Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Bounty Of Farmer's Market Food, Fun & Fresh Finds!

Getting Local With It: Sesame Garlic Tempeh with Bell Organic Spinach, Wymotaotes and Laziz Hummus on a Whole Wheat Roll from Rudi's Bakery
Okay, So The Roll Isn't Actually Local, 
But From Colorado. You Got Me! 
    I used to think the farmer's market hype was overblown, the first time I went, a few years ago, I wasn't impressed because the market had more of a festival feel and there were way more products, food vendors and crafts than farmers.  And the farmers I did see weren't organic. Instead, I decided to go the CSA route. I researched and found the awesome Bell Organic. Organic and local so my values wouldn't be compromised.  Since then, I thought the farmer's market to be an extraneous affair since I get a weekly share of venerable veggies from the Bells.
     Oh Boy! Oh Girl! Was I wrong. The special one and I (and our little dog, too!) decided to give the farmer's market a go this year. I wish you could've seen us. We hit the ATM up not once, but twice. (Apparently, you only get hit with ATM fees once per day when visiting the same ATM!) Our bag was overflowing with goodies. We've been going back each week now.I'm addicted now.
     Here are some of my awesome vegan finds. I'll have a post up soon about one of the food vendors, Rambling Rose, in a few days. But before, here are my tips, take your dog, he/she wants to go, too! It's a super dog friendly place and it's is a great way to socialize your dog. Bring cash, most of the vendors accept cash only, a few of the vendors do accept plastic, but you don't want to be caught wanting something and not having cold hard currency. Take UTA's Trax, there's a stop on the Blue/Green line at the Planetarium that's maybe a block away from Pioneer Park. One more thing, bring a big appetite not only are the food vendors awesome, but most of the packaged food and even some farmer's gives samples. That's how they won us over! 
     Oh, and if you're not familiar with it. It's a weekly affair every Saturday from 8 am until 1 p.m in Salt Lake City's Pioneer Park, 300 South and 400 West, right by the old Union Street location. Starting August 8th, they're also open on Tuesday from 4 p.m. until dusk. I haven't been on a Tuesday, but it's more of a farmer focused ordeal than the one on Saturday. Got it? Good, now we can move on to the goodies!
                  Woodyatt Cherry Farms
Cherries! Cherries! Oh Me! Oh My! 
     Few things in life sounds a magical as a cherry farm. Well, unless it was a cherry, peach and ginger farm. But what's not to love? They have montmorency tart cherries in six ways til Sunday. They have them dried,  cherry juice, concentrate, pie filling and even jam. If you thought of it, they have it. Plus, this sweet old man (we call him grandpa cherry) runs the whole show. He's the one who won me over, sprinkling dried cherries in my hand as I walked by. Plus, the montmorency tart cherry is being researched for all kinds of health benefits like helping gout and arthritis. Reportedly, the melatonin helps you sleep better, too. I mean who doesn't want a glass of cherry juice at night? Usually located on the North west side of the park. They're so old school, they don't have a website or facebook, but someone made this cool video. To be honest, this makes me like them even better.
                        Butcher's Bunches
The Apricot Peach Ginger Featured on Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Toast
     Get your jam on with Logan's Butcher's Bunches. Not only are they award winning, taking home Utah's Best in 2010 and Utah's Healthiest food in 2001, but those delectable delights feature 98% ingredients from local sources. Oh, and they come in awesome flavors so it'll be a hard time choosing. As far as I can tell, just two flavors have diary in them. The other vegan friendly  flavors include "Sunbeam 4 You" which has whiskey from Park City's own distillery High West. The "Back in Black" has Orem's award winning and crazy expensive Amano chocolate in it as well as what must be a nod to the always awesome AC/DC. Well, with Butcher's Bunch, Brian Johnson might need that hearse cause the jams are to die for. Butcher's Bunches is usually found on the east side of the park, every other week. They're also found throughout the valley. Each jar costs $8 beans, but they do a three for $20 deal that got me. How can you have just one jam? Follow them on facebook or visit their site:
 Laziz Authentic Lebanese Hummus

Hummus: Doing The Chickpea Dance
     I would be lying if I knew what the different between Lebanese Hummus and others out there. What I noticed was a strong tahini flavor and a subdued garlic flavor. For a garlic lover like me, Laziz has more of a mellow flavor, but is still awesome. It's a great replacement for vegenaise on sandwiches and packs a much stronger punch. It's hard to give up the infamous vegenaise, but this just might do it. Not to mention their commitment to organic ingredients and a post consumer recycled plastic container. Sustainable and succulent, now that's what I'm taking about. Rumor has it that the owner would like to open up a Lebanese vegan cafe someday, just another excuse to buy his hummus and help make that happen. Usually found on the west side of the park every other weekend. Follow on facebook.

  Pop Art Popcorn
Rosemary Truffle Popcorn
     Rosemary Truffle Popcorn. Those three words should be enough to drop your computer or fancy phone and head out on a sojourn to find this stuff. It's that amazing. A recent study found that popcorn contains a boatload of antioxidants, even more than berries. I know it's crazy! And I just thought I was being lazy cause I would throw a handful of kernels into the air popper and get a quick snack. This stuff is so good that it's more than just a snack though it's an art. Just to prove it, they get two pictures. Yes, they're that good. I would give them four, but the other two flavors have cheese in them. Maybe we'll get a vegan cheese flavor someday. Added points for using organic corn, GMO free oil and mostly organic spices. Seriously, what could be better than this? Usually found on the east side of the park, but also can be found at Cali's Natural Foods and best of all (and the best move theater in the valley) Salt Lake Film Society. Just go watch the best movie I've seen in a decade, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and open up a bag. You'll thank me later.  If you ask nicely, I might even send you a bag or just visit their page and order a bag yourself. Follow on facebook or check out their website:
Thai Coconut Curry Popcorn

I Can't Decide Which One Is Better. Can You?

