The Cherry Street Farmers' Market, the largest farmers' market in Tulsa and one of the largest in the region, kicked off its 2010 season Saturday morning with a ribbon cutting to celebrate its new home on 15th Street.
As in, literally, on 15th Street. This ain't no parking lot operation confined to the corner of 15th and Quaker anymore, folks. It's a full-fledged open-air street market, complete with live music and the Cherry Street stores and cafes jumping into the fun by serving breakfast and opening their doors to the street, all rolled up in a festival atmosphere.
To say that the market was well-attended would be an understatement. Here's what I mean.
Pictured above is the state of things at the Three Springs Farm tent by the time my little family got around and rolled in to the market, about an hour after it opened. Word on the street was that produce at this stand, along with that at many others, was either picked over or completely gone by 7:30, just a half-hour after opening.
Here's what Emily and Mike at Three Springs Farm showed up with Saturday morning (photo from the CSFM Facebook page):
And thirty minutes later...
Nadda. Zip. Zilch. Except, of course, Mike's friendly, smiling face and the sound Emily's chipper voice as she carried on with customers - customers who, by the way, weren't pissed off that they'd missed out on Three Springs' produce. In fact, they were overjoyed. They were ecstatic to see their favorite farmers doing so well.
And that's Way in Which a Trip to the Farmers' Market is Different From a Trip to a Big-box Grocery Store No. 852.
We saw several old friends Saturday morning, and we made some new ones, too.
Ever had cheese from a local dairy?
It can be a religious experience. Just be advised that it's okay to do your happy dance after that first taste.
These dairy farmers, they get that a lot. They don't expect it, but at the same time, they're ready for you and your happy dance, no matter how arrhythmic and sad and lonely. Another nibble of a little somethin' stinky and everyone will feel all better.
Lordy, do I love me some man soap. And I don't mean Axe or Irish Spring. I like my man to smell like actual manly stuff, not strong cologne or weird, artificial mystery scents.
Heh. Pork and Greens. Get it? Pork and Greens? Love the name, love the people.
That there is Wes Downing of Downing Family Farm out in Grove, just less than 100 miles from Tulsa. He's a super-nice guy, he knows his product and he's committed to what he calls clean food. In fact, he started a co-op last winter, the Tulsa Clean Food Market. It's an easy way to pre-order everything from grass-fed, free-range eggs to locally-made apple pie for guaranteed pick up at the Cherry Street Farmers' Market.
Plus, TCFM is nice to have around during the winter months when there aren't any farmers' markets in Tulsa. Once you get used to having grass-fed eggs, it's hard to go back to the grocery store stuff come October.
On Saturday we snagged a dozen eggs and a pound and a half of bacon from Downing.
We had an Oklahoma-grown breakfast before church yesterday.
I'm sorry, but look at the thickness of that bacon. This should be certified bacon p0rn, people. It's obscene, really.
And yet, we can't look away.
Even though the hubs overcooked my egg (a travesty, I know!), it was still delish. There's a subtle difference in taste between store-bought and farm-fresh eggs - the real significant difference is in the texture and body of the egg. Store-bought eggs just can't compete.
And do I need to say anything further about the bacon? Except that it will make you want to curl up and cry for your mommy? And move out to the country to start a farm so you'll never have to eat anything else?
Trust me, this bacon, it's worth the 4:30 a.m. rooster wake-up calls. And the poop shoveling.
I wouldn't lie to you. Not about bacon.
Did you know that you can sample and buy Oklahoma wine at CSFM? It's true.
Something else momentous happened on Saturday. I got my CSFM breakfast burrito fix from the folks at Palace Cafe/Pare Catering. And all will be right with the world until next Saturday, when I eat another one.
All bets are off from October to April. Without those breakfast burritos, what happens in this crazy world, it's out of my hands.
My friend from Miami showed up to the market for her burrito fix, too.
She also loves the Kosher salt from The Spice Hunter. She's been without it all winter.
This salt, it makes my friend frisky and ornery. Get a load of this burrito streaking episode for which she was fully responsible after her salt purchase.
The product of a Kosher salt-deprived mind, I tell you.
Check out the band. They played Celtic music. And you can bet that every last red hair on my head was resonating with joy.
And I loved how the Cherry Street stores and restaurants got in there and made the most out of the market. CSFM in its street market incarnation is sure to be a boon to all of the businesses in the area.
If you didn't make it out for the opening of the CSFM last weekend, be sure to grab your favorite basket and/or tote bag and head out there next Saturday. Get around early and be on 15th Street by 7 a.m. if you want produce, and be sure to pick up a promo poster while you're there - trust me, you're going to want to shout about this thing from the rooftops.
All of them.