While I was in Baltimore last weekend, I really wanted to go to the Farmers’ Market.  It’s open April – October on Sunday mornings from 7AM until noonish.  It’s located downtown and is known as the largest producer’s market in Maryland.

It’s actually a Bazaar and market.  The way we entered the market, we past stand of baskets, clothes, jewelry and more.  My niece was very interested in the jewelry, but I wanted to check out the produce.  After a few minutes, we made our way to the market.  The market is located under a couple of bridges.  So, there’s a good deal of shade built in.  That made for a nice walk through.  It was already hot and we were there just after 7AM.


My sister and niece bought some spicy jerky for my brother in law.  The went back and bought some sweet to enjoy as well.  I’ve never seen duck eggs at a market.  I didn’t need any eggs, but I may try them next time.


This booth reminded me of Humble Pie Baking Company here in the Cleveland area.  He had lots of savory and sweet individual pies and a few traditional sized as well.  We purchased a few savory ones to have for lunch.  There was a seafood stand that consistently had customers.  They also had live crabs that my niece liked checking out.


It was easy to tell that the prime in season crops are strawberries and asparagus.  The were everywhere.


My friend Erin (also known as the bride the day before) let us know that there were good breakfast choices at the market.  You can get omelets, donuts, pastries, coffee and crepes.  I opted for a crepe.  It was fun to watch the crew.  There were 2 guys that prepped the ingredients and 2 guys cooking them.  A fifth person took the orders and kept everything moving along.  I love good efficient processes and  loved this stop.  My sister bought some pickles at the In A Pickle stand.  We were surprised at the line for them.  They were tasty, but my sister likes my pickles better.  If pickling cucumbers are ready when we go to Baltimore in July, I’m going to leave a few jars of refrigerator pickles for her.


One of my favorite stands was the mushroom stand.  They all looked so delicious.


I settled on “The Deluxe Mix”.  We ended up cooking them with burgers on Memorial Day.  They were really good.  Locally, I don’t get many opportunities for such a variety in fresh mushrooms.


Between my sister, niece and I, we ended up buying savory pies, mushrooms, asparagus, lettuce mix, dill, jerky, pickles, crepes, and a hula hoop (but that’s a story for a future post).


As we left the market, this guy was playing a saxophone made out of PVC pipe.  He actually could play a tune.  We also passed the free parking that we had been told about.  We actually parked a couple of blocks away in the street and our locale turned out fine.  When I’m in Baltimore on a Sunday morning, I will definitely check out this market again.

 Posted by at 10:09 PM

We had plans south of Akron late today and decided to make a day of it.  We left our house around 8:30AM and headed to the Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow.  I love this market!

It wasn’t too hot out today, but we still wore our hats to help with the sun.  Since Nick wears glasses, hats are a good option for us.  I was surprised to see this sign about the ATM.  It’s probably great for business.  I’ve been to the market several times in the past and decided that I wanted meat or some other high dollar item that wiped out our cash.


Nick and Sally have seen display bee hives before, but they never seem to tire of them.  I’ve never had a croissant from Summit Croissants, but they had the biggest line when we were at the market early.  After running into some friends, we found out that if you want a certain flavor, you get there early.  Apparently this is a well known fact among the regulars.  Today, we had a breakfast pie from another booth, but maybe we’ll try a croissant next time.


The market set up a bit south of its original location.  It’s still in Howe Meadow, but this open space gives them room for more vendors and the market is a bit more spread out.  I think I like the new set up, but it will be hotter during the summer markets.


Today’s music was Mr. Bob.  He played guitar, harmonica and sang (not all at the same time).  Nick and Sally love the music at the market.  We found out that one of our friends is playing in a quintet here on August 18th, so we’ll try to come back that day for sure.


