Friday, October 18, 2013

Madison Farmer's Market- worth the drive!

Last weekend, we went to a wedding in Madison, Wisconsin.  That was the perfect opportunity to go to the Madison Farmer's Market, one of the largest in the country!  It is held on Saturday mornings around the Wisconsin Capital building and is so much fun! 

The market is  held on all four sides of the Wisconsin State Capital building. 
This was a warm and foggy fall morning.
Most of the farmers lived within an hour of Madison.  I really was impressed with the variety of things being grown in the region.

 gorgeous large orange and purple beets

organic carrots

romesco- that delicious Italian vegetable!  very difficult to find around this part of the country.

Lots of fall foliage and flowers

Beautiful greens

Take a look at this cool pumpkin! It is pink!!

All kinds of peppers!

Artful display of radishes!

There were lot's of baked goods- pies, scones, and breads available, along with jams and jellies! 
 Fresh apple cider donuts and blueberry hand pies went home with us too!  

One of the most unusual items at the market was the Lions Mane mushroom.
  We had to try it   for dinner and it was delicious! 
we followed the directions and used just a little olive oil in a very hot pan! We then quickly tossed them with a little butter and yes- they did taste like lobster!

One of the largest cauliflowers that I have ever seen!
Unfortunately my camera battery went dead and I did not  get pictures of the sausages, cured meats and smoked fish that were available.  We purchased farm raised deer back strap, smoked trout and smoked beef and took it home to experiment.  The deer back strap was simply grilled on a black iron grill pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side in olive oil and then placed in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes.  We made a merlot and mushroom sauce to serve with it!  Not being a venison fan, I must say that these were delicious- right up there with filet mignon.  Tender, juicy and very lean, I will definitely prepare them again!  It's fun to experiment!
I couldn't wait to try the "purple green beans".  The farmer told me to prepare them like regular green beans and they would taste the same.! 

We purchased purple green beans to try-
But as they cooked, they turned greener and greener! ( I was envisioning those purple beans with dark greens and diced red tomatoes- would be so pretty on the plate!)
After I did this, I looked up purple green beans and found this site! Should have done that first while I was researching how to cook the deer!! What would we do without the internet????
Here is an excerpt from this site!
Tips for Purple Green Beans

One thing I'd like to add here are some cooking tips for purple green beans. A lot of home cooks take them home, boil them up and are very disappointed when the color bleeds out and they're left with green green beans.                (that was me!!!)
Once heat is applied to purple green beans they will loose their color. Most chef's agree the best way to cook them and have them retain their best color is to "butter baste" them. If you want to blanch them cookbook author Harold McGee book suggests you add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water to help retain their color.
Oh well- live and learn!
I could not resist the flower bouquets!

Magnificent bouquets of flowers for only $8.00!!
 And they looked great in the vintage  culinary trophy in the kitchen!

Full of kale roses and large dahlias!
It is definitely worth the 2 hour 15 minute drive from my house to go back! We took the back roads through  Lake Geneva to get home and the leaves were turning.  It was such a peaceful and pretty drive through many small Wisconsin towns.    The perfect fall day!


Laurell Banner said...

Such a fun weekend and beautiful wedding.
Not to mention the Sunday morning bonus.
The market was outstanding. Thought I was back in Europe.
Defiantly worth a trip back to Madison.

Katha said...

Wow! Gorgeous! Glad you enjoyed it. Joce and I sure missed out!

Christy said...

We definitely need another road trip back before Thanksgiving....the tomatoes I bought were delish and my flowers lasted a long time! Bought a few scones, too. A truly wonderful market!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

What beautiful produce and you took such lovely photos. Really pretty and delicious too!

Emily said...

I grew up near Madison and wish I had access regularly to that market! One of the best! I agree...

irish juanitas said...

love all the pictures of different vegetables and flowers. great!

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