I heart farmer’s markets

I could fashion an entire vacation around farmers markets. The only problem is – I want to purchase everything I see, take it home and cook it. A little difficult in a hotel room.

On my last day in Santa Fe, N.M. at the Association of Food Journalists’ conference, I (and many others) stopped at the Santa Fe farmers market. It’s considered one of the best in the country, and I won’t argue with that. I made breakfast out of a raspberry-oatmeal bar (oatmeal is a breakfast food, right?) and a beautiful flatbread stuffed with sauteed market greens. The flatbread came from a spot called The Intergalactic Bread Company and sold by a lovely woman in a sari who was not apparently Indian, but no matter. A nearby booth selling watermelon juice rounded things out.

The real star for people like me from elsewhere was the chile roaster. You could select the chiles of your choice for roasting in a rotating drum. Or you could take what they’d already roasted (still warm). I picked up two bags of a medium-hot chile and, on their advice, double-bagged and packed them in my checked luggage. When I got home, a TSA card noted that my suitcase had been examined. Wonder if those bomb-sniffing dogs caught a whiff? The chiles were still there, and are now in my freezer awaiting the right occasion.

Here’s a slideshow I did of my photos from the market.

Santa Fe Farmers Market with Association of Food Journalists

From hot sauce to wonderland

If you can’t take the heat, stay out of Oxford, N.C. on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fourth annual North Carolina Hot Sauce Contest will offer sauces made in the Tar Heel State for tasting. Judges will select the hottest and best all-around sauces. Participants can vote for the People’s Choice sauce. There will be local beers and wines to put out the fire, and live music. For more information, see the web site. Last year’s contest saw the emergence of the bhut jolokia pepper (also called ghost pepper) in sauces as the hottest pepper in history. Will there be more this year? I like fire, but I do prefer some flavor with the heat.

On Sept. 14, An Alice Affair will be held at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, N.C. to benefit the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The theme of Alice in Wonderland will include food, a silent auction, a casino and a tabletop design competition featuring area caterers. For more information and tickets, visit the food shuttle’s web site.

Food news roundup

I’ve been on adventures lately, which is why no posts. More on those later, after I dig out from under the pile of work on my desk. For now, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) offers readers’ additions to an earlier piece on 25 don’t-miss meals in North Carolina. Personally, I’ll pass on the livermush expo, but oysters are calling me from the coast. Read more here.

In the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Kathleen Purvis rips the veil from food photography with a piece on a food stylist. One tip: Get close to your food. I like being close to my food, so no problem there. Read more here.

How is a loving mom supposed to give a fancy birthday cake (preferably pink) to a toddler with food allergies? Joyce Clark Hicks’ Feed With Care column in The Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) explores the options for special diets. And if it pleases a four-year-old princess,  it must be good. The article is here.

One thing can distract reporters from an oncoming hurricane: Rum. The Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News held an in-depth analysis of the best ingredients for a Dark N Stormy as Hurricane Earl approached. All used black rum, but four different ginger beers/ales were sampled. Read the results (I’m partial to Blenheim’s myself) here.

The Santa Fe New Mexican faces the dilemma common to vacationers everywhere: Using up what’s in the ‘fridge before a trip. This time, it’s tofu. Read what was done to it here.

Fast Company magazine has an opinion piece on soda giant Pepsi’s supposed efforts to help world access to water. Can a company that hawks bottled water be trusted to help? Read more here.

California wine made in Utah is the subject in the Salt Lake Tribune. How is that possible? Find out here.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel looks at food at the really old ball game. It’s tied to a series of vintage baseball games that the Brewers are playing a la 1860s. (In the interest of full disclosure, yours truly is quoted.) Read the article here.