Saturday morning at the Orleans market

By 8 o'clock this morning, a line of 15 people stood waiting for Tim Friary to open for business at the Orleans Farmers' Market. He had the golden ticket item: strawberries, fresh from Cape Cod Organics in Barnstable. Late at 8:05, I still managed to pick up 6 boxes: two for eating, and four to slice and freeze.

Greens were also plentiful. I saw the first cabbage of the season, its outer leaves unfolding onto the table to form a nest for the large, tightly wound center ball. One stand offered the lettuces: butter and oak leaf along with watercress, while another offered kale, and yet another spicy mesclun mix, baby spinach, and mixed greens.

Asparagus was—for the first time—a feature of more than one table, bundled next to the rhubarb and left to soak in a vase of cool water. I picked up a bunch of each along with the first, tiny, green-house coaxed zucchini of the season. Herbs began to appear: garlic chives, parsley, wild garlic, rosemary plants, oregano, mint, and peppermint. The more substantial treats had arrived as well: eggs, lobster, and honey to name a few. Table flowers, hand made soaps, lavender sachets, and baked goods (to compliment that early morning coffee stop at the Chocolate Sparrow) were amongst the other delights. Thanks to a bit of bargaining, I managed to snag a beautiful bouquet along with the glass pitcher it sat in for a mere $10.

Next week, from what I heard, there will be more of everything. While some early greens are tapering off, shaded spinach and chard still have a few weeks left. With more strawberries on the horizon (and the Wellfleet Strawberry Festival tomorrow!), I think it's just about time for another strawberry rhubarb pie.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.