After a long, cold Montana winter, any sign of spring is a welcome one.
Today the Madison Farm to Fork Farmers Market in Ennis offered up the green bounty of spring, promises of much more to come.
The market is located in a parklike area, a big improvement over the cement of previous years. It's cooler and a lot more pleasant to stroll on grass beneath shady trees.
But best of all are the offerings of farmers, bakers, and artists. You'll have to visit to see it all. Today I enjoyed looking at stunning woodwork by Paul Smail, who creates custom furniture. I know I'm supposed to get photos of great things like this so blog readers can get in on the joy, but somehow I was so overcome by Paul's handcrafted tables that I completely forgot to take out my camera. When you visit the market, make a beeline for his display and see for yourself. Paul's work will assure you that fine craftsmanship still exists.
I did get photos of food. Of course.
Plant starts of all types provide an opportunity for anyone to have fresh food at home. Everyone has room for herbs.
But if you just want to get food ready to be prepared for dinner tonight, there were several farmers already laying out a wide selection of vegetables. The mother and daughter team from Pony offered radishes, kale, bok choy, herbs, and a whole lot more. See their photo above. Those smiles are genuine -- they love what they do. Daughter Izzy bakes, too.
More treats were on offer from Amanda of Varney Bridge Bakery. She's been at the market for several years and keeps getting better with artisan breads, scones, sausage rolls, and more. Here you see what she described as an Icelandic Christmas treat, large meringues stuffed with cornflakes and chocolate chips.
In my opinion, the best sign of spring in Montana is rhubarb. You'll see it in almost every garden. The soil in the Madison Valley must be spectacular, because this bunch of rhubarb was huge. Plenty to use righta way and then freeze for later.
Farmers markets are now springing up like crazy throughout Montana and other areas of the country. Forget about the supermarket produce section; the weeks-old same old same old will be for sale there in winter. Right now, grab something fresh, and maybe something you've never seen before, from a local farmer.
Hwy 287, N of downtown, between Sportsman's Lodge & Madison Foods
May 23 - September 5
Saturday, 9 am - noon