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Winter Market

18 February 2013

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Did you know there are winter farmer’s markets?

I didn’t, until last week. Sarah inspired, first, a Google, and, then, a visit to Elgin’s winter farmer’s market last Saturday.

I wish I could say I was blown away and that we had a great little afternoon out. I guess we did have a good time, but 10 minutes was all it took to peruse the dozen vendors that were set up – many of whom weren’t even pretending to be farmers.

We’ll be back, though. Husband and I share this strange whim for supporting local business whenever possible. And I like eggs that don’t come from very far away.

A few cheap iPhone pics:

This guy caught us on our way out by promising he makes the best popcorn. (He saw Husband coming.) He scooped out a couple samples, bragged that there’s no butter in his caramel, and sold Husband a bag of what they both agree is the best popcorn ever. 

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(Meatball wasn’t impressed with any of it.)

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Honey is one of those things that is a million times better when it’s real and local. I know, technically, any food is better for you when it’s real and local, but with honey you can taste it. This guy has a honey stick for whatever you’re craving.

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He also had this stuff, which he must be used to explaining, because he got up from his seat as soon as he saw us puzzling over it. It’s freeze-dried honey. Seriously. You can use it as a sugar substitue in just about anything. It’s two “magic tricks,” as he sold them, were:

  1. iced tea (“You know how when you put sugar in your ice tea, you stir and … it all just collects at the bottom? Not this stuff.”), and
  2. oatmeal (“It grabs some of that moisture and becomes honey again.”).

How do you pass up magic, freeze-dried honey? Ya. You don’t. We both licked a finger and tried it as soon as we got home. He’s right. It tastes like a sweetener … with a very light honey flavor at the end. It’s good. I’m impressed.


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We also came home with a dozen local eggs. We might have come home with some elk meat, but dude forgot to get it out of the truck before his dad drove away that morning. Or so he said. Meatball and I stood there and tried to look cool while Husband and Vendor enumerated the differences between elk and bison meat.

Allow me to pass on the inspiration: Is there a winter farmer’s market near you? Do you love it? (Don’t think so? Google it. You might be surprised. And you might end up with local eggs and freeze-dried honey a couple days later.) 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 February 2013 9:11 AM

    How cool. In our old town there were some GREAT farmers markets… these days we live in South Florida and they’re a little harder to find… but I’ve been thinking recently about how I at *least* need to get better educated on what’s in season when. It’s so easy to be far removed from your food and its source.

    • Lex permalink
      18 February 2013 11:11 AM

      SO easy. And, unfortunately, it’s often cheaper too.

      Not a lot of farming in southern Florida? Seems like the warmer weather would make it a better candidate for winter markets than Chicago, but I guess not. Odd. 🙂

  2. 18 February 2013 9:26 AM

    So glad I was able to inspire an outing! Of course winter markets will never be as good as the summer, but it’s better than nothing. The freeze dried honey looks pretty interesting – I’ve never seen anything like that.

    • Lex permalink
      18 February 2013 11:13 AM

      Agreed! I at least have my local eggs and honey. Thanks for the inspiration! 😉

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