Last weekend, the toddler and I wrapped up the Maryland /WaPo Eat Local Challenge week with a tour of the farmstands and markets of the Chesapeake shores. The husband was away for work, so I thought the boy and I would fake a beach trip with day-trips to the Bay.
On Friday nights, the town of North Beach in Southern Maryland hosts a farmers market and cruise in. The market was fairly small, but there were Harris peaches (so good we stopped at their farmstand off Rte. 4 again this weekend), pesticide-free corn, lots of tomatoes, melons and peppers, cheap blue crabs, and kettle corn. The toddler enjoyed the cars on display at the “Cruise In,” and we topped off our Tastee Freez dinner with kettle corn and dancing to live music as the sun set.
Saturday morning we hit the road for St. Michael’s on the Eastern Shore. Traffic got us into town just in time to catch the tail end of the market, undoubtedly the most scenic of FreshFarm’s eight area sites. There were peaches, Chapel’s Country Creamery raw milk cheese, local lamb and more. A 2-week old calf provided entertainment before the toddler selected his peach and took off to see the boats. We headed over to the Chesapeake Folk Life Festival for seafood, watermelon, Smith Island cake and more dancing.
We stopped at historic Wye Mill for local! organic! cornmeal and buckwheat flour (more on that soon), and the Councell Farms farmstand with grown-on-site sweet corn and melons of every shape, size and color. (I highly recommend this stop if you’re taking Rte. 50 to the shore — they have a farm playland for kids that includes a tractor, combine reconfigured into a slide/swing, John Deere tricycle racetrack and adorable pygmy goats.) Came home with a Blue Bonnet watermelon that is so sweet and flavorful.
I wanted to use the local grains in my meal with all this Chesapeake bounty, so I made buckwheat crepes filled with corn, tomatoes, peaches, onion and Chapel’s crab spice (Old Bay) cheddar cheese.
Recipe: Chesapeake Crepes
Corn & Peach Filling Ingredients:
2 ears sweet corn, cut from ears
2 peaches, chopped into small pieces
2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 t olive oil
2 T fresh parsley or other herb(s)
salt & pepper
1 c grated cheddar cheese
Instructions: Stir all ingredients except cheese together and let stand.
1 c milk
3/4 c buckwheat flour
1/4 unbleached flour
1/4 t salt
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs, add remaining ingredients and whisk quickly until lumps are gone. Cook in oiled crepe or frying pan over medium heat. Takes about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size of your pan. Remove and place on warm cookie sheet. Top each with generous scoop of filling, then cover with shredded cheese. Roll. Cook in oven 5 minutes, until cheese is just melted. Makes 6-8 crepes. Enjoy!
Notes: I made a toddler version by making mini crepes (about 2 inches in diameter), then topped with cheese and corn/peach filling for a mini pizza. This would have been improved immensely with some fresh crab meat (the Old Bay in the cheese was such a tease!), but I wasn’t able to bring back crabs since it would be a few days before I got to cook this. Next time!
This weekend, the toddler and I hit three Northern Virginia markets in honor of Virginia’s Eat Local week (Aug. 3-9) - stay tuned for a report on those. It’s also National Farmers Market Week, so visit LocalHarvest to find your closest market and check it out!