The Syracuse Regional Market has expanded considerably in the last few years. Where once it was just veggies, and some of them the kind that I call the dumpster dive veggies (day old tropical fruits with sticky tags on them); it has now many other choices. You can purchase honey or NY State Maple Syrup products, fish, bison and free range meats, cheeses, home baked goods, home canned goods, you can learn about being a Mennonite, or a Muslim, you can sample wines and coffee. There are soap sellers (locally made) and handcrafted wares and there is even what I call the junk barn, plastic, leather, cooking stuff and hippie clothing.
Yesterday I went with my friend M. early in the morning. I was having her and my two gays over for dinner. I already had red bulghar wheat and I thought whatever I don’t get I can run to the store for. I purchased a nice variety of locally grown veggies peppers, cucumbers, radishes, scallions and heirloom tomatoes. I have to say I am intrigued by heirloom tomatoes. At first I was confused about determining ripeness but I have started to just kind of touch them and if they are tender I figure they are ready to eat. The thing is they taste really great. The red mushy flavorless variety available in the grocery store is nothing like the ones I grew up eating fresh out of the garden. I try to grow potted tomatoes in my yard, but I haven’t been tremendously successful, and the earth here is fabulous for growing perennials but after eight years of trying veggies in the clay soil I realized that container gardening was the way to go. My friend M. and her guy have it down to a science. In fact she provided some Italian parsley for the meal from her garden. I have a pathetic container garden. Mostly because I refuse to use chemical fertilizers. I need a horse!
I bought locally made and some organic cheeses. I bought two bottles of locally made wine. One for dinner and a rich full bodied red to drink later. By myself. I don’t know many people who like the wonderful flavor of a good cabernet or in this case a meritage. Phenomenal. M. bought a loaf of onion gorgonzola bread from the local bread gurus. And I forgot to run into the Greek Market right next door to get olives, but my two guy friends picked that up for me instead.
I made a big bowl of Taboule and a tray of fresh cut veggies and had hummus on hand to dip it in. I made a fruit salad with nectarines, a mango from the Asian people at the market, and some fresh local blueberries. We had the bread and the cheeses too and olives. It was really a wonderful meal. J. and I are practicing Buddhists and once you start to sit regularly you find yourself wanting less meat. Particularly the supermarket variety who spend there sad little lives imprisoned, force fed and injected beyond recognition. Interesting that both of us grew up on grass fed beef and real chicken and I on venison. We actually told M. last night that there is no comparison in flavor to what you buy in the stores today, like those mushy flavorless tomatoes. She is just enough younger and was raised in a large metropolitan area, and not in farm country as J. and I were.
We did have some ice cream with caramel sauce on it for dessert, which we ate while J. and I kicked M. and B.’s butts in several rounds of the board/card game Sequence. We called ourselves the Dharma buddies, our team.
I wake hungry but I can feel the healthy food’s effects on my body. I like that.