Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soggy Doggy Market

Looking outside at the blue expanse, the sun's rays are warm to my skin as a chilly breeze briskly reminds me that it is May in Cleveland.

The past 2 weeks have been beautifully sullen, from the delicate mist draping the city to forays of nearly hurricane force gusts and cloudbursts, and every shape and size in between. The temperatures have been all over the place like my aim when I last played darts (sober, even), worse than a drunk, blindfolded penguin.

Yesterday, the rain was persistent taking no pity that it was the season opener for the Tremont Farmers Market. With pitched tents firmly planted in the sod at Lincoln Park, wet tent flaps flittered and the vendors were adorned in their shiny coats as if preparing to go fishing in the Bering Sea. Akemi only tolerated trudging through the wet grass to investigate the new smells.

There were a few new faces and several who returned. Looks like I can bring my knives to Mr. Noon and have them sharpened again this year. He got on Akemi's good side by offering her a snack. We had to drag her out of his tent. The sweet smell of crepes, spices for a dollar, several vegetable stands, chocolates, tea purveyor, and the lady with pies were a welcome sight and smell.

When we walked by one of the new tents that had numerous plates of cheese cubes on display, Bug persistently inquired whether I wanted to try a sample. I tried to ignore him. The man behind the table explained the cheese is from Meadow Maid in Fredericktown (near Columbus) from cows that are grass-fed. After 10 requests, becoming firmer each time, I grew weary of Bug asking and finally picked up cranberry almond and habanero cheese samples. We walked away with an 8 oz. brick of habanero cheese ($6 each or 2 for $10). The cheese was creamy, almost sweet, and had a nice zing.

We were stopped by a cheerful woman from the next tent. Ms. Mononoke, as I will call her due to her Princess Mononoke knit stocking cap, kneeled down to play with Akemi. Akemi-hime decided not to acknowledge the stranger as she did not come bearing gifts.

Bug was intrigued with the selection of the balsamic vinegars and oils from The Olive Tap. He tasted the green balsamic vinegar and chipotle extra virgin olive oil. He was impressed by the sweet-tartness of the vinegar and the mild smokiness and spicy tail of the oil.

Bug asked Ms. Mononoke for her opinion on a suitable match for the chipotle oil. She responded with a mixture of red apple balsamic vinegar and the oil. Sweet and spicy. Nifty on a salad or meat. Akemi became excited when Ms. Mononoke packaged up our bottles, $15 for the oil and $13 for the red apple balsamic vinegar, in a pretty bag.

Shopper turnout wasn't very good, as one would imagine with the rain. I felt bad for the man who drove nearly 2 hours away from Kinsman, OH with his large chest of lamb, beef, and pork sausages. That's quite a haul. The sausages he gave out as samples were delicious!

Akemi was eager to get out of the rain and mushy grass, and return home to play with her new bag.

There is a frost warning for morning commuters as the temperatures drop into mid-30s this evening.

On an unrelated note, May the 4th be with you!

- Cassaendra

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