Sunday, June 6, 2010

Amherst Farmers' Market

The 2nd stop on my farmers market tour of the pioneer valley was the Amherst Farmers' Market.

The Amherst market runs late April through mid-November and is always hopping. I'd been to this one before, so I knew to expect a bigger crowd - and more choices - than last week's Tuesday Northampton market. The downside of this market is that it's a little more rushed because there are so many people there, but for the convenience of a Saturday, I suppose it's to be expected.

This week at the market, we found lots of greens again - lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale and so on. There were also some early tomatoes, some of the first strawberries of the season, lots of flowers, and a few options for grass-fed meat, goat cheese, fresh eggs, and homemade breads and pastries.

Mr. ValleyWriter and I found a lot of what we wanted at the Atlas Farm stand. Atlas is a certified organic farm from nearby Deerfield, MA. We got several pounds of greens and some tomatoes there. We also hit up Round Hill Orchard, from Southampton, MA, for some freshly picked strawberries (beautifully ripe and sweet - yum!!) and Sanjha Farm again for their goat cheese (roasted red pepper this time).

All in all it was a good haul, which Mr. VW dutifully carried back to the car and unwittingly posed for his usual parting shot...

As a P.S., while I didn't need any meat this week, I was excited to see several farm stands selling a variety of cuts - from grass-fed ground beef to dry aged steaks to pork tenderloins. One of the farms, Austin Brothers, even has a meat CSA - which is a new one on me, but sounds like a great idea. Basically, you commit to buying a certain number of pounds a month and they deliver a variety of cuts to you at a pick up location. Even the smallest package is only $9/lb., which is a pretty fair price for grass-fed and dry aged beef (around the valley, anyway). The prices get even better the more you buy (though I'm not sure how much my side-by-side freezer could hold - or how creative I could get with potentially unfamiliar cuts of meat). Anyone out there try a meat CSA yet? What were your thoughts?

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