It's nearing the end of the season, but there are still lots of wonderful things to find at the Gallatin Valley farmers market in Bozeman.
My first stop today was at the Cookie Boys table, where Jayce (10 years old) and Keith (8 years old) were selling their outstanding chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. I can never decide between the two flavors, so I always buy one of each. Take my advice and do the same.
Nearby in the pavilion were loaves of crusty artisan bread from On the Rise. I tasted my first loaf at their bakery on Main Street. I was told today that they have moved into a production-only bakery and are selling loaves through various outlets around the area. I'll miss stopping in for warm pizza slices, but they'll certainly have more customers now, so I wish them well.
I enjoyed colorful flowers . . .
. . . and noticed that real cowboys like -- and make -- soap.
Outside in the sunshine I was tempted by pie . . .
. . . and waffles . . .
. . . and interested to learn that you can plant seeds in a light soil to produce miniature herbs and other plants that can be trimmed as needed, or plucked, rinsed, and added to salads and stir-fries. Tracey of Mountain Vista Farm near Bozeman has put together kits to make the process easy, or you can buy her seed mixes or ready-to-eat herbs.
There was music in the air as I strolled among the vendors outside selling honey, jewelry, clothing, crafts, and so much more.
My favorite vendor turned out to be Ross of Natural Yellowstone Photography, who takes exquisite photos of bears, wolves, and other wildlife, accompanied by his faithful four-legged companion, Jack, who due to regulations, unfortunately cannot be with Ross at the market.
When I explained to Ross that I was taking photos for my Yummy Montana blog, he exclaimed with a grin: "I know Yummy! I use it to find markets. I'm glad to meet you."
Well, I was glad to meet Ross, too, and I wish him the best. His photographs are really outstanding, so look for him when you visit area markets. (Check the market list at yummymontana.com.)
I was pleased to see a bountiful selection of produce. Not least of which were the garden-raised beets being sold by Marianne.
After wondering out loud if I'd ever find a good pickled beet recipe, Marianne shared her own recipe. I bought some lovely golden beets from her, and as soon as I got home I tried it out. Nice!
Cook beets and peel off skin.
I steamed the beets for about 20 minutes, but you could roast them. In either case, simply wash beets, and make sure the tops are trimmed to about an inch, leaving short roots intact. When done (a sharp knife will slide in easily), rinse in cold water and remove skin, which will be easy to do with your fingers.
Cut beets into slices or chunks.
Bring to a boil enough water to cover the beets in a jar. For each cup of water, add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. "It should taste very strong," Marianne told me, because the brine will mellow as it ages. For extra flavor, add bits of chopped shallot or onion.
These will keep for "a long time" in the refrigerator.
You see, all you have to do is ask a farmer how to use the things he or she is selling. They're the experts.
Gallatin County Fairgrounds, Haynes Pavilion, at Tamarack and Black
Saturday, 9 am - noon