 Mountain Town Olive Oil Company
18 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar
     There's a few things I learned in life. The first and perhaps most important is that life is too short to drink crappy beer. After tasting this balsamic vinegar, I'm going to include balsamic vinegar to the list. This stuff is just amazing. It has this thick, almost maple syrup consistency and the flavor is mind blowing. I thought I was splurging buying a bottle of organic 5 year old from Napa Valley Naturals. This stuff blows away anything I've tasted. It's so good you don't even need oil to drizzle on salads, a great way to cut some calories without sacrificing taste. Plus, you might develop a salad eating addiction, just so you can have an excuse to break out the bottle, as if that's a bad thing. In the future, I want to make some kind of balsamic ice cream or sorbet, like the winner of the last Chopped Round. I am a little nervous outing myself, because I stop at their booth each week and try the different varieties. Everything from blood orange olive oil to lavender balsamic vinegar, they never stop amazing me. Usually found on the East side of the park, near Butcher's Bunches and Pop Art so bring a big bag. They also have a storefront in the Gateway and Park City as well as  mailorder on their website. Follow on facebook to find out about their awesome flavors. 

 Terrapin Station Smoking Company  
Applewood Smoked Pistachios
     Smoked nuts? I've had smoked almonds before that make an excellent gravy from Vegan Brunch, but these things are just damn smoking! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously, those nuts are beyond nutty! Okay, I'll stop. I'm not sure what it is, but smoking really makes everything awesome. Plus, they add their own spice rub, which adds to the smoky flavor. The cashews even have jalapeƱo added to them It's like have a perfectly spiced campfire in your mouth. Now, if only I could figure out if you put the whole pistachio in your mouth to suck out the spice or crack and just eat the meat. Currently, I'm on the former, but might need another bag for more research, right? Usually, located on the north side of the park, just a couple of booths down from Woodyatt Cherry Farms. Visit their website:
                  Wood Fired Jalepeno Cashews
Notice The Bag Is Nearly Empty...
 Grandma Sandino's Sicilian Sauce
Vampires: Beware!
      There was a sign asking, "Do You Love Garlic"? Ummm, Yes, please! Then there was another that said vegan and dairy free. Woohoo! No more playing twenty questions! From there, it was like following the yellow brick road, but instead of rainbows and unicorns was this sauce. And I wasn't disappointed. They must know it, too. I mean their tag line is, You'll Love It Or Else. What food comes with a promise followed by a threat. If you love garlic, you won't need to find out what they mean by "or else". It's so good I'll even forgive them for misspelling vegetarian on the bottle. Plus, it comes with an awesome bottle ala Dr Bronner's with all kinds of writing on it. Fun to read while fending off vampires. Usually located on the east side of the park, near Butcher's Bunches, Pop Art and Mountain Olive Oil. Visit their website: or follow on facebook
  Fresh Goji Berries (D&L Enterprises)

Go! Go! Goji Power!
     Goji Berries are that mystical berry that I see in the store, but only rarely bought. The price tag is what generally keeps my away. Not to mention that they're generally dried, which gives a bark like consistency. Fresh ones are completely different. Come to think of it, I've never had a fresh one, but after getting one sample I bought a pack. Fresh goji berries have a nice tang to them. I haven't done anything exciting with them, but just pop some in my mouth and chomp away, reaping the awesome health benefits from them. Apparently, they grow well in the Utah/Wasatch region. I thought they were some mystical fruit only found in Tibet, but a friend schooled me saying he had a bush in his front yard. I've only seen them once at the market on the northside near Terrapin Smoking Co, Woodyatt Cherry Farms, so hopefully they'll be back because I'm running low. I might have to resort to goji bush hunting, if they don't reappear. Who's with me?
Wilkerson Farms
Just Eat It: Roasted Beet!
   One of the few farms that are certified organic (there's also an organic garlic grower that I found last week), they are located out in Orem and grow a lot of root vegetables, like beets and varieties of potatoes, such as yukon and red. They also had some awesome greens, like kale and the intriguing purslane, which has loads of Omega 3s. Since I'm running pretty full with my CSA from Bell Organic, I tend to supplement my share with random things like beets that I used in the last round of Vegan: Chopped. Last week, I saw a box of apricots, too! Usually located on the North East corner of the park. Really friendly, folks. Please support them! 
One Tomato, Two Tomato, Three!
     Coming from the East Coast, Jersey tomatoes were all the rage. I mean they have a point. They are pretty delicious, but maybe that's because tomato flavor has been on a downward slope over the past couple of years. I mean, someone even wrote a book about the downfall of the modern tomato. Out in the west coast, I mainly serve up the heirloom varieties that I get in my CSA, but these Wyomatoes are perfect substitute until those heirlooms start showing up. They might even start an east coast/west coast feud over who grows the best tomatoes, New Jersey versus Big Piney, Wyoming. Choose your side wisely. Now if Barry Estabrook had one of these, he might not have written a book. Best of all, the tomatoes are organic and they used to sell blemished ones for just $2 a pound. Too bad, I haven't seen them in the past few weeks.

1 comment:

Butcher's Bunches said...

Thanks for the jammin review! Definitely a nod to a band that has left an impression in my heart and my little boys!! He named it for me!! (We pass the good taste along in our family--for food and tunes!)

Just so you know, we have altered the recipe for Monkey Bizzness to make it Vegan Friendly.. We no longer use Milk or White Chocolate! It is made with Amano and Millcreek Cacao Roasters 70% cacao Chocolates... righ on with the craaaaazy expensive.. but also craaaazy awesome good freakin chocolate!!

Stop by in a couple weeks and snag a taste.. its to die for...