Mandolin music brought me back to life.

Well, I have been very busy. From mid July to early August I have been traveling, hosting guests, and starting a new job. It has been marvelous, but it also means I’ve missed a few SSFM’s and a few blog postings. This is a little snippet of the July 27th market, and I’ll post another about the August 10th market soon.

July 27th, 2013:

The day was warm, and I was exhausted. I’d flown back from Maine the night before after what can only be described as a two week art bender at Haystack, where my finest culinary experience was eating fresh lobsters on the rocks with seals swimming by, but I digress. I’m pretty sure we ate ALL the breakfast sandwiches available at the market, drank iced coffee and juice, and collapsed onto the grass, too exhausted to make the extensive 1 mile journey home until the food I’d just consumed provided nourishment. Usually, we get to the market right at 8am, buy our produce and are out of there by 9:30 or 10. Good for taking care of business (TCB) but bad for watching the entertainment. I am SO GLAD we didn’t miss it this time because the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra (their performance name) was truly fantastic.


They are a non-profit organization, called the Bonne Amie Musical Circle, who have been in operation continuously since 1900. In their mission they state that Members of the Circle shall preserve, study, and perform before the public music that is written or adapted for the mandolin orchestra on traditional mandolin orchestra instruments. Their website has a section of historical photos from the various eras, including this photo of the band trying their luck at performing in an unusual setting.

Waech In A Boat 2

On this fine morning, they played traditional songs. There was amusing banter between the cellist and the guest singer (the two with microphones). There were little kids dancing. There was a big ol’ smile on my face. It was a good reminder to forget those household chores on Saturday morning, sink into the market and experience all it has to offer.


We didn’t buy much food, as our garden is starting to produce, but we did get apricots from Door County, which were positively amazing, and a few hunks of havarti.


And now, for the 7/27/2013 DOG OF THE WEEK!


Meet Gilly Rose! This dog was so cute and funny, with a tuft of hair on top of her head, and a little beard, leaning up agains her mom lovingly, we couldn’t resist. She is a black lab-poodle mix, bred by a high school student who sold the puppies to family friends in an effort to raise money for college. The best part is that all the owners get together every year for a dog birthday party, the dogs are now 7.5 years old.

More coming soon!

Would you like powdered sugar on that?

When we arrived to the farmers market this morning we were FAMISHED!!! Perhaps it was the warm weather, or rather the bike ride to the market since the weather was finally good enough. Either way, ice coffee from Anodyne and a crepe was just what the doctor ordered. Believe it or not, this was our first time to La Creperie! It was fascinating to watch the process, especially the use of the crepe rake. We ordered one apricot jam and when asked “Would you like powdered sugar on that?” we thankfully paused, for the response was fantastic, “You gotta have powdered sugar, it’s what makes it low cal.” Though our crepe was amazing, it didn’t quite fill us up, so we trotted over to Ney’s for a sausage, egg and cheese sandwhich. Mmmm… Fitting that our morning was so centered on eating at the market because a reporter from the Journal Sentinel was roaming about doing research for an article about prepared food vendor culture at farmers markets.





To fill our fridge, we purchased a bunch of onions, crimini mushrooms, strawberries, spinach, and eggs. We also stopped by the Clock Shadow Creamery booth and tried the ricotta and the quark. Quark is a german cultured cheese with a unique punch of flavor, and these urban cheese mongers take it a step farther by providing many flavored varieties, as well as a website page full of quark recipes. If you haven’t stopped by their cheese factory in Walker’s Point, I highly recommend it. Not only can you indulge in a scoop of Purple Door Ice Cream, but you can also check out the innovative Clock Shadow Building.


This morning we also bought and got a lesson in beeswax. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and is always ready to share. He sells cappings beeswax, which is produced by the bees from ingested honey, it takes 10 lbs of honey to produce 1 lb of wax. There are endless uses, fixing a squeaky door, cooking, I’ve always seen it used by bookbinders to wax their string. Beeswax has an indefinite shelf life, according to Jim, bees vacuum seal their honeycombs with cappings wax, and if you found it one hundred years later, you could open it and eat the honey with no processing. An amazing product well worth researching.


