How to Shop a Farmers Market

June 12, 2012 

Here are a few pointers on how to make the most of a trip to your local farmers market. There are definitely ways to maximize your shopping experience.

• Be Flexible. Mother nature doesn’t know what’s on your list and may not cooperate. Let the market serve as inspiration – start with what looks best that morning and then find a recipe to match it. 

• Produce at the farmers market can be dirty and ugly. Foods there aren’t bred to travel long distances or to look pretty while they sit on the grocery shelf. They’re often grown naturally, with an emphasis on taste and what grows best in our local climate. Be prepared to brush away the grunge and slice off gnarly-looking bits. 

• Know and respect the seasons. If you want to eat local, the seasons will dictate your diet. Again, if you’re flexible you can shift gears when you see what is available at the market. Plus, the anticipation of hoping that “this is finally the week when X arrives” is what makes shopping a farmers market such a wonderful experience. 

• Farmers market shopping takes time. If your goal is speed, it may not be the best experience for you. The beauty of a farmers market is that you are surrounded by the foods that you will prepare for yourself in the upcoming week.  Engage with the farmers and become a regular. It can be a little intimidating to talk to someone behind the table, but choosing food can be a rewarding process.


Pineapple Marinated Pulled Pork Pineapple BBQ Sauce

March 8th, 2012 

We’re eating pineapple marinated pulled pork tossed with a pineapple hoisin bbq sauce on fresh ciabatta bread w/ creamy, tangy Asian-style coleslaw.

I’ve eaten my share of pulled pork and know and love it intimately. Especially the tangy style that uses a vinegar based barbecue sauce. Every time I go to make pulled pork my heartstrings almost always win out and I make some variation of this style. Fortunately for you guys, I persevered this time! Who needs flavors of home when you can have flavors of Asia in your pulled pork sandwich. I let some of the nostalgia come in and topped my sandwich with some good old coleslaw and hot sauce – just like the sandwiches I ate so many of as a child.

In addition to the flavor differences, my preparation methods are very different for this version of pulled pork. First off, instead of marinating the pork in a dry rub, I marinated it in a combo of minced uber-sweet fresh pineapple and loads of garlic for about 24 hours. Secondly – instead of my traditional tried and true methods of low and slow smoking or oven-roasting, I turned to my crockpot. I put the marinated shoulder into the slow-cooker with some water and a tub of Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock, turned that puppy on then walked away.

A Pulled Pork Recipe

Pineapple Marinated Pulled Pork with Hoisin-Pineapple Bbq Sauce

For the Pork:
3 cups fresh ripe pineapple, minced or food processed
cloves from 1 bulb garlic, peeled & minced
2 tbsp sambal oelek
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 (approximately 5lb) bone-in pork shoulder
butcher's twine
1 1/2 cups water
1 tub Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock

For the BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh ripe pineapple, pureed
1/2 tsp chinese five spice

In a bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients for the pork to create the marinade. Butterfly the pork shoulder, then stuff with a cup of the marinade. Using butcher's twine, tie the pork shoulder back into one even roast. Place stuffed shoulder into a larger resealable plastic bag. Pour the rest of the marinade over the roast, coating evenly. Seal the plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate pork for 12 to 24 hours, refrigerated.

Place the pork, marinade, 1 1/2 cups water & Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock into a slow cooker on the low setting. Slow cook, covered, 8-10 hours or until the pork is falling apart. Remove from slow cooker, cut off butchers twine, then shred the pork, discarding any excess fat or bones.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the barbecue sauce. Toss the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce until moistened to desired level. Taste and adjust season with more sauce or salt and pepper as desired. Great served on ciabatta rolls with an Asian-style slaw.

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