This Week at the Farmer’s Market by Charlene LeJeune

Covington Farmer's Market, photo courtesy City of Covington
Covington Farmer’s Market, photo courtesy City of Covington

Happy Tuesday, friends! Thankfully, the monsoons seem to be leaving our area and we are looking forward to a great day tomorrow, full of music and fresh veggies and wonderful food. Take some time to have lunch with us. Feast on a light lunch of spring rolls from Kandi or a fresh Mediterranean salad from Nanette. Maybe a few chicken tamales or a smoky pulled pork sandwich would be more to your liking. Finish your meal with a cookie or old fashioned banana pudding from Frankie. And then I suppose you do have to get back to work…heavy sigh. But wait! Don’t forget your veggies! Pick up a cabbage and some new potatoes from Mr. Houston and a little pulled pork from Jeff (½ – 1 lb depending on how many mouths you have to feed) for a delicious recipe I have for you.

I am planning for a lovely Saturday (‘cause I’m as tired of the rain as you are) with gentle breezes and music from Chris Talley and Friends. Grab your coffee and stay awhile. And, for a tasty treat in the demo tent, Taryn will be back with her amazing crab cakes. If you didn’t get a chance to taste them last time, don’t miss out!  Since you’re right there, stop by Coast Roast and stock up on coffee because it may be a week or two before they’re back from their honeymoon. That’s right; Kevin and Ashley are getting married! Congratulations and Best Wishes!

The assortment of veggies is growing; isn’t spring wonderful – and tasty?! Little mini squashes abound and I had a scathingly brilliant idea for stuffing them. I bought the tiny lemon shaped squash from Nick and a container of muffaletta veggies and spring cheese from Norma Jean and garlic chevre from Farmhouse Dairy. Any of the summer squashes will do but I find the smaller ones work best. Since I have the grandkiddies over the summer, they agreed to act as sous chefs to help prepare these little beauties. Granddaughter #3 helped me with a recipe yesterday so it was the boys’ turn today. I showed them how to cut the tips off the squash, slice it down the center, and then a little slice off the backs so they sit nicely in the pan. This went very well (no fingers cut off), so I proceeded to demonstrate how to scoop out the seeds. We then filled the squashes with a spoon of muffaletta veggies and topped it with a dab of spring cheese.  Some had a dab of garlic goat cheese for a taste variation. While supervising grandson #2’s work, I spied a bowl of cherry tomatoes that I got from Bardwell’s and, since I’m in a stuffing frame of mind, I had grandson #1 stuff them. Easy peasy! He cut the tomatoes in half and seeded them. Then stuffed each half with a small spoon of green spring cheese or garlic goat cheese – it doesn’t take much cheese to fill them. We popped all of them into a 350° oven and let them cook for about 15 – 20 minutes.

“Who will help me eat the squash?” asked the Little Red Hen (aka Granny). Mr. Picky (grandson #1) and Mr. Finicky (grandson #2) stood there looking at me in disbelief as if I had suggested some form of torture. As we all know, cooking and tasting are not the same thing. Mr. Picky graciously begged off, but Mr. Finicky condescended to taste the tomato which quickly turned disastrous. Fortunately, I had Ms. I’ll-Try-Anything (granddaughter #3) to assist. We agreed that the stuffed squash was wonderful but the tomatoes needed a little help, so I sprinkled a little Erbe Italiano (yours truly) on them and we pigged out on the rest of them. I had one or two fresh squash left so we decided to try them raw with only the veggies and no cheese – delish! Norma Jean’s muffaletta veggies are so flavorful we didn’t have to add anything more.

Ms. I’ll-Try-Anything helped me with another dish yesterday. I showed her how to chop onions (several of our vendors have them) and cut up the new potatoes into bite-sized chunks. A dollop of Mauthe’s butter, the onions, and potatoes all went into the crock pot along with several cloves of smashed garlic. She also cut up half a cabbage and it joined its friends in the crock pot. A sprinkling of pink salt and a tablespoon Rub Me Tender seasoning, a quick toss to mix them all together and we walked away for a few hours. When that had cooked down, we added some pulled pork that I had purchased from Chomper’s BBQ. What a wonderful dish! Mr. Picky gave it an “OK”; Mr. Finicky opted out. Ms. I’ll-Try-Anything and I enjoyed it tremendously. The great thing about a recipe like this is that you can adjust the amount of onions, cabbage, potatoes, and pork depending on the size of your family and add little more seasoning if needed.

Along with peaches and strawberries, we now have blueberries and plums! I just love when there are a variety of fruits available at the market. Oh! the pies! the cobblers! the smoothies! that’s if there’s enough left by the time you get home. Granddaughter #3 managed to demolish an entire pint of blueberries all by herself last Saturday……. OK, maybe I helped a little. Try blending some of those luscious blueberries with softened butter or cream cheese (Mauthe’s Dairy) to make a wonderful fruit “butter” to serve with your toast. Southy is preparing a refreshing, savory peach soup with sage and Vidalia onion for Saturday. And, there’s more – fermented and pickled veggies, mushrooms, raw honey, avocado salsa, Japanese maples, fresh juices, Kombucha, gorgeous veggies, muffins, fresh bread, and cookies all wrapped up in a glorious Saturday morning!  I know, I know…I can hardly believe it myself. If you’re not there, you’re gonna miss out.

Lots of love,
Charlene LeJeune
Abundant Life Kitchen

The Covington Farmers’ Market is open each Wednesday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire and every Saturday from 8a.m. to 12p.m. on the side lawn of the Covington Police Station, 609 N. Columbia St. Call (985) 892-1873 for information or visit

Wednesday Market Menu 6-4-14