Thursday, September 19, 2013

Farmstand Haul (Vegan MoFo 2013)

A friend of mine lives in a rather rural area of New Jersey.  The drive to see her is picturesque and relaxing, and I always look forward to visiting with her and her family.  Because a lot of people in her area have considerable, organic vegetable gardens of their own (she herself has an extremely impressive herb garden), there is little need for official farmer's markets.  Instead, on any given day, you can purchase their surplus for a relative pittance.  Many people set up a rudimentary table/tent area on their property (which I didn't feel comfortable photographing), but the woman who runs the farm below takes it to another level: displaying her fruits, vegetables, and fresh-cut flowers (you can make out the tip of the sunflower field on the right of the photo) in an old truck! 

photo credit: LR

We recently took a short tour of what was available in the area on a Sunday as the summer was winding down (better get there early before everything is sold out) and this was my haul, all organic, for a total of $7.


These tomatoes were my favorite; I started eating them, plain, that evening.

The morning after our excursion I realized I hadn't prepared anything to take to work for lunch.  I quickly assembled a salad of arugula, walnuts, soybeans, orange muscat champagne vinegar...and topped it off with some of the tomatoes.  The good news: my simple salad was delicious.  The bad news: I ate it at 11:00am.

The green peppers went, with (Trader Joe's) carrots; (farmer's market) string beans; (canned!) water chestnuts; and onions, into a modified lo mein from The Asian Vegan Kitchen.  This picture is pretty, but when I tried to stir the rice noodles in with the veggies, they pretty much just stayed in a clump. 

With patience and two forks I was able to turn the large clump into a few smaller clumps, but the whole dish was a good reminder that rice noodles do not cooperate and definitely do not lend themselves to good leftovers.  One word: pasty.  I tried to pretty them up for you the best I could.


I have to admit that I could have been significantly more creative with the potatoes; I wound up making two batches of French fries with them!  First I tried them BYOL style: baked with no oil (tossed, instead, with broth/herbs/spices).

They actually came out much better than I expected, but someone neglected to recommend parchment paper and I was left with this mess!

In retaliation, for the next batch I coated the pan and the fries with a light spray of oil along with salt and pepper. 

I still baked them and they were pretty good (no sticking!).  Nowhere near as good as these, but good nonetheless.

I actually forgot about the cucumbers, so one day- long after they should have been wilted but weren't, I quickly mixed up a batch of kalamata olive hummus to eat with them sliced.  For the record, I didn't really love the olive/cucumber combo...bread or crackers would have been better.  But the cukes?  So hardy!

Note: It was my first time making dip in my Vitamix and I was a little perplexed by how to get the rest of my hummus out from within the blades at the bottom. 

In addition to sharing her local bounty with me, that day my friend also sent me home with some goodies from her personal herb garden: fresh mint in numerous varieties.  She's so fancy.

It stayed for well over a week in a cup of water in my fridge as I made mint smoothie after mint smoothie.

And when I say fresh, I mean it.  Check out this free gift with purchase.

Also, this one.

She slipped it into my bag!  The only thing better than fresh, cheap, organic produce is a friend generous with her booze.

Mid-draft update: said friend has since picked up gorgeous string beans from the truckstand.  There was a sign that said, "pay what you think is fair."

Same truck:

off the grid!

P.S. Just because I don't have a theme doesn't mean I can't be inspired by the themes of others.

P.P.S. I'm coming for you, taco cleanse.


  1. now this is my kind of post! More of this, but with less worms!

  2. Yellow pear tomatoes! I used to grow tons of those. They're good, aren't they? The "market" looks like a great source of veggies, and something we city people can only dream about. One nice thing about farmers markets, though, is you only have to go to one place — less scenic for sure. The Vitamix problem requires a narrow silicone spatula and a lot of patience. :)

  3. We have a similar thing in the South West of England where people in rural areas leave their produce, jams and all sorts out for people to buy. It's known as an honestly box here and I wrote about one on Monday. Nice to see that it's a tradition on the other side of the Atlantic.

  4. I've always made dips in my food processor - it's so much easier to clean than a blender, though a Vitamix is probably on another level for multiple things.
    Love this post. Isn't isn't it so wonderful to just have readily edible produce to throw together with one or two pantry staples and have a whole, fancy meal? muscat champagne vinegar dressing sounds real nice.
    It's really great that people can make some money off their surplus, and others can benefit from the bounty.

  5. The sight of those tomatoes kills me! Hurry up down under, summer.

  6. BYOL- I thought you'd like it. Even though I outed you for the silpat omission.

    Andrea- I loved the tomatoes! Thanks for the Vitamix tip; the spatula is in my amazon cart as we speak.

    Clare- I've never heard it called that, but at the official farmstands in the suburbs there's usually a lockbox with a sign that says "this area is under surveillance;" is that the same? ;-)

    foodfeud- It WAS kind of great. I have so much anxiety about food going to waste, but I'm slowly realizing that if it looks like I won't be able to finish fruit I can freeze it for smoothies. Veggies can just be- gasp, cooked instead of eaten in a salad...

    Cindy- sending it your way; fall is here!


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