There’s something incredibly rewarding and refined about biking to the local farmers’ market in the summertime mornings, picking up some fresh produce and returning home to prepare a healthy and filling meal. Since the Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Sea Colony markets have started up, I have found myself doing just this on a weekly basis. From breakfast to lunch and dinner, and even for a snack, the local farmers markets yield a plethora of produce, a bevy of veggies and a profusion of fruit.
As an avid cook myself, slicing through a ripe tomato or crisp green pepper without worrying about peeling off a company’s sticker beforehand is one of the most underrated pleasures of a meal’s prep work. Flavors from fruits and vegetables that were grown right here on Delmarva, many within a 5-mile radius, can fuse together, beautifully, whether for a quick bite on the go or preparing a family meal around the holiday.
My breakfast routine has been relatively unchanged for the past several months, and I have fortunately been able to maintain my morning ritual, obtaining everything from the markets. Roasted red potatoes with onions and green bell peppers recently received a complementing touch from some purple bell peppers, too – all of which could be found at the Bethany Beach and Sea Colony farmers’ markets.
My three-egg omelet with mushrooms now comprises fresh brown eggs from free-range chickens, courtesy of Bob Harrison of Gloria’s Garden, who joined the local farmers’ markets this season. Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms, setting up at the Bethany and Fenwick markets, offers a variety of species, from traditional button to shiitake and portabellas, any of which go well into an omelet.
Juicy cherry tomatoes growing out back, from the dozen plants I picked up from East View Farm earlier this season, offer a savory balance to the meal. A small bowl of oatmeal usually tops off my morning dish, and fresh blueberries from Wells Berry Farm and slices of peaches from Bennett Orchards give a sweet touch in the place of brown sugar. (Editor’s note: Ryan rides his bike quite a lot, for long distances. He also runs 5Ks. We do not necessarily recommend this quantity of food be eaten at one sitting by a normal human being.)
The markets provide an enjoyable alternative from the monotony and cookie-cutter routine of strolling past the grocery store produce stands, and knowing that I’m helping out local growers makes the trip that much more enjoyable.
The flavor from the produce grown just a few miles down the road is unsurpassed by most grocery stores’ selections, as well. (Berries and tomatoes, especially, tend to be much more flavorful coming from a farmers’ market rather than the grocery store, in my experience.) Best of all, I can usually swing by a market with $20 in my pocket and return home, loaded up with fresh produce and change still in my pocket.
There’s something unique about being able to establish a connection with the individual who labored over the produce and goods at these markets, too. Talking to the farmers who planted and picked bushels of corn, made the fresh honey, churned the cream that would become rich pudding, and worked day after day through the winter and spring seasons to make sure this summer’s crop would be hearty and plentiful, is not something you get from the produce section of the grocery store.
A tight-knit community, as the one we find ourselves in here, relies heavily on neighborly support, and there’s plenty of it, each morning of the markets.
Show your support for local farmers and growers by swinging by any of the local farmers’ markets all week long, through early September.
The Bethany Beach Farmers Market takes place every Sunday morning in downtown Bethany Beach, in the parking lot located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Garfield Parkway. This Sunday, July 10, Cathy Berzins, from The Café on 26, will provide a cooking demonstration, whipping up a meal using produce found right on the premises.
Fenwick Island’s farmers’ market runs every Monday and Friday, in the grass lot between PNC Bank and Dairy Queen, along Route 1 in Fenwick Island. The debut season of the Farmers Market at Sea Colony is in full swing, operating every Wednesday morning, in the Sea Colony Marketplace parking lot, in front of the ResortQuest office. All three markets operate from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. at their respective locations.
Additionally, Millsboro has recently begun offering its own farmers’ market, held on Tuesday nights, from 5 to 8 p.m., in conjunction with the Cruz-In antique car events, next to the Dairy Queen, so if you’re a little farther to the west, there’s a something fresh and local available to pick up for Wednesday morning’s breakfast, too.
Keep up with Coastal Point newspaper for more meal ideas, or share your favorite experiences from the farmers’ markets by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.