And without further ado, here is our choice for ‘DOG OF THE WEEK


A Siberian Husky named Ramone (who was also there with a dog companion, another Siberian named Ziggy). According to their dog mom and dad who have had Siberians for 30 years, they are a difficult breed. Because they are do-ers you must give them something to do or else they’ll find something to do, but they are also very fun and loving. 

There will be no farmers market next week, but you can still stop by to see the ‘South Shore Frolics and Parade.’ Till next time!

A White Mulberry?!?

Well, I wish I could start this blog without mentioning the sprit it takes to overcome the dreary and cold rain, but it looks like we’ll just have to hope for more inviting weather next week. As per usual, the market was bustling this morning despite the weather, and we had a jolly good time.




First thing was a stop at The National. We had heard tremendous things about their French Toastwich, with ham and gruyere, served with lingonberry jam. Let’s just say, it did not disappoint, and we can most certainly recommend this tasty treat.  Nell, the owner, said she’s been coming to the market for 10 years and is thrilled to be a vendor.




This week, we thought we’d go ahead and try some items that we’ve been considering. At Oly’s we got a bag of Wisconsin-milled Steel-cut Oats. They were very informative, giving us lots of great explanations, tips, and even a wonderful sample of their granola. We also purchased some Bee Pollen from Batabee Apiaries. This beautiful bottle is to be stored in the freezer,  and when you take one teaspoon a day it does wonders for allergies. How do you consume it? According to bee keeper Jim, there are many options; on yogurt, in cereal, by spoon, just any way to get it in your mouth!


This weeks bounty!


The farmers were all in good spirits as we picked up shiitake mushrooms, strawberries, garlic scapes and a loaf of pane rustico bread. We got into a great conversation with the lovely April from LOTFOTL (acronym for Living Off The Fat of the Land) and purchased sugar snap peas, a cucumber, and WHITE MULBERRIES!!! We were particularly admiring their signs, the QR codes lead you directly to the LOTFOTL blog with recipes.


LOTFOTL Broccoli


We were positively entertained this morning. Our Organ Grinder was playing music from “My Fair Lady,” one of my favorite movies. And there was live dancing from Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance. They were wonderful, and were inspiring a little girl who was doing some rather sophisticated mimicry. If you’ve never researched belly dance, I would highly recommend it. There is a rich history, and my favorite aspect is how beneficial belly dance is for pregnant women and the birthing process!


Belly Dance


Last but not least, allow us to introduce the ‘DOG OF THE WEEK’ 





The delightful Winnie (seen in the second picture with her two fluffy dog siblings who were equally as delightful) is a 190 lb Newfoundland. Winnie’s mom had SO MANY fantastic facts to share. For example, did you know that Newfoundland dogs are swimmers with webbed feet? Apparently, there is a great story about a dog who saved 92 drowning people. As well, Newfoundland dogs used to be trained as nannies for children as young as two and three, just like ‘Nana’ in Peter Pan.

Till next week!

Delightful all the same.

Even though we all woke up to a rainy morning last Saturday, the market was still a success. Our neighborhood is most certainly dedicated to good food. I arrived promptly at 8:00am, and could only stay a little while, as my dear friend and I were about to embark on a road trip to visit my parents in Kentucky.


My visiting, trip-accompanying friend lives outside of Madison and frequents the famous Dane County Farmers’ Market with her organic farmer boyfriend who is a vendor there. She gave me fresh eyes at our market and honed in on several produce items that she thought were particularly interesting and well presented including: baby beets, the ‘Mushroom Medley’ bag, and natural insect repellant from St. Ann’s Center.


We ended up buying (and can highly recommend) a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich at Ney’s Big Sky, asparagus, rhubarb (displayed on a flamingo table cloth that I absolutely adored), crimini mushrooms from River Valley Kitchens, green tea bubble tea and banana rangoon’s from Cafe Lolo, and sugar snap peas as a road trip snack (so much better than nasty ol’ french fries don’t you agree?).


Last but not least we found two popular and adorable puppies who were a natural choice for



The three photos are necessary to really capture how squirmy these little week-old Yorkie siblings Lola and Hunter really are. Best of luck to their new mom, who literally couldn’t take a step without being surrounded by leashes and stopped by adoring fans.

