July 2 since she's been vacationing in Colorado. And I kinda got my Battle Mint entry together, thanks to some farmers market inspiration.

Last Saturday morning I stopped by Bellevue Farmers Market, where Chef Matt Buschle of Virgil's was doing a cooking demo with local product from the market, including chickens from Atwood Village Family Farm. I've gotten eggs and this hearty loaf of garlic scape ciabatta from Atwood before – now I know to check out their chickens too.

I ran into friends from Slow Food Cincinnati, who were covering the Thistlehair Farm booth featured on the Boone County Farm Tour. Matt gifted me with some mint, and I knew it was a sign I'd better get my dish made and a post up.

But first I had to scurry off to meet Katie of Taste and See Cincy, another Smackdown buddy who didn't have time to post this month. Katie and I met at the Boone County Farmers Market in Burlington, KY, which this time of year is open 7 days a week. In the oppressive heat, we hit only 3 of the 15 farms on the Boone County Farm Tour, but our mutual favorite was Thistlehair Farm.

Thistlehair's onsite farm stand is open Thursday and Friday, 10:00-7:00, and we loved our tour of this organic farm, where Vickie and Ed Tewes cultivate lots of heirloom vegetables and are branching out into asparagus and even artichokes - yes, in Kentucky. They also raise bees. This whimsical structure is where they demonstrate pollination.

McGlasson's is also charming, and where I found fresh okra.
I'm headed to the river to visit friend Cindie in the morning and will be back later in the week with the actual dish I made for Battle Mint. Meanwhile, have you ever tried adding mint to a BLT? Mint wakes up this old favorite. And somehow cools you down at the same time.

Happy 4th to all!


Diana said...

It was hot in Colorado, but the humidity was only 10 percent, and you can drive an hour away to the mountains where the temp drops 10 to 20 degrees. I love farm market veggies, but had to keep away because I knew we wouldn't eat it all in a week.

Katie D. said...

You're so creative, can't wait to see part 2! BTW, I have been eating the blueberries from Thistlehair like a mad-woman!

Buzz Kill said...

I finally have my kitchen back, but have completely lost the bubble on the smackdown. I did make The Mrs. a mojito (from scratch) for our trip to the pool on the 4th of July. She thought it was a little strong (and I agreed) but that has to count - right?

Jamie W. said...
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Jamie- cincy bag ladies said...

Didn't know about all these great Farmers' Markets!! Your pictures make me hungry! :)

Sharon Rudd said...

Diana, the low humidity in CO makes such a difference!

Katie, glad you loved Thistlehair as much as I did! Working on Part 2.

Buzz, a mojito sounds pretty good right now, in this 100 degree heat. Do you think you would be willing to participate in a future Smackdown now that you've got your kitchen back? Or are you saying you've "lost the bubble" for doing it altogether.

Jamie, yeah, it was great to find out about more farms and farm markets nearby!