Last year, during the summer months, I made an amazing discovery!! At the time I was living at Sandal House, which is located around downtown Harrisonburg, and making the most of city life. Now if you know me you'll understand that my appreciation of "city life" is limited to my ability to reach more destinations by walking. Aside from enjoying walking wherever I need to go, I'm not necessarily thrilled by all the other aspects of "city life", i.e. crowded, noisy, dirty, etc.
All that aside, back to my amazing discovery. One of the places I enjoyed walking to was the Farmers Market. I loved to see and try the different produce, it was like having a little bit of farmland in the middle of the city. Plus, it made a great excursion to take teens too; with the baby strollers, very family friendly. When the teens came with me it was always a learning experience for them, they had so many questions about the different produce they were seeing. For some of them if the vegetable didn't come in a can they weren't all that interested in it (sometime I'll write the blog about all the pureed veggies I snuck in their food...but you'll have to promise not to tell them it's still a secret ;))
I also enjoyed going to the market to see an old friend of mine. He had gotten a summer job working for one of the vendors, and since I hadn't seen him in years, prior to his moving to the area for the summer it was great to see him each week.
I've really sidetracked from my story here, which is to share with you all my amazing discovery. What you've all waited for....I discovered GOAT CHEESE at the farmers market!! This wasn't just any ol' goat cheese, it was/is the most yummy, creamy, and smooth goat cheese you'll ever eat. I tried the sample offered from the vendor that first Saturday visit early in the summer and I was addicted. Now, a year and a half later I'm still addicted to the cheese. My favorite flavor is the Southwestern Ranch, but a close second is the Garlic and Chives. The hard cheeses are delicious as well, my favorite in that category is the Horseradish Cheddar.
These cheeses are made by new friend, Pam Green, of Green Haven Farm Cheeses. The Lord blessed this woman with a gift for caring for His goats (I'm sure in this case just as important as His sheep :)), and she's wisely used her talents to bring happiness to others through cheese :)
I was sad last year with the end of summer, because Pam no longer came to the market with her cheeses. At the time though I was in the process of moving myself out of Sandal House and back into my home in Bridgewater, with so much activity going on it was more like a fleeting thought of regret for the cheese I was going to miss over the winter months.
This year I made trips to Harrisonburg at least twice a month on Saturdays to enjoy the market, and visit with friends (it's quite the social venue - especially with many of my friends living near downtown Harrisonburg). I'd be lying if I said my trips to the market were entirely socially motivated, or a desire to see and try different produce, it was plainly my opportunity to pick up more cheese.
I went to the market this last Saturday, and even though I knew it was late in the season, I had hoped to see Pam one more time with her delicious cheese. Unfortunately, it's that time of year again, Pam is taking a break from the market for the winter months, and I'm left waiting until next Spring for a whole new season of cheese.
Even without the cheese, the trip to the market wasn't a waste. I had a wonderful time with my friend Stephanie as we talked about different produce and how we would cook/bake it. Stephanie is super talented in the kitchen, and is always trying new things, where I'm more likely to just stick with the status quo.
I did end up buying some beautiful butternut squash from my friend Radell, owner of Season's Bounty. With a little sugar and spice (and everything nice - in this case milk and butter), I turned some butternut squash into two pies for church fellowship meal today. Enjoy the photos!!