We ran into Diane from Humble Pie Bakery.  It was nice to see a familiar face.  We were surprised to see Mayfield Road Creamery at the market.  We love their cheese and get it from our Fresh Fork CSA often.  Today, we picked up a pack of blue cheese and chipotle gouda.  We also bought 2 jugs of our favorite honey from Schmidt Family Farm.  We told her her honey was the best.  She told us that she’d tell the bees.


We perused the grain selection from Mud Run Farm.  Nick wanted some puff cereal.  It’s not hard to get me to buy cereal with one ingredient.  It was only $4 and I thought that was very reasonable.


Before we left, we also purchased a couple of loaves of bread, onion chive cheese, Munster cheese, and some red pepper Ohio City Pasta.  I was prepared with a cooler bag and ice packs since we knew we wouldn’t be home until late in the day.

I’ve only been to a few local markets, but I’ve always really liked this one.  I’m hoping to visit at least 5 different markets this summer.

 Posted by at 10:51 PM

Last week when we were apple picking at Eddy’s Fruit Farm, I ordered 2 bushels of pears.  This equates to about 96 pounds of pears or two large boxes.  They were kind enough to store them for me until we returned from our Maryland/Delaware trip.

This week, I spent many hours processing pears.  The result was 19 quarts of sauce and 5 quarts of chunks to store in our can cupboard.  In addition, we have 2 quarts of sauce in the fridge, have consumed a quart of sauce and a quart of chunks and have eaten 2 dozen pears.  I also have about 6 quarts of pear juice that I plan to make into jelly.  I froze it for a rainy day project.


Here’s a closer look.


This was my first year processing pears.  I definitely learned a lot.  Two bushels of canning pears is a huge amount of pears.  Canning pears could also be called seconds.  There’s nothing wrong with the pears.  I thought these were really nice pears.  They are however more varied in size and have odd dimples and blemishes that you probably wouldn’t normally see.

I really like canned pears.  I set out to make as much chunks as possible.  We only ended up with 5 quarts of them.  There are several reasons for this.  Chunks take much more time for processing than sauce.  The pears need to be ripe, but not too ripe to make chunks.  I was not expecting to have to wait several days for the pears to be ripe enough to can. I’m a lazy canner.

Stephen helped me sort/test pears for ripeness every day.  Every day but Thursday, I canned at least one load.  I loosely pealed the pear with a paring knife, used a round measuring spoon to core them, and chopped the chunks.  The chunks went into lemon water and the rest went into a crock pot.  The skins, core, and other parts of the pears were cooked until soft and then were put through the food mill to become sauce.  The  chunks were canned in a light honey syrup.  This method worked well since there is minimal waste.

Many pears went from not ripe enough to too ripe for chunks, most of the pears were made into sauce.

Nick and Sally LOVE the sauce.  It will be a hit this winter and spring.  I’d probably do two bushels again, but I would only buy one bushel at a time.  For 3 days this week, we ate in the dining room and the kids had picnic breakfast.


After we went apple and pumpkin picking at Fifer Orchards, we enjoyed the Fall Fest and the Market.


Sally LOVED the big slides.  She went down them at least 6 times.


Sally enjoyed walking through the high corn stalks while Nick enjoyed riding the tractor tricycle.


The rubber duck races with water were a HUGE hit.


There were swings and there was a tall corn stalk for photographing the height of people.


My mother in law and Derek enjoyed the pumpkin checker board.  It was really neat.  Nick and Sally can’t turn down a play box.  This one was filled with corn.


We were at the Fall Fest on a Friday and it wasn’t crowded at all.  Nick and Sally didn’t really have to wait in line for anything.

After the fest, we looked around the market.  There’s a huge apple operation here.  Crates of apples going out on trucks throughout our visit.  There were also big crates of pumpkins for sale.


While I walked around the market, some ice cream was enjoyed.  I never saw green snake like pumpkins before.


Derek loves Superman, so we took his photo with the logo pumpkins. The market displays were pristine.


You could tell that it was apple season.  Right before we left, we saw this praying mantis.  The kids were really interested in it.


