Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day One Seventy Three - A trip to the farmer's market

I love outdoor farmer's markets. There you go, I said it. Some people can't resist Barney's and Saks or Club Monaco and J Crew, that's not me. Take me to a farmer's market, I'll ooh and aah, proceed to get really excited followed by wanting to buy everything and then will manage to exercise some restraint and come home with some veggies, traditionally a local cheese and maybe a homemade bread. All of which I know will be worlds better than what I can find at the supermarket.

So which Farmer's Market did I go to? Today's expedition led me to the one in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. Not nearly as crowded as ones that I frequent in NYC, but with a fantastic selection of fruit, veggies, cheeses, breads, meats and more. On this first day of August, one certainly got an abundance of great looking tomatoes, one stand boasted over twelve different types of tomatoes alone. There were tons of lovely squash and zucchini, some outstanding looking eggplants, mushrooms, and plenty of greens. But hey this isn't a blog about fresh produce, it is a blog about cheese, so let's get on with it.

At this farmer's market, there were two different cheese stands - Cowgirl Creamery and a Virginia Farm cooperative offering cheeses from six different farms in Virginia.

We first stopped at Cowgirl where they had a selection of their three well known bloomy rind cheeses - Mt. Tam, Red Hawk, and St. Pat's, along with two fromage blancs, one pure and one with herbs. We decided to buy one St. Pat which is their cow's milk bloomy rind cheese that is rubbed with nettles and only available in the spring and summer months. Delish, slightly vegetal and grassy from the nettles yet unctuous and superbly creamy - a tasty morsel!

Next up we ventured over to the Virginia Farmer's Cooperative where we tasted four of their cheeses, each delish in it's own way --

The first we tried was an aged goat tomme rubbed with Rosemary -- a great combo of tangy citrusy grassy notes from the goat's milk mixed with the herbaceous freshness of the Rosemary.

Next up we tried a washed rind goat cheese, not something you find very often -- this cheese was stinky, with that quintessential washed rind pucker yet lighter than most washed rind cheeses as it was made with goats milk. Definitely unique!

Thirdly, we had a taste of a goat triple cream that for me missed the mark. And last but not least, we had an ash ripened soft goat cheese, both coated in ash and with an ash line through the cheese, this was just melt in your mouth fantastic! Young with that classic goat tang but with the earthiness of the ash, you couldn't go wrong here!!

All in all, we had quite the fun trip to the Bethesda Farmer's Market this fair Sunday.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and didn't have to deal with the overturned tractor trailer on I-95 as I did!

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