“Playing With Your Food” is a weekly post highlighting a few of the many great uses for the wide range of produce and artisan food at the Salem Farmers’ Market, a Salem Main Streets project. While we can never predict exactly what our farms will be able to bring each week, we do our best to reflect some of the fun items we’ve found recently and what’s likely to be available for the upcoming week. Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas to play with, and inspire you to try some new things at the market.
Of course, as hard as it is to admit with the delicious baked goods you can get at the market, man does not live on bread alone. Sometimes, you need something to drink with that bread, too! Thankfully, we have you covered at the Salem Farmers’ Market.
Mill River Winery is a main stay of the market. Based in Rowley, Rick and Donna and their team are always happy to introduce you to their wide array of wines. If you’re at all suspicious of New England wines, a few sips will quickly change your mind. From their “Naked Chardonnay” to “Plum Island Red Dory”, Mill River has a wine for every palate. Don’t forget that a splash of wine is also a great way to liven up your pasta dish with fresh produce from the market!
We were thrilled this year to introduce newcomers Far From the Tree Hard Cider. Salem locals Al and Denise Snape have only been in business for a few months now, but you would never know it from the strength of their product and their devoted following. A quick sampling of their three primary varietals – Roots (dry cider), Spring (with hops and mint), and Rind (Saison-style with coriander and orange rind) – will change everything you thought you knew about cider.
Of course, making your own is always the most satisfying! Whether you use them as an alcoholic aperitif, as a mixer for cocktails, or even as maple syrup alternative on pancakes (Yes. Do this.), cordials and fruit syrups are a great way to make your seasonal market produce last longer. Here are a few ideas:
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cordial or Peach Cordial – the hardest part is waiting
- Raspberry Acetosa Mojito – this ruby red acetosa has a delightful zing and is just so pretty
- Watermelon, Mint, and Cider Vinegar Tonic – add to water for a cocktail alternative, or splash a little in a gin and tonic for an entirely new dimension. The “pickled watermelon” by-product is also crazy addictive.
- Blackberry Basil Syrup – you can make this syrup for ice cream as directed, but we like to just make a jar of it to use in summer cocktails or (gasp!) on pancakes or waffles.