Sunday, July 1, 2012

Solar Cooking at the Farmers Market

Train station in the early 20th century
It has been hot hot hot the past few days—hot and sticky—and today was more of the same. And since today was Sunday, it was farmers market day. The market is held in Old Depot Park, where the train station used to be located. I wish it still was, because it would be so much nicer than having to drive 10 miles to catch a train. The railroad line was abandoned in 1939, though. Now it's really just a big parking lot.

Rick and I had been talking about bringing our Global Sun Oven up one Sunday during the market and buying some vegetables, or some of the organic free range chickens or grassfed beef some of the vendors have for sale. We figured it was the perfect spot to use the solar oven—no trees to block the sun—and we could get dinner going while we were tending our tables. I suppose I should go off on a tangent here and say the girls mind the tables while Rick wanders around playing guitar and jamming with some of the other vendors and I generally float about babbling with everyone. Which is okay. Having the music going is really nice and creates a community spirit. I have no clue what benefit my babbling has, though. Absolutely none, I suppose.

Escarole from Monarch Landing CSA, cooked in our
sun oven in the parking lot of the farmers market
But, anyway, today was the perfect day to do some solar cooking at the market, except I didn't think of it before we left home despite the fact Rick and I had discussed it last week. A conversation with Charley, who coordinated our farmers market, reminded me, and since Erica had to run home for a minute I asked her to bring back the solar oven and a pot from the house (we're only about 1/2 mile away). I wish I sold the darn things since so many people stopped to look and ask questions. By then it was 11:00 a.m., but I just had to cook something to demonstrate. I didn't think we had enough time to cook any of the meats for sale, so I dashed over to Julia and Peter's table (Monarch Landing CSA) and they gave me some escarole, garlic, a sprig of rosemary (or was it thyme? I forget) and a few sage leaves. I added a bit of water from my water bottle and put the pot in the oven. In the short time it took me to get the escarole in, the oven was already at 300º and climbing. I was hoping to share the escarole with everyone, but all the farmers sold out of produce and everyone started packing up a little earlier than expected. That was okay with me because I came home with a pot full of escarole, which I set it aside and served later on with dinner. Charley got so excited with the whole solar cooking idea, though, that next week I'm supposed to bring the solar oven back up to the farmers market and the Naturally Grass Fed folks (our neighbor vendor) will be bringing a 3 1/2 pound free range chicken for me to cook. Hopefully we'll have another beautiful sunny day and I'll have enough time to actually cook the chicken! Our other neighbor vendor, Natural Earth Farms (their 22-month old son, Anthony, is absolutely adorable and loves music and dancing!), will be supplying some corn. (I used their zucchini in my oven fried zucchini recipe. I came home with more this week, since the recipe was so yummy.)

In the meantime, Rick grabbed a plate and photographed a few of the escarole leaves for me, leaving the rest in the pot to continue cooking. Thanks Julia & Peter for such delicious goodness!

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