Yesterday in the late afternoon, with the pantry barren from several weeks of traveling, I popped to the nearby farmer's market for the makings of dinner. Not sure what I was shopping for, I bought what called out to me - what looked good and fresh. What resulted was a creamy chowder of sweet corn and fresh vegetables. Make it dairy free, as I did, by omitting the cream cheese and using almond milk.
.Driving through Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas these past few weeks and gazing for hours at the effects of the summer drought and heat on America's vast farmland gave me a deep appreciation of the abundant produce available. The corn I viewed from my car window appeared dwarf sized, sad and brown. How lucky I am to buy beautiful sweet corn from the grocery store or any number of farmer's markets. I will savor the last of my jug of cherry concentrate purchased last summer as this year's cherry crops in Michigan cannot produce enough cherries for concentrate to be made this year or even next. The blueberries may be smaller, the fall apples less plentiful. The extremes in weather remind me of the fragile nature of farming and to be grateful and take full advantage of everything plentiful.
Sadly, this week, the Sappington Farmer's Market here in St. Louis closed. While not "glamorous" like a Whole Foods Market, this longtime store was a well kept secret for many, many wonderful Missouri foods from rice to produce, cheese, eggs, milk, pecans, tortillas, wine and more. But that was the problem. It was a well kept secret. What are your favorite farm stands? Have you visited them often this summer? Have you taken your friends? Have you supported your local farmers? If not, it's not too late....
favorite farm stands
Summertime Market - Douglas, Michigan
All produce is grown within 30 miles. This is my hands down favorite. Followed by -
Tower Grove Farmer's Market - St. Louis, Missouri
The Dutch Pantry - South Haven, Michigan
Krupka's Blueberries - Fennville, Michigan
Maplewood Farmer's Market- Maplewood, Missouri
farm stand chowder
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, finely chopped or another vegetable like zucchini or carrots
1/4 cup APflour
pinch of salt
3 small potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 ears of corn cut off the cob or 16 oz. frozen corn
1 cup milk (almond milk can be substituted)
2 Tbsp. cream cheese (can be omitted)
Ground cumin, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the broth and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
In a large pot, warm the oil and add the onions, celery and bell pepper/other vegetables. Cook over medium heat until translucent and soft. Add the flour and a pinch of salt; cook for 3 minutes. Slowly add the warm broth/water and diced potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add the corn and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the milk and cream cheese and season with ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste.