Well, this is my second time around blogging about the Appleton Farmer’s Market. This go around I picked-up goods from Soup & Dipity and Fox Cities Farms. And again, I had a blast doing this!
So, I have to say I’m really familiar with Soup & Dipity because I have tried and purchased just about every variety of flavored pretzel that they offer. (In the event that you care, my personal favorite is the Dill Pickle flavor!) Needless to say, I was excited to see that this is who I was blogging about this week. When I arrived they had selected a pancake batter, a dry soup mix and a macaroni & cheese mix for me. “What, no pretzels?!?” Not gonna lie, I felt a minor tinge of disappointment. Oh well, I’m always excited to try something new.
First up was the Chicken Noodle Soup. The instructions couldn’t be easier: Add 8 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes. Nice and simple, but… I like to tinker. My wife reminded me that I’m supposed to try the stuff as is and share my thoughts. “Fine!, but I’m adding some actual chicken and you can’t stop me!” That keeps it true to the dry mix flavor but adds some protein. And I have to say, we enjoyed it quite a bit. In fact, it provided several meals during the week too.
Next morning, we tried the Strawberry Pancake mix. Again, it was a just add water situation. And it’s batter, with actual chunks of strawberry. What would, or could, you add? Nothing. Easy peasy. We just topped them with a touch of maple syrup and bam! They’re really, really good. And my daughter provides all the review you need in the photo.
Lunch on day two we tried the Cool Ranch Macaroni & Cheese. This was like making a double batch of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the sense that you first boil the noodles, then add the powder mix with milk and butter and stir. Again, very easy and provided a meal for at least five, maybe six. And it was comparable to the store bought stuff, BUT this is locally made without all the chemicals and big corporate logo.
I was also able to pick up some fresh produce from Fox Cities Farms. See how beautiful it all looks in the photo! I used the candy onion in some minestrone soup and we ate the peppers all week. They were just perfect! Crisp, sweet, and fresh flavor you can only get from produce grown locally with love.
The other main item I picked-up here was the baby red potatoes. We decided to make smashed potatoes with those. If you are not familiar, smashed potatoes are amazing!!! You boil the potatoes whole (or half the larger ones) until they are fork tender. Then you put olive oil on a pan and smash the potatoes down until they are about ¼ inch thick. Spread more olive oil, salt & pepper and fresh herbs on top (I used rosemary) and bake for another 20 minutes. Just look how yummy they look in the photo! They taste every bit as good - especially the crispy edges.
The market is off this week for Appleton's Octoberfest, but will be back on the following Saturday. Hope to see you all there!
by Chris Dearing
Farm Market blogger.