I've never been a big morning person, but there are a few things in this world that can draw me from my slumbers at an early hour. One of these things is (of course) CHEESE.
all week long i have been craving a salad with a special cheese that my mother made for a simple summer meal when she visited last. Of course I could make ends meet by getting some similar ingredients at the grocery store but (like handmade crafts, fine art, and artisan bath products alike) food is always better when it's made by hand! and by this i mean local organic growers who run family farms, put land-sustaining methods into practice, and sell a part of their best and brightest harvests at farmer's market. I admit, I grew up on a small family farm like this so I may be slightly biased. But even if you were to set aside the environmental benefits and the fact that you're supporting the little guy instead of THE MAN, the food just tastes better. hands down.
We're fortunate in DC to have the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market that runs year-round. If you're in the area and you have not been, it's very much worth making some time for on a Sunday morning between 9am–1pm (opening at 10am in the winter months). The seller's are so friendly and they sell everything from thanksgiving turkeys and chocolate soap to homemade apple "fruit roll-ups," a plethora of produce, and artisan bread. One of my favorite vendors is Keswick Creamery from Pennsylvania. They make cheese that could very well be the best farmstead cheese EVER.
It is their feta cheese that is so perfect in this simple salad. All you need are some mixed greens or some good leafy green lettuce with the feta crumbled on top. Then, instead of gobbing on some fatty fake dressing, just squeeze the juice of a lemon slice all around....it doesn't sound like a lot, but you might just be surprised how the simplest combination of home grown foods can really pack in the flavor (not to mention much more healthy!!). We pooled what little cash was in our wallets..enough to buy TWO! blocks. I feel like a queen. of cheese. and it is awesome.
So when next you head to your local market, try comparing some home grown produce to what is all too commonly the norm at the grocer's: old, moldy, pesticide ahoy, bruised grossness. You'll be supporting another aspect of "handmade" goods and, after tasting some locally made cheese or a bright red heirloom tomato, you might just start craving vegetables too...!