Is it Possible to have Too Much Farmer’s Market Produce?
I found Brother’s Marvin 79, and Nolan 68, one August afternoon in their tiny farm stand at the Park City Farmer’s Market and since then, eating this summer has been glorious.
My relationship with the Birt brothers started innocently enough at the end of my shopping trip that day. Hand’s full, lugging my bounty back to the car I came to a full stop….. to look just a little bit more. Maybe it was the beauty of their produce that caught my eye? Those tiny tomatoes and raspberries lined up in pressed cardboard cups, green beans bundled up neatly, and boxes of cucumbers smiling up at me? Or maybe it was two quiet old-timer’s? Both men in red baseball caps, one in baby blue coveralls that no one wears anymore standing in front of their hard work- that caused me to set down my bags of produce in front of their stand and ask myself this “Is it really possible to have too much market produce?”
“These are really good.” said Nolan as he pointed to the Old Fashion cucumbers. “Take this home and try it.” he said, as he handed me an Armenian cucumber. How could I refuse free food from these two? So there I stood, chatting about farming, popping random varieties of tomatoes into my mouth, knowing I had found my farmers and my farm. They’re quiet, generous, proud men happy to share what they love with the rest of us and it was there that they suggested I try a little orange tomato known aptly by the name Sun Sugar tomatoes that I instantly fell hard for, proclaiming “This it the best thing I have ever tasted!” to Marvin, Nolan and anyone standing nearby.
I’ve since found out that Marvin and Nolan are organic farmers and always have been. Interestingly enough, they’re organic because their family farm was too poor to afford pesticides when they were introduced and all the rage in the mid 1940’s. The costly price of pesticides resulted in their family continuing to farm just as they always had farmed: seeds, sunshine, soil, water, and hard work. Resulting in what I think is magic and what my daughter refers to as “little bites of heaven.” Cucumbers with skin you don’t need to peel, a host of baby tomatoes that may change your life forever, green beans that make me want to sit all afternoon in a rocking chair snapping off ends into a bowl, raspberries that we finish before we get home and peppers, peppers, peppers.
So no, no it’s not possible this time of year to have too much produce from the Park City Farmer’s Market, especially when you get to know fifth generation farmers like Marvin and Nolan Birt. A glorious example of my hope for how food is grown, how food should taste and what I had hoped to find while shopping outside this summer in Park City. Below is a simple Farmer’s Market salad that my family and I cannot stop eating. Make, eat as much as possible, enjoy, and repeat. Cheers.
Cucumber, Corn, and Sun Sugar Tomato Salad
Note: it’s nice to have all three ingredients cut roughly the same size. If the cucumbers are too big, they can overpower the other 2 ingredients.
- 1 cup diced (the size of corn kernels), unpeeled cucumbers (I use Marvin’s Old Fashion cucumbers but any will do)
- 1 cup halved or quartered Sun Sugar tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. In same bowl drizzle 2 t olive oil and 2 t balsamic vinegar around the glass sides of bowl. Combine until vegetables are coated with dressing. Season the salad with a generous pinch of salt and a reserved pinch of pepper. Mix, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. It’s likely that you will need to add more salt a bit at a time until the flavors of the salad come together.