Since our local farmer’s market doesn’t start for another month, we drove up to Bellingham last week to see how their market was doing. Man! I have serious market envy. Not that I don’t love ours, of course, but wow.
Covering a large parking lot as well as filling the big permanent covered area the city built, the market is thriving, not just with local fresh vegetables and crafts, but food carts, plants, bread, meat, clothing and henna tattoo artists. Instead of a main stage, they have the old-fashioned approach of letting acoustic musicians set up in the intersections. A hula-hoop area is set up on one side for the amusement of limber youth, and the goat-with-a-cart sculpture on the corner is constantly beset by children. People are everywhere, shopping and visiting and hula-hooping and eating.
The market booth had some really excellent ballcaps. Jon bought himself one, while I ogled the croissants and rhubarb tarts in the neighboring stall.
We wandered the circuit, picking up our favorite semolina crackers and a couple of macaroons from the Breadfarm booth, plus a magnificent head of napa cabbage and some spinach and asparagus. As we headed back through the center aisle we saw this amazing display of pastas, right next to a booth of exquisite cupcakes (salted caramel, oh my) and a blend-your-own-smoothie station with built-in bicycles.
The pasta, made by the Bellingham Pasta Company, looked gorgeous and didn’t seem exorbitantly expensive. We picked up a pound of lemon-black pepper linguine, then tore ourselves away to go make lunch at home.
That pasta? It was fantastic. When I opened the packet a cloud of lemon scent wafted out, and the pepper came through in every bite. It cooked perfectly in 3-4 minutes and did not stick to itself. We had it for lunch two days running, both times using leftovers from a Gretchen’s class.
The first day I chopped up these incredible pink oyster mushrooms and sauteed them with roasted garlic, then mixed in smoked salmon and some goat cheese. That was pretty good.
The second day I used chopped crimini mushrooms and leeks, mixed in sliced serrano ham, then tossed the pasta with it and added some of its cooking water along with finely chopped parsley and grated parmesan. That was really, really good. Really.
We still have a few weeks until our own market starts up, so I suspect we’ll be heading up to Bellingham again soon. What pasta lunches might we end up with next time?