by Katie Bartel
Have you ever eaten a string bean without actually eating one? Bear with me here folks, I know it sounds like an odd question, but I swear that is exactly what I did this week!
For the first of the summer market season, I went in blind. I did not have a list, in fact, I had no idea what I needed and what I did not. All I knew was that the market was back and I was itching for any form of green I could get my hands on to.
Unfortunately, it is still early days. There was a lot of potted produce, tomatoes and cucumbers, up for grabs, as well as fresh and dried herbs galore, but little in the way of veggies. With that in mind, I set my eyes on items I may otherwise pass by.
And here we are: fava tips.
“What are fava tips?” I asked Gemma at Zaklan Farms.
After more than a year suffering, er, answering my questions, the two of us have developed a pretty good Q&A banter.
“Tips from the fava bean,” she laughed.
Yep, I deserved that one.
She told me that fava tips have more substance than your typical salad green, a bit of a beany taste with a wheat texture, she said. They add a belly-filling oomph to your salads, and sautéed in the grill with garlic and oil would be a lip-smacking treat sure to please, she advised.
It took until Monday before I had my first taste of the fava; the bag got lost in the fridge. When making food, I am a perpetual sampler, irregardless of savoury, sweet, veggies, herbs – I sample it all. So when I was making a lunch salad and discovered the fava tips, I plopped a cluster of them in my mouth. And then I stopped.
There is a bean in my mouth, I thought. I do not recall putting a bean in my mouth, in fact, I do not even think we have beans in the crisper, I know we do not have them in the garden. How is there a bean in my mouth?
There was not. It was the fava.
Yet another market-fresh discovery that I would either have never found or tried at the local supermarket.
Zaklan Heritage Farm
- 1 black chocolate cherry tomato plant $3
- 1 valley girl tomato plant $3
- 1 bag fava tips $4
- 2 giant sized boc choi $2.75
Seed of Life
- 2 bags edible flowers $3
- 1 bunch red ursa kale $3
- 1 ring garlic sausage $9.55
Baguette and Co.
- 1 Swiss pastry (large enough for two) $4
Golden Ears Cheesecrafters
- 1 hunk of chive havarti $7.50
I stepped a little outside my comfort zone this week. Tomato plants, edible flowers, garlic sausage are not things I would ever thought to have purchased in years past.
My husband and I are not exactly winning gardeners. Every year we try and every year, pretty much, we fail. But this year I am determined to snatch that green thumb and never let it go. When I saw the tomato plants at Zaklan, and I read their names – Chocolate Cherry and Valley Girl – they like had me at chocolate.
The edible flowers at Seed of Life were like sparkling diamonds on a street corner. It may have been a frivolous purchase; I did not really need them, but they were just so darn pretty, I had to have them. Unfortunately, though, as they were one of my first purchases, they ended up on the bottom of a bag filled with heavy items. By the time I got home, the majority were crushed 🙁 Good thing they were only $1.50 each.
We made a charcuterie plate with the garlic sausage from Vale Farms and the chive Havarti cheese from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters to share with friends. Both were a hit, and a nice combination accompanying Belgian beer. My husband grilled up the sausage to which he declared enhanced the flavour even more. And with the remaining portion, we are intending to make sausage sandwiches for lunch one day this week.
The next market is on Thursday, June 1 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Tipperary Park. See you there!
Originally published on local blog Tenth to the Fraser, The Farmers Market Challenge, written by Katie Bartel (and the odd guest star) seeks to challenge the notice that you can’t get hardly anything for $40 at the farmers market. Each market, Katie explores what’s the best deal, and discovers food she’s never heard of.
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