I am so thrilled to be able to reintroduce to the Reston market one of my favorite vendors: Roackahock Farm, who sends us an amazing selection of baked goods, fruit butters and marmalades. Nell Bartlett bakes and Alex Bae sells, and what a great partnership they are. From tea breads to fruit pies and crisps, from savory cheesecakes to fantastic sweet potato biscuits, and including many other delicious sweets and savories, Nell turns out wonderful things fit for family, friends or kings. My secret favorite is her Sour Cherry Fruit Butter, which I like to eat with a spoon. But it would be even better on some of Atwater’s bread.
Speaking of which, if you have not picked up one of their handouts, check out Atwater’s suggestions for taking care of their bread once you get it home — if it makes it that far — and for using the bread through several stages of freshness. The handout also features a clear and enlightening description of all of their daily breads, some of which are naturally leavened and some “yeasted.”
Celeste will be with us with her own little country store and great Fabbioli wines, as will Nancy Kahn of The Finger Buffet. She is cheating on her company name a little these days with her authentic international spreads and stews, but along with those, the puffs and other pastries are flying off her table. Ask her about preorders for parties and for this holiday weekend. She will be happy to arrange delivery for special orders.
And don’t forget that this is one of those picnic and party weekends when you can demonstrate your commitment to buying local and eating seasonally by planning an all-local feast. No need to proselytize — just cook up some seasonal veggies, serve some strawberries with whipped cream, grill up some of Doug’s burgers served on Atwater’s bread, and you’ve made your point while eating well. Don’t forget the deviled eggs or the local ice cream — and make it easy on yourself with market sweets and savories. You could even go beyond the $10 pledge and buy a little something from each vendor if you are serving a crowd. You can really be proud to be an American this weekend!
Mark your calendar now, and details to follow next week: Rodney Richardson, our very own in-house jazz trio leader, is moving to Chicago, and the trio will be playing their farewell performance at the market June 13 with a special guest, local jazz vocalist Lena Seikaly. We’re planning a party!
From the Market Master
I do hope that no one missed my missive last week, because I must admit that I did not miss writing it. I was on my once-a-year vacation in the lovely little community of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., which is just near Wilmington.
I am happy to report that the Buy Local movement is alive and well in many ways, even in small-town America. We saw it in the active promotion of local beers, at a wonderful locally sourced restaurant called the Kitchen, and even on a sign at a hot dog trolley on the beach touting the fact that their T-shirts were made in the U.S. It was heartening to see, but it did make me wonder why we do not see more of that grass-roots pride and activity in our area.
I did buy myself a precious collection of eight little “cookery” books by Thomas J. Murrey, published in the mid 1880s. They are packed with nifty ideas, some hilariously arcane, for cooking and serving everything from melons to mutton, with much general advice on the side. I am going to have fun picking some of that sage advice from the pages of the books over the summer.
Mr. Murrey had a most interesting career in hotel kitchens and for a while served as head chef of the kitchen in the basement of the House of Representatives. The books were originally owned by a lady with calligraphy-like handwriting named Eliza B. Eagle. There are stories there to be sure, and I will let you know about those, too.
Here is a little tip about keeping eggs from Breakfast Dainties, published in 1885: “Eggs may be kept for a long time by covering them with beeswax dissolved in warm olive oil or cotton-seed oil. Use one third wax to two thirds oil”. I thought you would appreciate knowing this in the event we lose power for several days this summer.
And about those farmers’ markets — we are now seeing spring cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, which do taste different from the fall crops. Don’t ask me why. I did learn from my new books that melons should not be grown near squash and pumpkins though — they will taste as “insipid” as those other varieties do when they are raw. Maybe those spring versions of what we normally consider fall veggies are influenced in the same way by their warm-weather neighbors. Ask your farmer about that. I am only guessing.
We have a new recipe on our website to help you enjoy the short pea season while you can.
See you at the market!