It was a perfect way to spend a nice fall day.  Hopefully, we’ll go to Fifer Orchards on another trip to Delaware.


Winter squash is one of my most favorite foods.  I love this time of year.  This photo makes me drool.  It was taken by FruitGuys’ buyer Rebecca at The National Heirloom Exposition.  I can’t wait to stock up on my favorites this fall.



On Labor Day, my friend Sherry shared her kitchen and canning talents by helping me can 100 pounds worth of tomatoes into sauce.  I had purchased the tomatoes from Ridgeview Farm. I had 40 pounds of tomatoes already juiced when I arrived at 8AM and quickly got to work on juicing the other 60 pounds.


Soon enough, we had sauce simmering on the stove and in the oven.


When we ran out of room inside, we added the turkey fryer outside.  This huge pot on a burner worked great!


After a few hours of work, it was time to fill the jars and use the pressure canner.  I really enjoyed learning how to use the pressure canner since I usually do water bath canning.


By 5PM, we had canned almost 9 gallons worth of tomato sauce.  Some of it is seasoned with herbs and some is plain.  I plan to use some for ketchup and BBQ sauce throughout the year, in addition to pasta sauce.


My pantry is fairly stocked with tomato sauce now.  Next year, I plan to branch out to canning diced tomatoes in addition to sauce.

 Posted by at 9:00 PM  Tagged with:

Today, we once again visited the Countryside Farmers’ Market , which is held in Howe Meadow (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) on summer Saturdays. We had Stephen’s brother and parents in town and we were on our way to Hale Farm.  It seemed like a great place to stop.  It’s hard for me to turn down a market full of fresh and local items.


It’s so nice to look at the pristine produce displays.


There was music and dancing!


We bought local cheese – aged cheddar ($5), Munster ($5) and aged gouda ($6).


I stocked up on honey ($22).  So far, the honey from the Schmidt Family Farm in Medina is my favorite.  The first time we were at this market, they didn’t have any crystallized honey, but we were able to buy some this time.  She sold us the wholesale size in a mason jar ($10) with the stipulation that we bring her a jar!  We also picked up some honey on the comb ($10).  I asked Susan if we could come see the farm sometime.  She was definitely open to that.  I’ll be calling to schedule a visit.  I’m very interested in the honey process and I am sure that Nick would enjoy seeing it as well.  We had plans to grill local chicken brats for dinner and picked up some sweet corn to go along with it.  I was glad that it was $5 for a baker’s dozen.


The item below is called a Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin).  I’m always game to pick up something new at the market.  It’s a squash.  It was $5 and it’s about the size of a pie pumpkin.


Our guests bought a couple of items to take back to Delaware for friends and everyone had a great time.


Today, we ventured to Peninsula, Ohio to visit the Countryside Farmers’ Market.  This market is located on Riverview Road at Howe Meadow, which is part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s about a 40 minute drive from our house in Mayfield Heights.
It’s a beautiful location for the market.  They had plenty of parking, attendants and traffic control.   We arrived just before the 9 AM opening bell.


We didn’t really need anything, but we thought it would be fun to go since we used to go to a farmers’ market in the valley after marathon training runs and we had an errand to run in the area.  Nick and Sally were excited to see all of the tents.


Nick was fascinated by knife and tool sharpening.  The produce was breathtakingly beautiful.



Of course, we made a few purchases as well.


We bought Melrose apples ($3).  There was one more, but it became a snack on our way home.  We also bought whole wheat pastry flour ($6 for 4 pounds), 5 pounds of honey ($22), 8 oz. of honey ($5), gouda and chive/onion grass fed cheese ($10), bison hot dogs and bison country sausage ($19.68) and curly kale ($3).  So, we spent quite a bit today.  It was so much fun and something that we wouldn’t do very often.  We haven’t been eating out much since I quit eating white flour and most sweeteners, but we sure eat well.

We also considered buying a mushroom kit, but decided we wanted to research it a bit more first.  I see a kit in our future.