A Chef’s Farmer’s Market Picks

With the passing of winter and the hope of spring, I find myself in this strange pocket between the winter farmer market season and the summer market season.  With the completion of my first full year participating as a vendor in farmer’s markets, I must say, I have learned quite a bit– this idle time in between market seasons tends to be a bit awkward.

During the off-market months, I miss the social interaction between the vendors; but even more so with the patrons.  Farmer’s markets provide, not only great local, fresh food, but a social context where learning happens during the exchange of information and personal preferences among all who participate.  I am amazed at the diversity of thought and the relationships that develop around the common denominator of fresh, local food.

jeff and wheels of cheese cropped

I have developed Brick House Vinaigrette, a line of natural vinaigrette dressings that features healthy oils, no preservatives, are low in sodium and low in carbohydrates.   In addition to making great salad dressings for the wonderful micro-greens and/or a dip for the vegetables I find at the farmer’s market, the vinaigrette also makes a good marinades for meat and/or a great base for cole slaw, potato salad and pasta salad.

fons tuliptree cheese

As a cheese lover, one of my most favorite stops is the Tulip Tree table.  Tulip Tree has a great selection of European style cheeses that are full of flavor.  I love picking up some of their Trillium, Haymaids or Nettle cheeses to take to our weekly family dinner.  Tulip Tree cheeses have become a staple at our Sunday evening. My family enjoys all the cheese bounty with crackers or fresh bread before dinner. With each bite, the flavors of these great cheeses take me back to my trips to France; yet, Tulip Tree cheese carries an even deeper meaning, knowing they are carefully crafted with fresh pasteurized milk by the Cheese Master.  I find great pleasure knowing when I purchase Tulip Tree cheese, I am supporting their efforts and contributing to our local economy.

As the summer farmer’s market season draws near, I challenge you to step outside of your normal shopping habits and explore.  Not only will you find a great variety of fresh, local food; but if you take the time to talk with the vendors and the other patrons, you will find a great resource of information and build new acquaintances.  Plus, the bonus of attending a farmer’s market is being outside enjoying the beautiful Indiana sunshine and fresh air. Say hello as you sample Brick House Vinaigrette, and don’t forget to pick up some cheese!

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Today’s guest blogger is Chef Bricker, creator of Brick House Dressings.