The best thing for me about farmer's markets is getting more insight into where the food came from, and to be able to talk directly to the people behind it. Most of them are passionate about what they're selling and want to tell you how the food is grown and made. Here's a little info on our first purchases.
Honey Mint Dressing
Made by Joie de Vivre Fine Foods, this dressing has a mayonnaise base infused with chopped mint grown in the owner's townhouse garden, and honey from a West Virginia apiary.
This rich spread was made by the local "honey man" from Manassas, Wild Mountain Honey, Inc. I got to chat with him about making creamed honey (there's no actual cream involved). It's a process that involves heating honey to specific temperatures to keep it from crystallizing, combining it with small bit of creamed honey from a former batch, and keeping it at a consistent 57° F. It's labor-intensive, and the result is a smooth, very spreadable pasteurized honey. While local honey may not provide relief for allergies like many say, it is delicious, and buying it supports local farmers.
I also got some fresh strawberries and a potted rosemary plant from Garner Produce, and the apples were from Kuhn Orchards.
Speaking of apples... I got a few Braeburn apples which are great for baking, so I decided to make some apple muffins tonight. I modified my Whole Grain Raisin Muffin recipe to . Here's what I came up with:
Apple Walnut Muffins
Ingredients (for a dozen muffins):
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Braeburn apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp x 12 turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tray with a small amount of olive oil.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the oats in 2 cups of water, for about 3 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the oats are soft. Make sure they don't burn to the pan while cooking. Once cooked, set them aside.
Whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of the dry ingredient mixture, then add the honey, oil, vanilla extract, beaten egg, and cooked oats. Stir well. Add the finely chopped apples and walnuts and continue stirring until evenly combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tray, filling each well to the top. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar atop each muffin to add a touch of sweetness and a shiny glaze to the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the muffins are firm. Remove them from the muffin tray with a rubber spatula quickly after baking and place them on a wire rack to cool.