Important Facts About the Common Ground Farmers’ Market
- Well, it’s a farmers market. So that means all of your produce is fresh and local. It also means that you can ask the farmer exactly how it’s grown, so you know you’re not getting a weird pesticide cocktail, or a peach that seventy different people stuffed in their pants as a joke which really ends up being on you.
- It’s located in what’s called a “food desert,” which means that it brings fresh produce to an area where people don’t have access to healthy, wholesome, affordable food stores.
- It’s also one of the only markets that accepts EBT cards. As a person who has received food assistance, I can tell you that being able to use them at a farmers market would have made a drastic difference in the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that I bought.
- There are demonstrations on how to pickle. FREE demonstrations. No one else is going to teach you how to pickle things for free. No one.
- The farmers will know you, and they will remember what you bought, and they will make personalized recommendations. You may think ‘why would I want that?’ but you do want that. Trust me.
- If you make an effort to shop at Common Ground, the farmers will stay, and it will continue to bring healthy, affordable options to an area that otherwise has none. You—yes you—will be personally responsible for bringing nutrition to people.
When making the decision to go to the grocery store instead of a farmer’s market, my usual deciding factor is convenience—there’s never a market in a place that I want, at the time that I want. So I settle for subpar produce, shipped up from Mexico or Idaho or wherever they grow the things I like to buy, and I go home after a shopping trip that just wasn’t fun.
Enter the Common Ground Farmers Market. Located right outside Rodeph Shalom every Wednesday from 3-7pm, it’s more convenient than going to the supermarket. It definitely makes my produce-purchasing experience about a million percent more enjoyable. I can chat with some friends, wander down to the market, get a collection of tiny peppers I’ve never heard of before along with six or seven zucchini and more corn than I can comfortably carry, and there are my vegetables for the week.
Then, of course, there are the things I didn’t intend to get—like the five or six extra zucchini, or that pint of gorgeous blackberries that MIGHT NOT BE THERE NEXT WEEK SO I NEED TO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW. So what then? Then, you go to Pinterest, find a recipe, and you make that farmers market worthwhile. Here is one that I tried last week and highly recommend.
BLACKBERRY VANILLA SCONES
Now, I’m not going to type out the recipe, because I followed this one pretty exactly. The only things I did differently were:
- I macerated the blackberries in sugar for about an hour and a half because they were a little tart. To do that, I just measured out a cup, and sprinkled on about 2 tbsp of sugar. I stirred until the sugar was blackberry-colored, and then left it out to just chillax until I was ready to start baking. If your blackberries are sweet and ripe and everything you want them to be, then ignore this step.
- Instead of shaping the dough into a round and cutting out eight scones, I used an ice cream scoop (which I also use for cupcakes and muffins) to make drop scones. I like this method a lot better because it makes the whole process easier, and it makes more scones. I made 12 instead of 8, and honestly, I thought they could have been even smaller.
- Once I had everything laid out, I felt like I’d handled the dough too much, so I stuck the whole pan in the fridge for about fifteen minutes. The reason scones are so buttery and delicious is because the butter is cold and it melts while it’s cooking–same for pie crusts and cookies. Chilling it allows the butter to get colder, obviously, so it melts more slowly, which is what you want.
The recipe says the glaze is optional, but I think anyone who ate my scones would agree that the glaze is not optional, and you will seriously regret it if you leave it out. I used a liquid measuring cup to pour it on in that Starbucks design, but feel free to just use a spoon and go crazy. Do note, however, that it is very difficult to make with margarine, and I recommend using real butter (I tried using margarine first, and it didn’t go well).
Tune in soon for some more things I bought at the market, and how I used them. Also, go to the market. Just go. It’ll make you feel good.
- Benay Stein, Clergy Assistant at RS and Dedicated Baker