Fresh Market: A Sensory Sensation
Dec12

Fresh Market: A Sensory Sensation

Have you been to Fresh Market recently? If not, then it’s time to experience the savory side of life. It’s like gourmet grocery shopping. The first thing you’ll notice is the array of glittering poinsettias that greet you at the entrance. “Blingsettias” and “Snow Frost” poinsettias are in a profusion of color, from peachy-pink to traditional red and white. It’s like looking at a mountain of flowers. There are also ivy wreathes in pots – a neat idea for someone who wants to be festive without having to watch out for flower petals or clinging pine needles. Once inside, you’ll find the gift section filled with snacks, colorful cloth placemats, and other easy-to-give hostess presents that will certainly make a great impression on the recipient. The store’s interior is arranged like a typical grocery store, but more condensed. There are several full aisles; pumpkin pie bars, artisan lavender soap, and Seventh Generation paper towels are just a few of the items to be found here. In the milk and dairy section you’ll find organic milk, a variety of cheeses, and lactose-free milk products (like Silk). Cleaning supplies? They have it – everything from Mrs. Meyer’s laundry soap to Bon Ami and Barkeeper’s Friend scrubbing powder. The bakery section is something to stop and take in. Yes, there are cakes and cookies and breads. But there are also raspberry cakes – whole layered pastries about 7” long and at least 4” high. Petit Fours, glistening fruit tarts and Yule Logs are also a few of the many offerings kept behind clean glass countertops – displayed right at mouthwatering eye level. The deli counter is long as well – choose whatever ready-to-eat concoction you’d like, and the staff will wrap it up for you. Large silver platters display a variety of roasted whole chickens in the middle of the store. You can feel the heat from the enclosed counters as you browse the labeled displays. For someone looking for a quick treat to take to work, there are bags of lavender, blue and white snowflake cookies. Or you might want to try out the soft baguettes. The produce section is populated with towering stacks of shining fruits. Apples, pears, bananas, and other fresh fruits tempt customers to pick up a few for the shopping cart. And there are also kosher treats, like chopped figs with nuts, pre-packaged and nestled among the displays. Want to throw together a quick stew? The veggies are already cut up for you, waiting on ice. When you check out, there are several lanes to choose from. Just head for the trellises and look for a place to nose...

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Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Plough + Stars Farm
Aug08

Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Plough + Stars Farm

As much as I love jewelry, crafts and pottery, it is a refreshing change of pace to bring you Plough + Stars Farm as our vendor review for this week.  To me, this is what a summer market like Barr Street is all about…delicious, homegrown, fresh produce.  And while Plough + Stars may be only in their second year, they act like pros and have the veg to prove it. I grew up in Noble County on a couple acres of land and watched on as my parents tilled through fresh dirt every spring to plant their (in my opinion) gigantic garden.  And although I had no problem stalking through the rows and making lunch out of fresh green beans, snap peas and cherry tomatoes, you couldn’t pay me enough to be responsible for the maintenance of that land.  So, I have much admiration for the Rash and Tyree families, who have come together as neighbors and created not only a sprawling and beautiful produce farm, but a career in selling their goods. I contacted Seth Rash with the burning question, how in the world do you make this work? It takes neighborly comradery, money and oh so much time. This is what he had to say, “Farming is a lot of work, but if it is the kind of life that suits you, it is deeply satisfying and rewarding.  I (Seth) have a genetic disorder that is causing me to lose my vision.  Growing vegetables, besides being something I just love to do, is an outlet for me and a way to keep me connected to the simple treasures of hard work, the beauty of the earth, eating great food, and time with family.  Scott and I both have young children and watching them grow up on the farm is amazing.  We’ve been growing vegetables for a long time but this is only our second season as Plough & Stars Farm.  We are learning all the time and still have a lot more to learn and discover about small scale, sustainable agriculture.  The challenge of starting and growing a farm keeps it interesting and engaging.  Our expectations at the beginning of Plough & Stars Farm were pretty guarded in that we weren’t sure what, if any, financial success we’d have.  We imagined that we might (a very guarded might) be able to go full time at this at some point in the future but that day could be a long way off. We realize how fortunate we are to have access to such a vibrant, successful market like Barr Street and think the folks at YLNI do a great...

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