On Saturday afternoon Rob and I walked down to the Cayuga Lake shore for a look around the Ithaca Farmer's Market. Ever since I made my first haul of fresh tomatoes, peaches, raspberries, peppers, bread, and goat cheese at Salt Lake's farmers market a few years ago I've eagerly awaited the first of June and with it the arrival of real fresh clean local produce. Almost nothing sold at my neighborhood grocery can match the flavor and wholesome quality of anything you can get at the farmer's market, and once you've tasted the beefy tang of a vine ripened tomato there's no going back.
It's still too early for tomatoes, but the Ithaca market featured an impressive spread of other seasonal produce, mostly leafy greens, and a smattering of specialty items, sausage, duck eggs, currants, honey, maple syrup, pastries, wines, cheeses, and a wide variety of hot and fresh ethnic cuisine. Both of us eventually settled on a lunch of cuban food (I know...those plantains were certainly not local) and pomegranate-lemon iced tea.
There were also many fresh lemonade stations set up throughout the market and every time we passed them, the tantalizing smell of squeezed citrus (I know, once again, certainly not local...but who cares when you're talkin' fresh lemonade!?) would fill the air and tempt my salivary glands. Rob was the first to cave in and order a glass, but of course once he had it in his hand, I had to try a sip. It was incredible! The flavor was perfectly balanced without being too sweet, syrupy, or "sticky" and I can't think of another beverage I've tried that's ever been as refreshing. Rob ordered a glass for me right away and I must have exclaimed "this is unbelievable" about 50 times while my sipping lasted. I went to the booth and asked what they used to sweeten the juice and they said it was their own blend of natural sugars and didn't contain any corn syrup. The sweetener looked a bit like agave nectar, but it's tough to tell for sure. In any case, now I'm sold on getting a citrus juicer!
It was a gorgeous day--cool and sunny with a pleasant breeze--and after inspecting all the goods we went and sat out by the lake to enjoy our drinks and the happily lazy atmosphere. Faced with such a luscious spread it's easy to get carried away, but as we are only two people and already had a fridge full of food, I suggested that we just pick out a good head of lettuce to supplement our meals for the week. I also indulged a bit and picked out a couple of clothing items: a very cute shirt for me and an equally adorable present for someone else...(it's still a secret who:)