See you next week!

SSFM is back!!!

After a long, cold, oppressive spring, my husband and I just went to the first South Shore Farmers Market of the 2013 season!  Last year we started going weekly, and quickly found it was our favorite activity of the week.  What’s not to like?  Food directly from your farmers that tastes better than anything from a grocery store (and that you can get even if your own little back yard garden isn’t doing as well as you’d like), people watching (and meeting when you’re brave enough to strike up a conversation), delightful dogs, flowers, entertainment…  I loved it so much last year I asked Adam, one of the managers of the market who I happen to know through art circles, if it was okay if I began contributing to the blog.  Not only will it extend my favorite activity, but will also give me that encouragement to talk to more folks while there.  

We bought a small, but lovely assortment of things this morning.


1. Sven’s Cafe, 2 Cups of Coffee, $3.50 (plus a $1.00 tip)

We begin every farmers market with a cup of coffee, this week from Sven’s Cafe, and a casual stroll around the market to see what’s available and acclimate to the crowd. 


2. Wild Flour Bakery, Pane de Chapmpagine, $5.50

Second stop, Wild Flour bakery to get a loaf of Pane de Champagne, a half sour dough.  Our lovely vendor ladies (whose names I forgot to jot down) informed us that Wildflour Bakery does 35 markets a week, and that not only is SSFM their favorite, but it is also the market that requires the most trays of muffins, by a long shot. 


3. Willoway Farm, Asparagus, $4.50

Next, we went to grab some Asparagus (a rare thing for our Market, but possibly the only perk of this cold grey spring).  To our dismay one of the vendors had already sold out by 9:15am, so we frantically scanned the market until we found the only three bunches left at Willoway Farm.  After the security of getting that asparagus in our bag, and ogling the Lovage or ‘poor man’s celery’, we had the pleasure of speaking to Jacqui (from the farm) and her delightfully enthusiastic assistant Kori who lives nearby.  Willoway Farm is new this year to the SSFM, and with the gorgeous produce displayed with great sophistication, we are clearly lucky to have them here. 


4. Bata Bee, Honey Cough Drops, $3.00

This is the place that we go to get delicious honey and honey related products, as well as words of wisdom from bee keeper Jim.  We spent a good long time here, indulged on the not-too-sweet but most certainly healing Honey Cough Drops while absorbing life lessons. 


5. Tao Farm, Tai Chili Peppers, $3.00

I couldn’t resist these beautiful, tiny, dried peppers.  The vender likes to flavor her cooking oil with them, whenever a bit of heat is needed.  She advised I keep them in a paper bag to preserve them from moisture.  She spoke a little of the long cold spring, “too little rain last year, too much this year.”  Their lettuce looked amazing, though we didn’t buy any, as lettuce is something we grow ourselves with great success.


6. Xiong’s Produce, Spring Onions, $1.00

These spring onions were quite unique and will be a welcome addition to salads (and any other thing we cook) I have no doubt. 


7. Der Drehorelmann, Organ Music, $1.00

How could we resist a small donation to John Miller, Organ Grinder.  He comes to almost every farmers market and adds so much to the ambiance.  It’s difficult to speak with him, as he is quite busy turning the crank, but one day I’ll catch him between songs. 



Last but not least, allow me to introduce


‘Dog of the Week’ 


A one and a half year old Shar Pei named “Homer.” Our neighbors helped us pick him out.  


Til next week!


This week, Shrubs!


We’ve been experimenting with shrubs, the sweet/tart/syrupy liquid preserve that was once an almost lost bit of American culinary heritage. It’s enjoyed with and without alcohol.

Here displayed are three variations: Door County plum shrub with apple cider vinegar, Meyer Lemon shrub with ACV and buckwheat honey, and a plum/lemon shrub with meyer lemon juice instead of vinegar.

The recipe is 1:1:1… equal parts sugar, vinegar/acid, and fruit. You can speed it up with heat, or let it soak in the fridge to preserve the more delicate flavors. It’s incredibly fun and easy.. and if I can manage to save it, I look forward to a summery cocktail in the dark days of winter!