The New Carterville Farmers’ Market

Last Sunday, I finally made it to the Carterville Farmers’ Market in it’s new time slot. Since it now runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays at Cannon Park, there was plenty of time to walk around and grab lunch at the market after church.

Although it was a pretty hot afternoon, I enjoyed looking at all of the different things and chatting with some of the vendors. Dee Ann Hammack, who manages the market, had invited me to come out and see the changes since my last time there. She explained that a few of the regular vendors were absent due to the 4th of July holiday, but there was still a good variety. Some of the items I saw were local honey, fresh veggies, artisan-crafted items, kettle corn, plants, live music, and even a chuck wagon with picnic tables.

Dee Ann and her husband, Mike, also operate the Thunder 5 Ranch Chuck Wagon, a farm to fork culinary experience that also sets up at the Johnston City Farmer’s Market. The rib dinner that they prepared for me was wonderful: ribs, corn, and zucchini and onions. I also really liked the special edition 4th of July bib custom made by Nammers Crafts for the chuck wagon. Super cute. The T5R Chuck Wagon menu may vary a bit from week to week based upon what they have ready in their gardens.

The market does accept EBT/LINK and Debit/Credit for transactions. EBT/LINK purchases are limited to items allowed by law such as produce, pre-packaged food, and plants that produce food. If you enter Cannon Park from Greenbriar Street, you will drive on around to the little drive/road just past the skate park that turns toward the market and park in the grass behind the vendors (unless directed otherwise.)

Mmmm….kettle corn

Thunder 5 Ranch Chuck Wagon

BBQ Ribs!

Zucchini & onions on a custom-made bib by Nammers Crafts

Did somebody say funnel cake?

Nammers Crafts

The Potager’s Garden

Music by David Campbell of Lamp Lighter Farm

Fresh veggies

Corn & Salad Dressing

One of the go-to condiments in our house is a really quick corn dressing–mayo, Southern Illinois honey, and Sazón– to spread on corn of the cob. Sometimes I also sprinkle either parmesan or a cheese like feta or cotija onto it once it is on the cob.

When I couldn’t decide what to put on my chef salad for lunch one day, it hit me. I could easily use the corn dressing on my salad. I added the juice of a lime to thin it a bit, and that was it.

I love it when I can have homeade things all set to go that pull double duty. I’ve been using the homeade salsa fresca in my salad for other meals as well. My lettuce was already washed, chopped, and ready to go in a bowl in the fridge. The longest it took me to do anything was tear some thinly slice ham and turkey into pieces. That’s only because I’m still dealing with the chemo-induced neuropathy. Otherwise, it was a pretty quick and tasty chef salad.

Here is the basic recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup honey

1 packet of Sazón

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Adjust the thickness by adding more mayonnaise or honey.

Optional:

Add the juice or zest of a lime for variation.

Root Beer, Llamas, and Wine: A Fair September Day

The first Saturday in September was a bit warm and humid, but still a pretty nice day at the Du Quoin State Fair. I spent quite a bit of time in the Exhibit Hall looking at the different entries from all over Southern Illinois–produce, quilts, artwork, photography, cakes, and pies.

I spent even more time checking out all of the yummy things made in Southern Illinois and enjoyed meeting and talking with so many of the people and their products. Did you know that there is a Wabash Valley Wine Trail? Road Trip!

The Southern Illinois Beekeeping Association was on site with local honey and products made with it, such as Big Muddy Root Beer.

Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch had a demonstration going as well as some of their fleece products. The little pumpkins were adorable…

Devil’s Breath Chile Company had some wonderful samples. They of course make some hot products, but the beef I sampled was a milder option with quite a nice balance of flavor.

Reinneck Ranch Inc. of Mascoutah also had samples and some wonderful products on hand.

There was fresh produce on site, and even the guys from Crown Brew were available to serve decadent coffee concoctions.

The BBQ Popcorn that Uncle Joe’s from Ina has started making was very tasty.

Aunt Jenny’s Fudge had samples. I tried the chocolate praline. O.M.Y! (Oh. My. Yum!)

Louie’s Seasonings, as in those used at the historic Louie’s P & R in Herrin, were available as well as Kuntry Kettle apple butters.

Excel Bottling from Breeze, responsible for the regional favorite Ski, provided samples of soft drinks.

Stanley’s Italian Style Beef Seasoning from Harrisburg had samples of Italian beef. Mr. Stanley was kind enough to pose for the camera.

There was so much delicous-smelling fair food to choose from when it was time to eat. I chose a local food truck with a cause that hit close to home. A bit of online research revealed that Fight Like a Girl was created by Du Quoin’s Marcy Robinson and her husband Les in memory of her sister, Kristina Stacey.

