Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Two Types Of Local: Farmers Markets And Foraging

We're excited to be reporting from the Bloomington Community Farmers Market today. Then we talk about three wild delicacies: ramps, morels and redbuds.

farmers market this way

Photo: Redden-McAllister (Flickr)

It wouldn't be early spring without the Bloomington Community Farmers Market.

Voices From The Market

We’re reporting from the Bloomington Community Farmers Market today checking out what’s for sale, talking to farmers and customers and enjoying this community event.

The parking lot next to the Showers Building is buzzing with more vendors and more customers than I’ve seen this early in the season. The person responsible for managing what goes down every Saturday morning is Market Master Robin Hobson. She estimates there are 4,000 customers and 60 vendors at the market today.

Thanks to a mild winter and an early spring, she’s seeing things that she wouldn’t normally see until a little bit later in the year, like strawberries and cucumbers.

Candace Finch of Finch’s Brasserie is at the Heartland Family Farms table pouring over a very long grocery list. She is buying all sorts of herbs and vegetables to be used at the restaurant. The wild garlic will be used in their wild garlic butter, and the watercress will be served with wild striped bass and lobster stock risotto entrée.

Jim Lewis of Old Post Gardens (Vincennes, Indiana) is selling carrots. He planted them in the fall and let them over-winter. He says these carrots are tastier than the ones you can buy later in the season.

Kelsey Smith studies Nutritional Science at Indiana University. She purchased four butternut squashes, a couple bunches of kale, collard greens and green onions. Why so much food? She lives is the Bloomington Coop with 13 other people. They spend $50-$70 at the farmers market every week.

Find It, Don’t Buy It

Not all edible treats are grown in gardens and on farms. Some of the most interesting food stuffs this time of year grow wild. Morel hunters, for instance, see the blooming of the redbud trees as an indication that their coveted mushrooms are now in season. But these beautiful pink flowers aren’t just nice to look at: you can eat them. We’re using them as a garnish for local yogurt, meringue cookies and local berries.

You can find morels at the market this time of year, too, but be prepared to shell out upwards of $35 per pound for them. Seasoned forager Brian Snider says this season has been unusual. He started finding morels on February 27. “It’s never been this early,” he says. “Peak season should be April 20-27 and it’s going to be over (by then).”

Ramps are another springtime delicacy coveted by foragers. They are similarly tough to find in the wild, but according to Chef Bob Adkins, they are worth the trouble. We make three recipes using ramps: pickled, pesto’d and packaged.

News Stories In This Episode:

Stories On This Episode

Bloomington Community Farmers Market Rings In 38th Year

bedding plants for sale at the farmers market

It wouldn't be spring without the Bloomington Community Farmers Market. For the 38th year, farmers and community members come together to celebrate local food.

Edible Beauty Of Spring: Redbud Dessert

redbud dessert

The blooming of redbuds on trees across the Midwest is a sign of spring. Did you know you can eat these beautiful little flowers?

Forager Sees Early End To Morel Season

bag of dried morel mushrooms

Brian Snider has been hunting morels in southern Indiana for 25 years. He says this year's season started earlier and will end earlier than any in his memory.

Ramp Recipes Three Ways: Pickled, Pesto’d, And Packaged

fish wrapped roasted cod on a plate

As promised, last week we gave you tips for how to hunt for ramps, and now we're giving you some recipes for three ways to put ramps to work in your cooking.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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