Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trip to the Troy Farmer's Market

I learned something this weekend. Turns out that if I walk into the Troy Farmer's Market with $60, I won't have a hard time leaving with two dollars and change. Sure, I'll have some very good stuff, but I was a little surprised how quickly the $60 disappeared. I better start saving for summer markets.

First things first, I had the kids in tow so we made a bee line to the Saratoga Apple Farm table. I don't fully understand how they are able to do what they do, but they have close to just picked apples all year round. Apparently it has to do with controlled levels of oxygen. Could be made up, but that is the way it was once explained to me. Different apples are stored in cold rooms with the appropriate oxygen level for a specific type of apple. Once out, they don't have the shelf life of supermarket apples, but they are so much better than super market apples you won't need to worry about shelf life. I think I bought 10 apples yesterday, tonight 3 remain in the fruit bowl. A little over $5 got us the apples and a small bottle of cider.

Next we headed upstairs. For $3.50, we buy a chocolate and custard filled pastry from the Mrs. London's table. We got the last one. While upstairs, I had to check out the pickle guy. I think they were mentioned recently at Table Hopping, they were in this weekends Times Union and recently on All Over Albany. The owner working the stand could not have been nicer or more enthusiastic about his products. He's even wearing a ribbon his pickles won in a competition. I tried the the habanero pickles and the half sours. Both samples were very good, but I went with the half sours for the kids. The older daughter wasn't interested in having a pickle with her lunch and they younger daughter was more interested in making faces than actually trying the pickle on her plate. So, I ate half the jar. Forget them, next time I'm going for the habanero. A bottle of pickles was a steep $10, but they were hand packed and I went to the market looking to buy some.

We headed back downstairs to our usual eat the pastry/drink cider spot on a bench near the fountain.Once we were done snacking and some coins were tossed into the fountain, I wanted to stop by the Borndt Farms table. I had spoken with the owner before, seems really nice. I wanted to pick up a pork butt to make Sausicon Sec out of the Charcuterie book. The salami is just pork seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. It was another item that was on the "to buy" list before I left the house and I didn't balk at the $32 for an almost 5 pound pork butt. Now I just have to find some time to make the salami.

The last table I really wanted to check out was the Pura Vida Fisheries booth. I still can't believe you can get fresh seafood at the farmer's market. Running out of cash, I grabbed half a pound of scallops for $7. Bringing the grand total to $57 and change. I was going to cold smoke the scallops with my new toy, but then I decided to just cook them to see how good they were. They are really good. Really, Really good. Wow, I enjoyed eating them.

I had seen a pan seared scallop recipe on America's Test Kitchen and I had wanted to try it because it uses a technique I saw in one of the Key Ingredient videos over at Sky Full Of Bacon. Apparently, chef's baste something in a fry pan with melted butter all the time. No wonder restaurant food is so good.

The recipe starts by making the sauce. Since the scallops cook quickly, the sauce is made and kept warm. About a tablespoon of butter is melted in a pot. Once you have brown butter, add in some chopped shallot, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Take it off the heat and cover to keep warm. Dry the scallops on paper towel. In a non stick skillet heat some oil until it is almost smoking. Add all the scallops but don't overcrowd the pan. Cook until the one side has a nice crust.

Flip the scallops over and add some butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, use a spoon and baste the scallops.

Once the scallops are done, put them on a plate and top with the brown butter sauce.

I took this picture, then sauced the scallops. Then I ate one. It was fantastic. I offered one to my brother-in-law, then my wife and sister-in-law had one and then they were gone. I'll see if I can get a finished picture next time. If you are at the market - definitely try some of the Pura Vida scallops.


  1. It's amazing how much one can spend at the Farmers Market. I usually go in with a $20 spot and a check book in case something really catches my eye, otherwise I'm likely to wind up with the same amount of change. Although I've really gotta try those scallops.

  2. It is very easy to spend money there. Lots of good stuff to choose from even in winter. The kids like it when they are there, but sometimes they get something started on a Saturday morning and can't be bothered with the market. Probably saving me a small fortune.

    It's been 2 days and I still can't believe how much I enjoyed the scallops. I'm going to have to try some of the Pura Vida products as well. Only 84 more hours until the market opens up again....but whose counting?