It’s pretty well known that I am a die-hard fan of historic downtown Rogers and the Rogers Farmers’ Market. However, I had a really good time this past Saturday shaking things up a bit by visiting the Bentonville Farmers’ Market! I had a budget of $50, and I think it is truly incredible what can be accomplished with such a small expenditure when fresh options abound.This is a multi-part blog series on all my finds and the resulting meals from that one shopping excursion. On Saturday morning, I started the morning in a leisurely fashion with coffee and newspaper on the front porch with my husband. It was thrilling to have the summer temperatures plummet and to enjoy hot coffee without dying in a pool of sweat! After visiting the completely fantastic James Beard Foundation website for some recipe inspiration (love that you can search by ingredient), I finally extracted myself and headed to the Bentonville Farmers’ Market with my oldest daughter, Sophie.
I immediately scooped up some large, vibrant green onions (they are becoming an obsession of mine) while Sophie scooped up some Orange Sherbet from the Yarnell’s “Tryathalon” booth. Ironically, I just published an article about the return of Arkansas’ very own down-home goodness in 2Njoy Magazine this month, so it was fun to see the Yarnell’s squad out in full force and so many people enjoying the fruits (and creams) of their labor! I can’t imagine buying another ice cream brand when we can be so proud of this amazing product made right here in the Natural State.Here’s the total list of my purchases for $50:
- 5 giant green onions ($2)
- Handmade wooden spoon, perfect shape for pasta sauce tasting ($5)
- Fresh salad greens ($2)
- Yarnell’s Ice Cream (free!)
- Half dozen ears of corn (pricey at $4, but SO worth it – amazing taste!)
- Box of baby eggplant ($3)
- Box of Thai “Bitter Ball” eggplant ($3)
- Box of Thai “Kermit” eggplant ($3)
- Bag of yellow “Sonic” tomatoes ($4)
- 1 large butternut squash ($2)
- 1 T-bone steak ($10)
- 2 tubs of goat cheese – jalapeno and honey-almond ($10)
- Box of Concord grapes ($2)
- (ALL the photos from this market excursion are viewable here!)
By the way,I think it is so neat that the Bentonville Farmers’ Market is in the running for America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market. Add your vote here!
During our visit to the market, I overheard a woman admonishing a child: “No, honey, those dolls (in a craft booth) are just for looking – you can’t touch them or play with them. They need to stay up on a shelf.” I thought what a pity it was to hear that, and while I am very much on board with kids understanding how to appreciate and respect heirlooms, life should be hands-on when you’re a kid. The idea that a trip to the farmers’ market might inspire sneaking of tomatoes and hands-on admiring of interesting fruits and vegetables is just one more reason to spend time as a family at the market.
Recipe One: Roasted Garlic Eggplant Hummus
Inspired by the simple but luscious hummus recipe on the James Beard Foundation website, I decided to make a few tweaks and have a go at my own, incorporating the baby eggplants and kermits I picked up at the market.
- Quartered baby eggplant
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
- Canned, fresh or frozen cannellini or garbanzo beans
- Lemon juice
- Seasoning (I chose Nature’s Seasons Blend and fresh ground salt and pepper)
Cut baby eggplant into fairly large (2″) chunks and wedges and place in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and coat generously with minced garlic. Bake in 450 degree oven for about ten minutes, watching carefully.
In the interim, drain (if necessary) beans and blend with about 1/2 cup lemon juice. Add roasted eggplant chunks (with remaining oil and garlic) and seasoning. Blend well and serve with kalamata olives and fresh sliced green onions on top plus pita chips for dipping.
Watch for the next few posts on the subsequent meals I made with this cost-effective farmers’ market budget! Our family of four had at least three to four meals as a result of supplementing pantry staples with fresh farmers’ market finds.
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Downtown Bentonville, Inc. However, as y’all are well aware, the views and opinions stated are most certainly my own, and I DO love an amazing farmers’ market!