Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Traverse City's Sara Hardy Farmers Market

Some of the most beautiful flowers you will ever see are available at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City, as well as some of the most amazing food! 

If you find yourself out and about on some lovely Traverse City Saturday morning, I would think you completely bonkers if you did not make your way down to the Sara Hardy Farmer's Market.

The food here is divine.  The sights, smells and people are the stuff of legend (when that legend involves a farmer's market) and the mood is light, slightly hippie and completely organic.
Need something to grill up for lunch later on the boat while floating in Grand Traverse Bay? The Sara Hardy Farmers Market features fresh surf and turf.
 It is becoming somewhat of a habit for me and my lovely Lisa to wander the market each Saturday morning.  The food is intensely local and full of so many wonderful bursts of flavor.  You will oftentimes be speaking to the chef or farmer as you take your first few bites of something a bit more than what it is labeled.  By that last part I simply mean that a pastry is not simply a sweet treat here, it is an indulgence, one that I would wager you have never tasted before. 

There is something completely perfect about food that comes straight from its source.  A bread that is only a few hours old made with ingredients that were grown by the baker.  Each bite brings not only flavor rushing through your senses, but also a hint of the love and hard work that went into producing this amazing food.  After tasting these wares, the term "food" will never be thrown around so loosely in your household ever again.  You'll look at that frozen pizza in a whole new light now.  "That is not food," you'll say, for you have tasted real food!

Sweets abound at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City, MI as well.
 If I appear to be getting a bit carried away it is simply because of the fact that I love local, organic food so very much.  Buying honey from across a folding table from the bee keeper herself is an experience that I absolutely adore.  Buying fudge from the family that churns it is so much better than grabbing a chunk from the local gas station.
Amazing creations from home based chefs are a major draw for locals to the Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City.
 There is a certain magic in every farmer's market that is held throughout the country.  In this good ol' U. S. of A. we have forgotten the value of a market and the personality that goes along with it.  During my years in Guatemala, I went to the local market every week.  Not because I wanted to (even though I very much did) but because I HAD to.  That was the only place to find fresh veggies and exotic fruits.  The market slows you down, lays you back, reminds you that life is for living, not for rushing through to the grave. 

Fresh strawberries are great for munching as you wander through downtown Traverse City.

The Sara Hardy Farmer's Market is Traverse City's version of a slap in the face to those who rush through life without stopping to smell the roses, as they say.  And I love it!
Local maple syrup lines a table at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City, MI.

"So, the market is a religious experience?" you say, "That's lovely, really it is.  But I came here for advice on places to EAT, Ghandi!"  Well, back off with the attitude and I'll get to that.

Delicious bread is everywhere, sweet and otherwise, makes for an outstanding and satisfying breakfast in Traverse City, MI.

The market is open from 8AM-Noon.  That time frame spans two of America's three meal times.  My suggestion to you is that you wander to the market with a few dollar bills (probably 7-10 per person) and make a meal experience of it!  Buy a sweet pastry from 9 Bean Rows (an amazing downtown bakery that sets up shop at the market).......

There's even a few of Traverse City's most popular restaurants offering goods at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market. Yum!

Then wander on over to Patisserie Amie and buy a wondrous loaf of slipper bread (a salty, crusty, soft, buttery affair that will keep your mind forever obsessing over it thereafter)..............

Grab some amazing cheese, sign up for a share of a cow, buy fresh meats veggies and grain goods and more at Traverse City's Sara Hardy Farmers Market.

And then visit my bearded friend and snag some of the most mouth wateringly tasty cheese that you will ever have the joy of chewing.

Yes, there you have it.  A bread, cheese and pastry breakfast or lunch.  Take this humble feast and make the short walk to the bay, grab a picnic table or simply relax in the cool grass or comfy sand and allow yourself to be taken away to a different place in time.........a place free of deadlines, return dates, rushed days and sleeplessness nights.  A time when life was for living and nothing mattered more than this single, simple moment in time.

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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