Yesterday (yup, the same day that I went to the farmers’ market) was the last market of the season, so to celebrate the end of a prosperous winter season and to kick-off the summer, the Palisades Farmers’ Market held a special dinner on Saturday night.
It was open to everyone from the community, and when I arrived the dinner was already in full swing, with some people lining up to buy their tickets and others starting to eat under the twinkling lights.
The first thing that most people did when they walked into the lawn was buy their tickets.
These red stubs (which you bought for $1 apiece) were literally your ticket to dinner because they were the “currency” used to buy each dish.
All the cold food was laid out on long tables, and you had your choice from a variety of different salads and appetizer-ish things.
A bruschetta of mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and arugula on multi-grain bread.
Potatoes with an arugula and mint pesto.
A cheese plate with baguette, apple, and 3 different types of cheeses.
A bread basket from Balthazar’s Bakery. Mmmm… carbs….
Bean empanadas, served with a dollop of salsa.
And a salad of asparagus and snap peas.
Everything looks absolutely AMAZING, right? All the ingredients were local and just picked the day before. The people who organized the dinner also enlisted the help of local businesses that often sell at the market to get some of the stuff like the empanadas.
Once you chose what you want, you would put them on your tray and hand over your tickets to one of the people working behind the tables, who’d give you back your “change” in tickets.
It was a pretty nifty system.
I’d gotten 10 tickets for free (thanks Carol!) because I was taking pictures for the event. But I still hemmed and hawed forEVER, trying to decide what I wanted. Gah, I suck at making decisions when it comes to food; I’ll go back and forth forever. In the end, I decided on the 3 things that looked the best to me.
Bruschetta (4 tickets), the asparagus and snow peas (3 tickets), and the potatoes (2 tickets). They were all delicious and fresh, but my favorite was the potato salad. I didn’t think I’d like it because it had mint it – I was kind of expecting it to taste a little like chewing gum. But it wasn’t like that at all! The mint just added a really refreshing note to the potatoes, which were well-seasoned with herbs and onions.
But you didn’t think that this was all the food, did you? There was a grill set up on the other side, manned by people cooking up a sustainably-raised protein storm!
The grill area worked with the same ticket system, although most of the items were pricier.
There was steak…
And both sweet and spicy sausages for rolls.
For the more seafood-hearted, there were also scallops and swordfish, although they went pretty fast.
I’ve been trying to eat less meat these days, so I didn’t eat anything from the grill; it was reaaalllly tempting though, standing there taking pictures while all the delicious aromas were wafting into my face.
For beverages, there was chocolate milk, lemon soda, and apple cider for the kids, and a few different types of wine for the adults.
Melissa from grounded. Coffee also had her espresso/coffee/tea table set up, so people could get hot drinks.
After the beginning rush of getting tickets and choosing food, everyone eventually settled down to enjoy their food and company.
On the other side of the lawn, the PFM crew had set up a raffle area, where you could buy tickets and try to get one of the dozen prize baskets.
But sure enough, after everyone had finished their savory courses, people started heading over to…
THE DESSERT TABLE.
With 2 kinds of pies: cheery and strawberry-rhubarb.
Strawberries with crème fraiche,
They all looked so good… If you though choosing DINNER was hard, how about desserts? And it looks like I wasn’t the only one who had trouble deciding…
I’ve always wanted to try rhubarb (the stalks that look like pink celery), so I opted for the strawberry rhubarb pie.
Wow. WOW. This blew all of my expectations out of the water. The filling was sweet, but countered by the tart rhubarb and the just-salty-enough crust that was both flaky and crumbly. Looking at this picture makes me wish I had another slice in front of me…
I was full to bursting after dessert, so I just sat down and enjoyed the people around me. I think some of the kids had too much dessert because they were preeeetty hyper. Or are little kids usually like that?
I had ridden my bike here, and I had to ride it back home before it got too dark, so I couldn’t stay for the raffle and the end of the dinner. But the entire time I had stayed, there was just this great sense of community, even amongst people who didn’t know each other. It’s amazing how gathering around the same table to eat, talk, and laugh together can be so enjoyable. And with food that this good and clean, it was hard not to have an amazing time.
So even though I went to the dinner by myself, I still had an awesome time. This was only the 2nd year doing this dinner, but it was a HUGE success. And with the growing community of environment-conscious foodies, I can only imagine what this is going to look like next year; I’m already looking forward to it!