I'm sure I'm the first person who's ever used that as a blog post title. Anyhoo.
Despite the fact that I have still seven pounds of Rancho Gordo beans at home, I set out Saturday morning to the Nashville Farmer's Market in hopes of finding some interesting and local fresh peas and beans. It'd been several years since I'd been to the local farmer's market because I was turned off by the overwhelmingly non-local produce and opted instead to give my business to the McNeil's at their produce stand (which has mostly local-ish produce from the Mennonites as well as some other stuff to fill out the bins).
Things have changed at the Nashville market; though I still found several stands selling produce with stickers on it (hello, I know those bananas weren't grown by you), there still seemed to be a lot more actual farmers (or farmers' reps, I guess) selling food.
Given the time of year, though Tennessee gardens aren't overflowing with bounties of a whole lot I want to eat. The peaches are coming from South Carolina now and at least some of the apples are coming from Michigan. I did find some local Muscadine grapes and there are still plenty of tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash and peppers out there.
And peas and beans. Yep, plenty of peas and beans. Beans with no strings, beans with strings. Shelled peas, unshelled peas. I collected a bag of fresh crowder peas and some unshelled October beans. The SO remembered October beans from his childhood, but I'd never heard of them. Turns out they're a cranberry bean with beautifully crimson-marked pods. I can't wait to see what's in there. They're ripe, but could stand to dry out a bit before shelling, so I cooked up the crowder peas this weekend instead.
I'm not sure if I've ever had fresh crowder peas. And I'm not sure I could ever have anything but fresh crowder peas again. These peas were delicious. I only had to cook them about two hours and they were done--the skin's kind of thick, so after that amount of time, not a whole lot else happens to them. I added some minced garlic and Liquid Smoke to the pot and they quickly developed an impressive pot liquor that really thickens up when chilled (leftovers!) as if there were fat in there. Odd but good. So I recommend scooting over to the market to get some.
Also, be sure to drop by the Schrock Family Bakery stand...there are quite a few pies, cakes and breads to choose from. We took home a *mumble* as well as a loaf of fresh cracked wheat bread (the SO says it's delicious; I've not had it yet) and a loaf of something called salt-rising bread. I'd intended to get some sourdough, but in the few minutes I was pondering my purchase, two different people came up to buy the salt-rising bread. So I just had to give it a try. It's got a rich taste to it that's almost buttery even though the recipe calls for shortening...please, Lord, let that be butter or vegetable shortening in that bread and not lard (the label does not say lard, but they're not required to do so--but I know it's popular with the Mennonites). Regardless (ignorance is bliss), the bread was the perfect way to enjoy a nice tomato sandwich loaded with locally-grown and superripe Bradley tomatoes.
I tell ya, I like that it's cooling down, but I'm sure going to miss all the great food that I can only get in the summertime.