Vegetables. There comes a point in everyone’s life where their view on vegetables changes forever. One day one gazes reproachfully at a Jerusalem artichoke, the next, it is seen as an adventure, a culinary experiment. It goes from a, “No way” to a, “Yes” all of a sudden. It creeps up on you and before you know it the vegetables are the star of the meal. The meats and potatoes are a garnish compared to the mighty, majestic broccoli dish that has been lovingly, carefully created.
For some this new discovery takes on a whole other part of their lives. Growing your own. For me, it has been probably the best thing I have taken up. For those who want to have a conversation with me when I’m not covered in soil and have insects frolicking about in my hair it may not be, to them at least, the best thing I’ve ever taken up. It is an obsession. I can’t urge you enough to give it a try – you’ll be surprised at the success (if you choose cleverly).
I got a little overexcited this year and was so enamoured with my courgettes and tomatoes I wanted to let them have all the space and nutrients. This meant I planted nothing else and they are still going strong. Looking at my little beauties my eyes glaze over. When I take them into the kitchen I puff out my chest with pride. However, because of my idiocy I now have a gaping hole in my life that cannot be filled until next year. Fortunately I have a fabulous farmers’ market very near that is indispensible for my vegetable ventures.
These pictures I hope can capture the beauty, fragility and unctuousness of the vegetables I am fortunate enough to have access to. The marrow I admit does not come across as fragile but when you break its hard, crisp skin it becomes obvious that the seeds and wispy flesh are delicate and need care. Where else but a farmers’ market can you get such a striking purple cauliflower? Think how long it would take to make a man made cauliflower as intricate and uniform as a Romanesco cauliflower. Things that someone has taken the care to grow like this need to be sent off to our digestive tracts with dignity and poise.
It is not just the food that is way above even the best supermarket standards, it is the people. They are the reason I go. Imagine asking someone in a supermarket the best way to cook the marrow you have just proudly chosen. Chances are a blank face will be the most helpful response. At the market you can barely stop them talking about their vegetables. They are so proud. And rightly so.
The meat, the fish, the bread, the cheeses, the cakes, the plants, the fruit, the beers and wines and the pastries, what a selection and what a great atmosphere. For the quality and service that you receive I think it’s fantastic value for money.
And so to try and express my gratitude for the businesses that loyally turn up every other Sunday to sell us their wares, I am creating meals using as many ingredients as possible from the market. I listened to the advice given by the experts and made the most of my veggies. Furthermore I have found that carrying a marrow around with you will deter even the keenest of pick pocketers. Excellent farmer armour.
All That I’m Eating