The Battle of the BeetsThe battle of the beets — the confrontation of the carrots — and the agony of asparagus. Who wins in the Farmer’s Market Match Up? The customer of course. I love going to farmer’s markets. When I was growing up I’d spend the summers with my grandparents who lived outside the coal mining town of Shamokin PA. Every Saturday, the streets would be lined with farmers selling vegetables, fruits, jams, pies and cakes until the stores opened at 9 AM and then they would vanish.
The farmer’s market on the lake takes place Wednesdays from 9 AM to 2 PM, so you’ve missed it for today, but I’ll bump this post early next Wednesday as a reminder. The farmer’s market on the Avenue of the Fountains is Thursdays from 11 AM to 5 PM. Which one is best — both and neither. It depends on your expectations. One thing to keep in mind is the prices can be from 30 to 50 percent higher than in the grocery stores. But then again you won’t find a lot of the products in the grocery stores.
The selection at Double Play Produce at the lake is greater than on the Avenue but Double Play Produce doesn’t grow the veggies while The Farm at Agritopia (Gilbert, AZ) on the Avenue does. Double Play Produce sources locally and from Crooked Sky farms in Phoenix. Both offer squeaky fresh produce. Both have friendly staff.
The Avenue offers two hot foods to eat now or munch later — the Tamale Store and French Ambiance. The Lake offers Italian from Raimonda’s, not just any Italian but gluten free. Offering gluten-free, soy-free, vegan preserves, marmalades, marinades and sauces is Terra Verde Foods. Gluten-free baked goods are available at M&N.
If you prefer organic free-range chickens, grass-fed beef, salmon, and fresh eggs you’ll find them on the Avenue at Agritopia, Double Check Ranch and Dry Bay Fish Company, but not at the Lake. You may be asking yourself if free-range, organic or grass-fed is worth the extra money. In my opinion it is. We’ve limited our meat intake to three meals a week, we eat vegetarian the rest of the time. I can splurge on organic etc., etc., and still stay within my budget.
The Lake market offers lots of other products including cheesecake, baked goods, olive oil and products that are food related. And tea, lots of different teas by Herbescent who also participates in the Avenue market. I tasted the Calming Spirit tea fragrant with lavender. About 18 vendors participated at today’s market.
The Avenue market offers seeds, gardening products, oils, Sky Hi sprouts — cut and packaged to your order — and gluten-free foods by Pure Goodness. One of the more unusual items is Go lb Salt, offering flavored salts, spices and sugars purchased by the ounce or package.
My criticism for each of the markets is I wish they were bigger. Vendors change so the ones I mention may not be around when you shop. Oh, and the reason I didn’t take pictures of the Avenue market is because they have a lovely Facebook page full of photos, FountainHillsFarmersMarket . The more people that shop the markets, the better the chance your favorite vendor will keep on coming.