Local Goodness at the Market Square Farmer’s Market
Us Knoxvillian’s are lucky to live near so many small towns — towns that are home to thriving farms and local craftsmen. These farmers and craftsmen bring many delightful goodies to the area’s farmers markets.
Saturday we visited the Market Square Farmer’s Market, located in Market Square in the heart of downtown Knoxville. Everything at the market is grown or made by farmers and craftsmen in the East Tennessee area. At the MSFM you can find an abundance of produce, eggs, herbs, plants, locally-raised meats, artisan crafts, coffee and much more. This visit, we first had breakfast at Tupelo Honey Cafe before wandering through the market to see what goodies we could find to prepare fresh, tasty meals for the upcoming week.
Mostly, we visit the market to acquire fresh vegetables, meats and herbs. Today, however, our first stop was at long-time vendor Mary LeClair’s booth, Color Ur World. Caroline is a fan of tie-dye, so we stopped to browse through Mary’s creations. If I shop by myself I work from a list and am 99% successful at picking up just what I need. Alas, this time I caved and Caroline went home with a new sundress. Mary is a super nice lady and gave us tips on how to care for the dress, as well as how to make fitting adjustments as Caroline grows.
Next stop was the Crosswind Farm booth. Owners Michael and Donna began farming and selling to the public 30 years ago, growing produce such as lettuce, squash, onions, cauliflower and much, much more. We picked up enough lettuce for a week’s worth of salad, plus some yellow & zucchini squash. It’s not the first time I’ve purchased produce from Michael & Donna and it’s always extremely fresh and flavorful.
After buying our produce, we headed over to Pop Culture’s cart to say hi to Jason. Jason has been making a variety of gourmet popsicles, like strawberry lemonade, orange cream, Nutella, oatmeal raisin and many other fantastic and unique flavors, for the past several years. Caroline’s favorites are orange cream and Nutella!
Next stop was Brewer’s Mushrooms. Brewer’s Mushrooms is located in Dandridge, TN; they grow a variety of fresh oyster, shiitake and lion’s mane mushrooms. We picked up a small quantity of the lion’s mane and oysters….awesome flavor! We’ve sauteed them for a burger topping and chopped them into a salad. Sauteeing them in plain ol’ butter in an iron skillet delivers a rich, flavorful side dish.
Jackson Straights Farm was next on the list of stops. A family-owned 100% organic cattle farm located in Thorn Hill, TN, Jackson Straights Farm is run by Tom Cate and his son, Jordan Cate. We talked quite a bit with Jen & Jordan Cate, two very friendly, knowledgeable people who gave us good information about their product. We picked up some ground sirloin and an arm roast.
Finally, we stopped at Flour Head Bakery’s booth and picked up a cinnamon roll treat for Caroline, as well as a homemade rhubarb poptart! Flour Head is owned by Mahasti Vafaie, who also owns The Tomato Head Restaurant, a favorite of Knoxvillians for flavorful, made-from-the freshest-vegetables-produce-and-herbs pizzas.