The ribbon fries with cheese were awesome!

I walked through the midway, but after recently spending months fighting nausea during chemo, I passed on any rides. While my kids and their friends enjoyed the midway action, I took a LOT of photos. Imagine that…

The ever-popular “Free Bird” was observed in its natural habitat. Ok, perhaps it wasn’t the original band singing the song, but this band was pretty darn good. The guy singing had a great voice.

After many decades, people still gather at this iconic structure to eat and perhaps rest a bit at the tables. As I’m still trying to rebuild my energy from this past year, I rested often. I was thankful for every bench and picnic table at the fairgrounds!

Livestock and dairy shows are still part of the fair’s backbone. I was sad that I missed the dairy goat show (this girl showed dairy goats for 11 years in 4-H. Tonti Broken Arrow Carpris, my family’s farmette as a kid, was a proud member of the Southern Illinois Dairy Goat Association…) but did see some cows. Horses also make up an important part of the fair. Unfortunately, I did not make it to see the stables this year.

Above: The grandstand in the background of the children’s area. I empathized with all parents pushing double strollers and wagons as I remembered the days when Mija and Mijo were energetic toddlers… At least it wasn’t muddy. That always added to the resistance workout.

Below: The midway as photographed from its North end. It seems the kids have now graduated to this side of the food vendor area.

The TOSI Challenge Meets the Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market

Last Saturday, I was finally able to spend a little time at the Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market, also affectionately referred to as the winter farmer’s market and indoor market. As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with cancer treatments and restrictions for the past few months that limit my ability to get out and do these kinds of things. Being back at a farmer’s market, even if only for a little while, was a real treat for me.

With so many great ingredients and foods from which to choose, it was the perfect place to resume the TOSI (Taste Of Southern Illinois) Challenge. Instead of eating hazardous household products or engaging in harmful behaviors, this is a more tasteful challenge (pun intended.) Quite simply, The TOSI Challenge is to create foods or meals from ingredients made or grown in Southern Illinois. Use #TOSIChallenge when sharing your creations on social media and when possible, tag or at least identify the Southern Illinois ingredients.

One of my first purchases was a ready-to-bake pizza from Tonight, Pizza Italiana.

These are made in Carbondale and can even be ordered online. I opted for the Margherita pizza. My son has requested to try the Americana version next. Its toppings include hot dog and French fries.

One of my next stops was at Mustard Seed Sowers Farm for some iced holy basil tea. They had other choices, but that was my favorite. Mustard Seed Sowers Farm also had boxes of tea available for sale.

One of the benefits of shopping at the farmers market, besides supporting your community, is that you can speak directly with someone who knows the product. For example, at Honey & Shrooms, you learn the difference between the light and dark honey.

This week, I combined some of the honey I purchased from Honey & Shrooms with shiitake mushrooms from Flyaway Family Farms in a chicken stir fry over rice. I also used some red scallions and garlic that I bought from the nice lady in between Mustard Seed Sowers and Dierks Family Farms.

Fresh dill from All Seasons Farm went into a salmon en papillote weeknight meal over thinly sliced potatoes. I also used some of the red scallions, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter.

Fortunately, my taste buds were working better last Saturday (chemo really wreaks havoc on them,) and I worked up an appetite. Southern Que was the perfect solution. I opted for the half slab of ribs with baked beans and slaw. It was wonderful.

I didn’t leave my fur babies out of the TOSI Challenge. Mario’s Mama was there with treats for dogs and even a few for cats. So, Pokey got a canine-safe iced cookie, and the kitties got tuna melt.

There were many things to see, and even a fitness class. (I was already tired from walking more than usual for now, so I did not participate…) I didn’t manage to get pictures of every vendor, but there is a nice variety.

This indoor, winter farmers market runs from 9:00 am to noon on Saturdays through March at the Carbondale High school.

Resources:

Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market, http://www.carbondalemarket.com/

Tonight, Pizza Italiana, http://www.tonightpizzaitaliana.com/

Mustard Seed Sowers Farm, https://mustardseedsowers.weebly.com/

All Seasons Farm, http://www.allseasons-farm.com/

Flyaway Family Farm, https://www.facebook.com/FlywayFamilyFarm/

Mario’s Mama, http://www.mariosmamapetbakery.com/index.html

Scratch Farm & Brewery, https://www.scratchbeer.com/

Southern Que, https://www.facebook.com/southern.que/

Honey & Shrooms, honeyandshroons@gmail.com