We were in a new spot at the markets this weekend (for the rest of the season, finding us will be an adventure!). Our neighbor had baby fennel.
I have a recipe for a salad with pear and fennel. It has a delightful crunch and some great flavors, but I think I’ve only made it once, because I don’t like fennel enough to have so much of its flavor in one dish. I saw baby fennel and thought “maybe it will be milder.” So I bought a bunch to try.
But then I needed pears. I didn’t find any pears at Sunday’s market. A customer stopped by with a bag full of produce. She looked like she’d been to every veggie grower at the market! I asked if she’d seen pears anywhere, and she hadn’t. So I tasted some different apples, thinking I could substitute a sweet apple for the pear. I got two kinds of apples to try.
And I needed vinegar. I’ve been loving the honey vinegar we got earlier in the season. I don’t remember what kind of vinegar the Pear-fennel-salad recipe uses, but it’s a fancy one. I love fancy vinegars. They bring big, unique flavors into a recipe in one little teaspoon packed with punch, with no extra chopping, juicing or washing! So I went to the vinegar folks, hoping for an apple tarragon type vinegar.
Well, they have something new – drinking vinegar! It’s a sweeter type vinegar for flavoring sparkling water or mixed drinks. I’ll have to try that! We drink tons of sparkling water (we even have to bigger-co2-tank mod on our carbonator). But the sweetness of the vinegar also tasted like it would work nicely in cooking, so I picked up a bottle of sweet vinegar (drinking vinegar).
When I got back to our stand, that earlier customer who had been to every stand in the market had come back. She was just leaving. She came back to tell us that she found pears! Have I said that the farmers market is the opposite of a mall?! I thought that was the sweetest thing anyone had done all day!
I got my pears! So I’ll probably make the salad with apples AND pears, and Phil will have snacking apples, too, now.
(We grow apples, but, between the birds, chickens and goats, we don’t usually end up with much, and the wasps have usually stung the ones that are left. I don’t want to spray the trees or tent them, because the goats enjoy them. Our Java chickens will climb the apple tree for a snack, and I posted a picture of Meg standing up tall to get extra apples. Fudge eats the apples out of our hand. We stand there holding the apple, and she takes bite after bite. Apples give us a little fresh forage when the pastures are used up. I’ll happily buy apples and leave the apple trees to the critters. Someday, I’ll post a picture of the little apple tree that could – one of our trees is so dead, the trunk is hollow, but it still produces a bumper crop of goat snacks!)