Friday, May 17, 2013

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

This Week at the South Durham Farmers Market
  • Music by Scott Boggs 8:30am - 11:30am  
  •  Education: Join Maia Wirth of Open Arts in Morrisville, NC for nature-themed kids activities, storytelling, and more!
    9am - 12pm 
  • Featured this week: asparagus  herbs, strawberries, greens, broccoli, rainbow chard, flowers, bread and more 
Locopops at SDFM
If you're going to quit your day job and focus on something totally loco, it should hopefully be something that makes you and other people happy. And that's exactly what Summer Bicknell, founder of Locopops, did. Summer's first paleta (Mexican popsicle) shop only came to be in Durham by pure chance- she stopped in Durham to fill up her tank with gas, loved what she saw, and decided to stay. Ever since that fateful day she has worked hard to make the people of Durham and the greater Triangle area smile with her delicious summertime treats.

What makes us happiest to have Locopops as a part of the market is Summer's commitment to keeping Locopops local. Read more here!

O, Artichoke
There are so many new vegetables available at SDFM right now, but none as curious as the green and ancient artichoke.  Artichokes have been around so long that Roman philospher Pliny the Elder called them, "one of the Earth's monstrosities," - yet, he and his friends could get past appearances long enough to eat them with gusto.  This might be due the fact that the Romans considered artichokes to be a delicacy and an aphrodisiac (the Romans could throw quite a party).  At SDFM, we feel particularly special to be able to get these delicious Mediterranean lovelies over the next few weekends at market.

How to Buy: Look for firm, heavy, medium-size artichokes. To test for freshness, squeeze the artichoke and listen for a squeaky sound (we can't make this up!). Avoid those that look dry, have split leaves, or heavy browning. Baby artichokes are just smaller versions of the same plant, but are a little easier to prepare.

How to Store: Fresh artichokes can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to five days; wash just before cooking.

How to Eat:
  1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.
  2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.
  3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.
  4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.
  5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.
  6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.
Simply dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce (find some sauces here). Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal. Do this until you arrive at the "heart", discard the fuzzy portion or "choke", and then enjoy the heart by dipping it in a sauce or placing it in a jar with olive oil, lemon juice and spices and place in refrigerator to marinate. Use in a salad or sliced on bread.
Find artichokes at Parker Farm & Vineyard this Saturday, and artichoke plants from Four Leaf Farm, with more vendors to supply them in the coming weeks!

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