Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teaneck Farmers' Market, sweet potatoes with garlic and more

On my first visit to the Teaneck Farmers' Market this summer, I bought fruit and lettuce from Sunden's Stone Pointe Farm in Old Tappan.

Editor's note: I won't make a special trip to a farmers' market to shop for pricey fruits and vegetables, but will stop at one if I happen to be passing by. Today, I also discuss garlic mashed sweet potatoes, and how I've come to rely on Costco Wholesale's pure egg whites to make a quick open-face omelet. 


New Jersey farmers' markets are terrific, but their higher prices discourage me from making a special trip to one.

When I lived in Englewood, I loved the downtown farmers' market, and even Hackensack had one for the first couple of years I lived here.

Closter's market is one of the bigger and better ones, but I've been there only two or three times on Sundays, when I've driven up for a haircut at a Korean barber shop.

Now, the closest market to me is in Teaneck. Today, I stopped in on the way home from doing an errand in town.

Two farms set up stands at Garrison Avenue and Beverly Road in Teaneck on Thursdays, and Sunden's Stone Pointe Farm from Old Tappan seems to have better produce.

Two ears for $1

You know I haven't been to a farmers' market in years when I tell you I was shocked that $1 now buys only two ears of sweet Jersey corn.

Sunden's cantaloupes were much bigger than the other vendor's, and they were $4 each, compared to $4 each or two for $7.

I also picked up beautiful Jersey peaches with the fuzz still on them for $1.99 a pound, and big heads of romaine and red-leaf lettuce for $1.99 each.

One good thing about a farmers' market is that produce generally looks better and is bigger than what you find in a ShopRite or other supermarket.

More signs needed

One disadvantage is a lack of signs. Most items I saw at around 10:30 this morning were unlabeled -- no prices and nothing on where they were grown.

After I wrote this, I got a call informing me the hours of the market are noon to 6 p.m., but vendors will sell to you before the official opening.

I only want Jersey produce when I go to a farmers' market, yet I saw boxes of pineapples, bananas and other fruit that clearly aren't from the Garden State.

And all that other stuff they sell -- Amish pies, fresh mozzarella, empanadas and whatever -- why bother?

This year, the market's last day will be Oct. 30.

Don't spare peeled California garlic from Costco Wholesale when making mashed sweet potatoes, a terrific substitute for a bagel or bread at breakfast, below.

A simple, open-face omelet with a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese takes only minutes when you use Kirkland Signature Egg Whites from Costco Wholesale.

Sweet potatoes and garlic

I stopped at the Paramus ShopRite looking for sweet potatoes on Tuesday, and saw only loose yams, which are starchier and probably have more calories.

In the week since my last visit, some produce department fixtures were moved.

Then, on a low shelf, I saw net bags of Southern's 10 in 1 Sweet Potatoes, a reference to 10 ways they can be prepared as shown on the label (3 pounds for $2.99).

They are triple washed, and all about the same size.

When I opened the bag the next day, one of the sweet potatoes was rotten and inedible, but I cut up the rest -- skin and all -- and boiled them with fistfuls of peeled Christopher Ranch Monviso Garlic from Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

They take about 45 minutes to soften. 

After I drained them and returned them to the pot, I added liberal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil, a little salt and just about any other seasoning I had around:

Black pepper, red-pepper flakes, cinnamon, dried onion and no-salt seasoning.

Then, I mashed and served them. There were plenty of leftovers.

An egg-white omelet with sliced reduced-fat cheese, Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon from Costco Wholesale and Aleppo pepper.

An egg white-smoked wild salmon omelet with leftover organic whole wheat spaghetti in bottled pasta sauce with added anchovies, sardines, red wine and organic diced tomatoes, below.

My wife used more peeled garlic from Costco when she made escoveitched fish on Wednesday, frying fresh whole porgy she bought at H Mart in Englewood for $2.49 a pound. Onions, sweet pepper, garlic and whole peppercorns are stewed separately in vinegar, then spooned over the plated fish.

Teaneck Farmers' Market.

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