I admit, it might seem a bit strange to seek out a farmer’s market while on a hotel based vacation. The reason you go to a farmer’s market is to buy the fresh produce and food you are planning to turn into delicious nature-inspired dishes over the next few days. Really fresh food requires only the slightest of preparation, nature delivers things that are pretty darned tasty when they are first harvested! So what is point in admiring food you are not actually able to cook with? A good market is sooo much more than just what the vendors are selling. It is about the connection to the land, the farmers, the food community that enjoys the market, the tastes, the musicians, the children and even the dogs. The people you intermingle with in a market community will usually give you the best tourist experience a city unknowingly offers. You all have something in common, and it is easy to get the folks here to share stories, and cooking tips.
Living in Chicago, it is so easy to end up with food envy. This market I visited was in Tucson at the end of April, our market was no where even close to being open. I asked a vendor how long they had been open. Since 7am this morning! No, I mean when did you first open? 17 years ago. Try again. No, I mean what month did you open this year? Now the surprised look on his part. Well we are always open, every Saturday of the year. While I love living in Chicago, there are some things that could easily be traded in. It is also tremendous fun to see what local markets have that we do not. Lots of freshly picked nuts. The photo above is a bag of green chiles, in the background is a metal drum roaster, the chiles are roasted by the batch and the turning drum keeps them from buring.When they are finished they will be sold as roast poblanos. She also roasted garlic and shallots, the bags you bought were still warm. Pickled eggs, dayri, zahidi, bee pollen, and best of all, never local in Chicago, fresh citrus. Not to mention a really great pulled pork sandwich from a man in Tucson who came by way of a generation spent in Memphis. Just the most wonderful way to spend a morning if you can, any market, anywhere in the world. Maybe no cooking, but lots of snacks to take back to the room. (maybe roasted garlic is not the ideal aroma for a few days in your room!)