Despite the chillier temperatures today, we spent the entire day outside. In the morning, we went to the Arboretum, where we looked for two geocaches (for those of you looking for ways to motivate little people to go hiking, this is definitely a winner!) and marveled at the daffodils and forsythia. I also found these delicate white flowers; I'm not sure what they are, but they were irresistibly fluttering in the breeze. And in the afternoon, we went to our local park. In between, while Ian was napping, I went for a run, and then took a ride to Stockton, feeling like I wanted to take more pictures, and like I wanted to visit the farmers' market.
I love Prallsville Mills. The complex, built in the late 1800s on the same footprint as the early 1700s grist mill, is now a center for arts and community programs, which can be rented out for events. Oddly enough, Steve and I were considering having our wedding reception here, long ago, before we had any idea that we'd ever move to the area. Today, they were having an art show, and there were some forsythia in the window. It seemed so simple and quaint, but so elegant at the same time.
The Farmer's Market was fairly quiet today; the vendors I talked to speculated that it was because of the weather. Even though it was cold, everyone wanted to be outdoors in the sun. There were hydrangeas at the door today, in preparation for Easter.
There was a new vendor today, selling nuts and dried fruits. I didn't catch her name, but she had some tasty charoset for sampling. I bought some cashew and cacao nib clusters from her, no sugar added! (Coconut nectar was the sweetener and glue.)
Milk House was selling some beautiful greens and hydroponic organic lettuces. Though I didn't buy any today, I couldn't resist photographing them. They also had some purple potatoes, which the vendor kindly cut open so that everyone could appreciate their stunning color. The vendor kindly cut open so that everyone could appreciate their stunning color. I was also admiring the mushrooms, having eaten an amazing salad while I was in Philadelphia this weekend, of spinach and sauteed mushrooms and goat cheese.
Spring is definitely coming, and with it the promise of regular installments of fresh local produce. I'm so looking forward to it. And in the meantime, dream of fresh chopped salads like this one, that we ate for dinner tonight. The first chopped salad I ever ate was in Los Angeles, oddly enough, at a chain restaurant; I can still remember how fresh it tasted, how the flavors all mingled together, and how it practically leapt into my mouth. The wonderful thing about chopped salads is that you can put pretty much anything in them (even beans or chick peas), and kids tend to like them because everything is bite-sized, and colorful, and fits well into mini whole wheat pita pockets.
Red bell pepper
2 ripe tomatoes
2-3 stalks of celery
head of romaine lettuce
Chop everything into small pieces, and grate the mozzarella. Toss together in a large bowl with oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to taste.