Friday, October 18, 2013

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

  • Education: Backyard Chickens with Master Gardeners
  • In Season: Squash, Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Chard, Lettuce, Turnips, Rutabaga and more!

A Vendor's Story Turned Over
Since starting as the market manager in July, one of the many pleasures of my work has been getting to know our vendors at market. While each has a distinct story and journey that has brought them to the South Durham Farmers’ Market, I have also found that they all possess common core traits: a willingness to work extraordinarily hard, a commitment to quality food and the mettle to take on being their own boss, laborer, marketer, accountant and salesperson. This perfectly describes Aida Jeanan Risk of Aida’s Turnovers, who with her husband, Adam Armstrong, decided to start a new business based on an old family recipe.

Aida’s Turnovers are a product of her own unique mixed heritage growing up in Egypt with a British mother and an Egyptian father. Her turnovers bring together the traditional English handheld meat pie, or pasty, with the vegetables and spices of the Middle East. She carries on her mother’s lifelong habit of turning any and all ingredients into the fillings for turnovers, and she continues to follow exactly her mother’s recipe in order to recreate her flakey pastry crusts.

Although Jeanan has been making pastry since she was eight years old, it was not until last year, at the encouragement of their sons, that she and Adam considered becoming professional bakers. They have worked together on every aspect of the business: learning how to scale up production, source ingredients, package the turnovers, and obtain nutritional facts. Adam designed their logo, which includes a cameo image of Jeanan at seventeen, and he fastidiously upholds their quality standards. (I have several times been the happy recipient of their discounted ’oopsie’ turnovers, which are just as delicious as those that make the regular cut.)

Almost every Saturday after market, I make a lunch of warmed turnovers over lightly dressed greens, so I have had the opportunity to taste each of their savory flavors. I am partial to their zucchini and pea stuffed turnovers, but recently I have been in the mood for their ground turkey pasties, which are fragrantly seasoned with dill, nutmeg and cumin. Jeanan and Adam use quality organic ingredients as much as possible and source many of their ingredients from farmers at the SDFM, including leeks, scallions, zucchini and spinach.

At the moment, we can claim the honor of being the only location with Aida’s Turnovers, but I hope you will join me in spreading the word about their delicious and distinctive offerings. Also, look out for the mulled hot cider coming next weekend!

Bull City Coop Tour
Get ready for the third annual Bull City Coop Tour this Saturday, October 19th! Come to the market early to do your shopping, and then purchase a map for the self-guided tour from our Master Gardener volunteers.

The tour is organized by Bull City Chickens, an organization dedicated to providing education on maintaining backyard chickens in an urban environment. On Saturday, members of the group within Durham city limits will open their homes and backyards from 10am-3pm to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for our feathered friends.

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