Saturday, April 30, 2011

To Market, To Market: Atherton Mills and Charlotte Regional

Today we checked out Atherton Market and the Charlotte Regional Market. Having never been to the Atherton Market, we didn't know what to expect and we weren't prepared. This market has a TON of meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb and even goat)! Along with cheese, pickles, salsa, baked goods, premade organic dinners, veggie plants and soap. Interestingly, there were not many fruits and veggies.

One of the questions I keep getting asked is "So are you giving up meat?" That answer is no, but we will be cutting down. First of all, Americans consume far more meat than is necessary for a complete and healthy diet. Eric would be a carnivore if I let him. The fact is, however, that he goes to work in a shirt and tie and sits in an air conditioned office... he's not a hunter and gatherer or a warrior who needs to take advantage of every opportunity for protein. Sorry Eric... If you change your career to warrior, I'll cook more meat. 
Because we felt like we needed a cooler to buy anything at Atherton, we headed over to Charlotte Regional and got the
Best Advice Ever: GO EARLY!
A woman in one of the local booths told us that the local farmers don’t have as much quantity as the resellers, so it’s super important to get there early. Eric and I had been going after lunch the past couple weeks and we were just assuming the booths were empty because the season isn’t in full swing yet. Lucas started swim lessons in Charlotte this morning, so we went to the market earlier than usual and HOLY MOLY! The craft barn was full (got great Mother’s Day gifts… will show later so as not to ruin the surprise!), the plant and flower barn was packed, all the bakers were out, and the last of the local produce people were still around. We plan on getting up early from now on and going before swim lessons to make sure we can hit up all the local booths. 

The barn is divided in half, with all the locals on one end and all the resellers on the other. As long as you see this you are in good shape:

But if you show up after noon, you won’t have much luck. Also, there was a man selling asparagus with no local food sign, however, Eric recognized the name of the farm, knew they grew asparagus and knew exactly where it was. No local farmer sign, but I’d say 20 miles is local! We’ve got big delicious plans for that asparagus… Will share the recipe and pictures when that goes down!
So here’s what we got:

 The only thing not local is the honeydew ($3.00)... Eric is currently obsessed with honeydew and there was no talking him out of it...
 1 lb of broccoli (Sunshine, NC) $3.75 - 1 lb asparagus from Carrigan Farms (Mooresville, NC) $4.00 - Head of Butter Leaf Lettuce and 1 Bag Mixed Greens (Sunshine, NC)  $5.00 - Tub of Feta Cheese from Daddy's Girl Dairy (Iredell County, NC) $8.00
 Loaf of Whole Wheat Sourdough from The Mushroom Man's wife (Charlotte) $4.00 - Bag of Shitake Mushrooms from The Mushroom Man (Charlotte) $4.00 - 2 baguettes from Nova Bakery (Charlotte) $2.35
 Lucas says "What's that? It's different!" =) I have the cutest child EVER.

Also got a 6-pack of Begonia's and a 6-pack some other gorgeous flower called Celosia for $2.50 each. They are already making my house pretty! 

All in all, a good trip. We've already been snacking on the most delicious Feta cheese we've ever had, smeared all over a Sea Salt baguette. Why in the world would you rather eat some nasty processed cheese crackers? Ew, never again. Dinner this week is going to include Beef and Broccoli, Chicken, Asparagus and Shitakes, Pressed Sourdough Sandwiches, and salads. Can't wait. 

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