I'm gonna sit around and eat lettuce all day. Take that, West Virginia radio dork! (All photos/Gail Gedan Spencer)
The city I live in is about as suburban as one can get. Strip malls, big malls, mini malls (even a vacant mall) and lots of big chain grocery stores. So I was thrilled to discover that Plantation just started a green market three weeks ago at a city park.
It's the perfect antidote to watching last night's Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, where the poor schoolkids couldn't tell an eggplant from egg salad. Oliver, a chef who I've long admired, has a tall task ahead of him to win the hearts and minds and stomachs of Huntington, W.Va. (especially that dork of a radio host, who has something against lettuce).
I pulled into the parking lot and discovered that the green market was a little smaller than I expected, but better to start out small and feel out the neighborhood. And the neighborhood was loving it. By the time I left, the crowd was three-deep at the row of folding tables.
The goal is to have mostly local produce. And there was, with a smattering of food from throughout Florida and places like Mexico and Costa Rica. But it was all certified organic, except for the hot-house produce, which is harder to certify since it's not pulled from the dirt, explained one of the employees from Baleigh's Organic Produce, which runs the market.
So what did I buy?
That gorgeous head of red-leaf lettuce, at the top of the page.
... A couple of heirloom tomatoes, which at $6.99 a pound were a splurge but totally worth it. They weren't labeled but I think the purplish one might have been a Cherokee and the green one (which stays green when ripe) was probably a Green Zebra.
I bought a few carrots, which were as sweet as candy, some sweet potatoes and white potatoes and ...
... A couple of monster onions, which were edible from root to tip.
I used one to make a Three Onion Tart, a Weight Watchers recipe so old that it still used exchanges instead of Points. The recipe called for onions, leeks and scallions, so I subbed out all three parts of this big guy. I even made the crust from scratch. Usually I just punk out and buy premade stuff, but I still have a bunch of Ultragrain flour in my freezer, so I was able to sneak in some extra fiber.
Next week, fingers crossed, there will be Rainbow Carrots, which they said they had last week.
While I shopped today, in the back of my head was writer Michael Pollan's credo:
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
That is downright revolutionary.