• Laurel Contributor

Mother Nature at your Table

by Jenny King

Take a trip to the Highlands Marketplace Saturday mornings and plan to spend some quality time with local growers, purveyors, and friends.

The Marketplace is held May through October at the Kelsey Hutchinson Founders Park from 8:00 - 12:30 and, as the seasons changes, so does the range of choices. There are several vendors there who bring back what might be considered “old timey” skills like basket making, canning, and weaving along with growers with produce that’s been harvested that morning.

Samples. Who doesn’t like samples? Don’t be shy - step right up. There is Tanya Duncombe with Native Cuisine who offers tastes of her trout dip among other deliciacies; Hallman’s Bear Creek Sauces; Durm’s Family Farm with their pork products; Dr. John Baumrucker and the many varieties of chutneys, salsas, and pickled jalapeños, all just waiting for your taste buds to enjoy. I must admit that after tasting all of the above I ended up purchasing some to take home along with some great produce and eggs from Don Deal, organizer of the Highlands Marketplace.

Every time I go I think, “I don’t need much today,” and each and every time I end up going back to my car to grab a couple of more bags after throwing caution to the wind and giving in to temptation. How can you resist Toni’s homemade pastries?

As it gets closer to traditional gift-giving season, I’m starting to eye the hand-made creams and teas by the Many Hands Peace Farm. They hold lots of events and workshops throughout the year and will even take you on foraging tours. The Many Hands Peace Farm is an educational farm, started in 2010, dedicated to teaching guests about the concepts and techniques of regenerative agriculture.

While September can mean the end of the growing season in lots of places in the flat lands, that’s not true up here. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of produce at the Highlands Marketplace. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning, just be sure to bring an extra bag!

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