I opened up my fridge today and all that came out were tumble weeds and cobwebs. Strange stuff to have in the fridge, huh?
But no food, which means I get to take a trip to St. Lawrence Market! I guess you can tell by the exclamation that I really dig the place.
It’s got that established old market feel to it, much like Kensington. But I think St. Lawrence is a bit older, and by my sharp eye, a bit bigger. Stores are packed closely together in the two-storey hall (plus one more on the north side of the street on weekends), which is great if you’re either lazy or it’s cold outside. Or both, really.
The north farmer’s market is awash in local produce this time of year. There are some genuine salt of the earth people there, trucking their stuff in for a 5 a.m. opening on Saturday mornings. The people who sell vegetables have rough, calloused hands with dirt under the fingernails. Much of the food was still in the ground the night before. And if you fancy wild deer, maybe some fresh cottontail, they have that too. The guy’ll cleave you off a sample with his impressive hunting knife. No, blade. And he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on reality, so it’s an experience.
On Sundays they sell antiques.
But I tend to relax into my weekends so I’ve not yet been able to hit the north market’s opening hours. In fact, by the time I get there, the place is usually packing up for the week. A couple of people are usually stuck inside with unsold product. I … cannot recommend purchasing any of it. It’s unsold for a reason. You see, all the sleepless geriatrics have picked through every mound by a quarter past five in the morning. By noon, you’re lucky if you get a bug-eaten twig that the label claims is basil while granny cackles over her gold at home. Bitch.
Luckily, the south market is more accustomed to my ilk:
And it’s all still local produce. Even in winter, greenhouses churn out fresh herbs and other potable plants and deliver here daily. It’s a great place to pick up a big bushel of basil for that comfortably fattening pesto. Without even any bugs on it!
Then there’s this place:
That guy made me buy a ridiculously expensive amount of Parmigiano Reggiano; he just kept slicing off sliver after sliver until I had to submit. YES, GODDAM IT! IT’S DELICIOUS! GIMME A HUNK, YOU BASTARD!
But then you sprinkle ample amounts of that over the fresh basil pesto, peppered with pine nuts, and tossed with minutes-old, hand-made pasta … and bastard is forgiven.
You can even come right at the end of the day and scour the “wundolla! wundolla! wundolla!” tables for bargains. At a buck a pop, it’s almost a crime not to pick up a radish or dozen. However, if you insist on paying full retail, the product is good right up until they start kicking people out:
There are also interesting things in the downstairs I haven’t seen anywhere else. Exotic flours for all those PBS cooking shows that call for them (I can have hobbies!), interesting seeds and grains, and a whole store dedicated just to honey. The Tasmanian Leatherwood is like candy, flowers, sunshine, and children’s laughter all dancing across my tongue. It’s really good.
Plus, there are plenty of places to stuff your gob with prepared food if fondling Rambutans isn’t your scene. And if the husband / wife isn’t spending enough time in the kitchen, there are ways to send subtle hints.
Just avoid the place on Saturdays because a) it’s packed with people and b) I’m one of those people and we don’t need one more body in the crowd to jam their shopping basket into my calf, thanks.