Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chef At The Market!

I've always had a sense of how the rhythm of life on a farm rises to a fever pitch as the days begin to shorten. Perhaps it's because my extended family used to gather annually for a family reunion in nearby Allegany County (N.Y.) on a great-uncle's dairy farm with farmhands were busy in the fields and milking cows even as we enjoyed potato salad, hot dogs and hamburgers. Or maybe I recollect how my childhood friends who lived on farms were relieved to get back to school each fall, wearing their deep suntans as badges of honor.

These days, we're gaining a new appreciation of the busy-ness of farm life in August. In the midst of everyone's busiest season, the growers who comprise the Potter County Farmers' Market added another task to their to-do lists - orchestrating an outdoor cooking demonstration.
Chef At The Market came together with barrages of e-mails, telephone calls and hurried exchanges of information at the weekly Farmers' Market. This event was the brainchild of Alvie Fourness of Wooleylot Farm and his careful leadership is to be applauded!
As we all tended our tables at the Farmers' Market on Friday, our guests, Chef Butch Davis and Chef Colin Jack, demonstrated ways to use locally-grown vegetables and fruits and locally-made baked goods to concoct mock crab cakes (with zucchini) garnished with beet slaw and corn relish, brushetta (using some of our colorful heirloom tomatoes) and a delicious fruit compote served over pound cake for dessert.
Growing a local food movement is exciting to all of us who are setting up our canopies and tables on a grassy lot in downtown Coudersport each Friday afternoon. I delight in introducing a customer to a carefully-nurtured tomato that is yellow with red stripes or dark brown. And then we'll talk about the potatoes that are red and purple and blue and yellow inside!
It's very satisfying to see folks walk through the Market, making their selections at each canopy and I can only imagine the ways they'll enjoy local foods.
One of the stated goals of the Potter County Farmers' Market is to: 
Cultivate a community in which the values of eating locally are celebrated and promoted.
With our first "Chef At The Market" event, we've taken a giant step forward in realizing this goal for it truly was a celebration Friday afternoon.
Next week it will be business as usual at our Potter County Farmers' Market - Friday afternoon beginning at 1:00 o'clock. If you haven't come before, this is a perfect time to see what it's all about!
A riot of tomatoes - all colors, shapes and sizes!