Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Farmers' Markets

I don't know about you, but I love farmers' markets.  You know, the old-fashioned kind, where the farmers come into town and set up tents in a parking lot and lay out fresh vegetables, fruits and homemade pies, jams and jellies. Well, while staying recently in South Florida, we visited a farmers' market set up in a small parking lot of a suburban strip mall. It was a little different from those we are used to up North.

The farmers' markets we are familiar with are usually filled with tables full of apples and the smell of funnel cakes. The Florida market offered a selection of fresh seafood, including lobster tails and grouper! And instead of funnel cakes (which I love to eat) there were beignets! If you are not familiar with beignets, they are a sort of French donut, really just pieces of fried dough covered with powdered sugar. I had heard of them and knew they were popular in New Orleans, but I had never actually eaten one before. I decided now was the time.

So, for one dollar, I watched as the man behind the wooden table, took a small rectangle of dough, placed it in what looked like a wok with oil boiling in it and then took it out after about two minutes, rolled it in powdered sugar and handed it to me in a small paper container. I eagerly took it and bit into it. It was delicious. It was still warm and sort of crunchy. Now, I know why it has such a great reputation as a delicacy not to be missed.

Although it was the middle of winter, fresh corn, tomatoes and avocados were also available. So we loaded up on those and headed home where we ate them for dinner that night.  My only regret was not buying a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade at the stand at the farmer's market.  Oh well, that just gives me a good reason to go back again next time.

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