Most people seek out farmer’s markets for the heirloom tomatoes, Silver Queen corn, and unusual apple varieties. Me? I go for the meat.
Down the road there’s a tiny farmer’s market behind the Springtown Volunteer fire station on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 to 6:00. A couple of the local produce farms have a stand. Sometimes the coffee roaster from Pipersville shows up. A nearby dairy sells yogurt and cheese, cow and goat. The township has a table with weekly Xeroxed fliers on neighborhood essentials like recycling, summer fairs, and mosquito control. I like that.
The first week I showed up there was a farm selling ethically raised beef. I figure anyone selling frozen steaks out of a picnic cooler has to be the real deal, so I happily surrendered $16 for a generous one-pound sirloin that I promptly spiced- rubbed and grilled. Rich, almost livery flavored, chewy but not tough, this steak reminded of the ones my Dad used to grill when I was a girl. It’s interesting—subtle shifts in breeding and production over forty years and I hadn’t really noticed I was literally eating a different animal.
The following week Happy Farms joined the group, selling pasture-raised chickens and their eggs. After picking up another steak, I headed over to their stand. For $32 I got a large chicken, a pound of Italian chicken sausage and a dozen eggs. Different animal, different week, same experience. Unlike the weak-boned, flabby chickens I’ve gotten used to over the years, this one was firm, taut, clean. Although more perishable with delicate yolks, the eggs looked and tasted bright.
It was raining this past Wednesday, but I was sure glad I went. Happy Farms had added lamb to its menu. Unlike beef and chicken, lamb’s not as easy to find. I would have bought shanks (you know David adores them) but I decided on ground lamb, which I turned into excellent Greek flavored meatballs.
Wanting to try the recipe once more (four days yet till the farmers set up their booths on Wednesday), I phoned the local grocery store. “Do you sell ground lamb?” I asked. “Nope,” the butcher replied. I broadened my search. “Do you ever sell ground lamb?” “Nope.” No apologies. None of the usual offers to try and get it. Just, “Nope.”
You know how it goes. Scarcity creates demand. What comes around once in a blue moon becomes precious. It’s funny—eating vegetarian two days a week has made me appreciate meat, want it. That and paying dearly for it. It’s good to yearn, hmm?
It’s like I tell you girls, charge what you’re worth.