This morning’s breakfast was blueberry jam with lavender on wheat toast. It was my first time trying the jam, and the flavor threw me a little. It had my senses crossed for a minute. As I spread the jam over the toast, there was a faint scent of lavender. Tasting it intensified the scent, and somehow it was like eating a smell for the first few bites. But then the flavor of the lavender settled in, and the jam was less strange and much more tasty. It’s made by Chef Eric Bein of Station 400, a posh breakfast and lunch restaurant on Lemon Avenue in Sarasota.
I bought the jam at King Family Farm and Market in Bradenton where the blueberries and lavender are grown. I met my sister there last week. King Ranch is a regular stop in her afternoon pick-up route; she brings the kids into the market to get their after-school snacks. This time, they picked fresh flowers too.
The flowers cost 35 cents a stem; just grab the scissors and snip.
The field was filled mostly with Snapdragons, but we saw a few other varieties as we strolled through the rows – lavender, some sort of really tall gladiola-looking flowers, and one towering sunflower.
But don’t just go for the flowers and jam, go for the produce. A lot of what is grown at the farm is picked that morning, so it doesn’t get fresher. The produce also has low to no pesticides. The farm isn’t certified, but their practices are organic. Still, read the labels while shopping because some of the produce and products are sourced from other local businesses.
My choices for the week were blueberries, bell peppers, peaches, corn, cucumbers, celery, onions, and patty pan squash. And even more so than freshness and flavor, the invaluable part of shopping at a local farmer’s market is knowing where your food comes from. I can rest easy knowing the cucumbers in my fridge are sans salmonella. Eat local!