Berry Flats and Popcorn.

Another Saturday, another farm market. I swear, we do not live at the market. Also, I promise to stop boring you with endless photos of vegetables. I just get so excited, and the best way to show it is to share it, no? Also, there is a popcorn tutorial at the end of this post. Am I interesting yet?

In total: a loaf of whole grain flax bread, a loaf of apple streusel coffee cake (for Mum), a bunch of rainbow chard, a quart of cherry tomatoes, a head of red leaf lettuce, one giant green zucchini, two pretty flecked zucchini, a bunch of red scallions, four vanilla beans, three saturn peaches, two purple peppers, and two green peppers. And…

a flat of berries. For $18. Yes, you read right: $18 for 12 pints of fresh organic berries. Shady Brook was selling these for $3 a pint, or 2 for $5. But I’ve been shopping at farm markets long enough to know that there is a discount for buying by the flat- I just didn’t expect it to be so substantial. The guy at the stand actually had to make a call to the farm to ask about the price. I was expecting something around $25, which would have still been a great deal. $18 is just criminal.

Another steal: vanilla beans. Buy from a major chain grocery store and you can pay upwards of $10 for two or sometimes even just one bean-  but these beauties cost me a dollar a piece. Wild.

Do you see what I see? 😉

Jack was almost as excited as I was about the berries, and has already eaten his way through two pints of blackberries. One of the stands (I can’t remember which) had this gorgeous rainbow chard, but Jack did not look as thrilled with it.

Red scallions! I had never seen these before, but I had some sliced on top of a salad earlier and they were divine- great oniony flavor with a deep raw twang.

Of course, cherry tomatoes from Milk House. I know I talk endlessly about the Milk House tomatoes, but they truly are the best I’ve ever tasted. Their variety blows me away every time- there are just baskets overflowing with tomatoes, all different sizes, shapes, and colors. I love that I can create my own medley of cherries- it makes for such colorful and flavorful dishes! I didn’t expect this at all, but the yellow/green tomatoes are actually the sweetest! Go figure.

This is the biggest zucchini I have ever seen- it is about the size of my forearm in length and width. The kicker? It only cost us 75 cents. Shopping locally and seasonally: the secret to affording healthy food.

Jack thought that it was so funny that we were taking pictures of the food, and he was eager to help.

But he quickly resorted to his toy cars when the vegetables lost their appeal.

Our fridge is bursting with fresh produce, all of it local and chemical-free.

I spend a few minutes each day thinking about how fortunate we are to have access to fresh food. For us, it is a privilege that we have the option to buy food from the farm it was grown on- we’ve even begun to build relationships with the farmers, and as a result have been invited to see the animals they raise. I am in awe of animals- I love them, but I also see them as marvelous, independent beings that deserve our thanks and appreciation for what they provide us. I am so hopeful that Jack and Carolyn will understand this philosophy of appreciation and respect for the world around them.

By the way, check out my yummy refrigerator pickles! I tried my hand at bread and butter pickles with those adorable little kirby cukes that have been so abundant in the markets. They are deeeelicious! Tangy and sweet, they pair perfectly with a loaded Field Roast veggie dog. I may eventually post a tutorial on how to make these, but they’re everywhere, so if you’re looking for instructions (easy-peasy, let me tell you), just Google ‘refrigerator pickles.’

What I can offer you are simple instructions on how to skip the yucky microwave and bagged popcorn and embrace bulk kernels popped to perfection on the stovetop!

We are all about snackage in our house- because we don’t eat a whole lot of calorie-dense foods, we often grab a snack sometime between lunch and dinner. It’s usually something light- hummus and sliced veggies, homemade granola, or lately, popcorn. I bought some pretty rainbow kernels from the Whole Foods bulk wall a while back, and have had them sitting in my cabinet for weeks. I finally busted them out and had a popcorn feast.

Fun! So first things first- gather your ingredients. You will need…

-popcorn kernels

-a large pot with a (preferably clear) lid

-a drizzle of oil

– any desired toppings

Add a bit of oil to your pan. I use coconut oil because I like the added flavor. Also, it has a very high smoke point, which makes it ideal for situations such as these.

Heat the oil over medium heat. It can be tricky trying to get the temperature right- I usually hover around med-high, since I shake my pan around a lot and need the flame to still reach the bottom of the pot.

When the oil is hot (spatters when water is flicked into it), add your kernels. IMPORTANT: only add a tablespoon or two. Popcorn expands by something like 300%, so even though it doesn’t look like much, that little sprinkling of kernels is going to pop up into an entire bowl of popcorn.

When the kernels are in, cover the pot and…shake! I usually leave mine over the flame and give it a shake every 7-10 seconds. You wan to keep the kernels moving so they don’t burn. Burnt kernels means no pop, which means no popcorn.

The magic should start to happen within a few minutes. Be patient and keep shaking, but don’t stray too far above the heat. Once your kernels start popping, it’ll only last for about 30 seconds. Keep shaking the pot to keep things hot and popping, and only stop when the pops have slowed and you have a good amount of popcorn in your pot.

Be careful when handling the popcorn- the oil may still be hot!

I dump ours into a plastic mixing bowl and add whichever toppings we want. Most of the time, we stick to a little drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, but occasionally we get wild and crack out the sriracha à la V.K. Rees. YUM.

The last time we made popcorn, I turned my back on the bowl and it grew legs and wandered off. I promptly located it amongst Jack’s toys. Curious…

Fresh popcorn is such a great way to get your snack on. It is perfectly bite-sized and mess-free, and can be topped with just about anything. It is also low in calories- about 30 per cup, I believe, and it’s lightness doesn’t fill you up the way hummus or crackers will. I wouldn’t feel guilty about polishing off an entire bowl- fortunately in our house, we like to share with a friend.

And now, I’m off to get some sleep. We have very special visitors coming tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday- this week is going to be a good one!

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2 thoughts on “Berry Flats and Popcorn.

  1. Pingback: Another Market Morning. « Being Elizabeth

  2. Pingback: Raspberry Vanilla Banana Bread with Coconut Lemon Glaze. « Being Elizabeth

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