Yesterday, the Franklin Farmer’s Market turned 10 years old and, of course, I was on hand for the occasion.

Here’s what I love about the Franklin Farmer’s Market. Everything that’s there should be there. You do not find such items as bananas or kiwi, which everyone knows do not grow in Middle Tennessee. You never find tomatoes in May or baby lettuce in August. This past Saturday, what we found were beautiful spring strawberries, vibrant greens such as kale and Swiss chard, baby onions, radishes and pea tendrils.  Just as you should when visiting the grocery store, you should never make a list. See what’s beautiful and fresh and inviting and then decide what you want to cook. This was the reason that I made pork and lemongrass meatballs last night. I found beautiful ground pork from West Wind Farms and tender lettuce,  which the recipe calls for as the sort of dish to hold your beautiful pork meatballs.

So this recipe is from Bon Appetit and here it is. You are now about to accuse me of the very thing I harped upon just a moment ago – that obviously lemongrass doesn’t grow in Middle Tennessee. I will concede the point and also tell you I left it out of the recipe and it still worked spectacularly well. I went to two very well-heeled grocers looking for it, but apparently there are not enough Vietnamese people yet living in Williamson County to require a grocer to stock lemongrass. I hope we can remedy that as quickly as possible because we also need the ingredients for banh mi sandwiches.

I also bought some of the beautiful strawberries. Here’s a tip for you that I’m sure you already know, but just in case – don’t wash strawberries until right before you use them. They are the delicate flowers of the berry world and will turn mushy almost before you know it. The strawberries needed zero additional sugar. They were bursting with sweetness. So I just whipped up a quick custard sauce and called it a day.

Vanilla Custard Sauce

1 cup whole milk

¼ cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat milk and sugar together to a simmer in a saucepan. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Return to the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Cool custard by placing the saucepan in a bowl of ice. Chill until cold.


  1. Joy McLemore
    May 9, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Yummmmm – strawberries, my favorite, well, another one of my favorites, and Leon has a beautiful row of strawberries in one of his new raised garden beds that he built this year. He says the soil will be better next year and things will grow better, but I’m pretty pleased with what I see now!

    The Franklin Farmer’s Market sounds like a wonderful place. I always like to hear about your trips there. I’d love the opportunity to visit it someday myself. In the meantime, we have a verrrry small version of a farmer’s market at the end of our road and everything we buy there is grown right here in Greenville or Spartanburg County. The market is housed in an old building that was once a peach packing shed where I, and practically every other person in my group of friends, worked in the summers while we were in high school. Also, just happens that last night Leon and I attended the 55th reunion of my high school class and had the great fun of being with some of those same friends!! Life is good!

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      May 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      How wonderful to have that continuity of place. One of my all-time favorite farmer’s markets was in Charlotte in a little building with, maybe, 20 vendors total. I liked the vegetables and the fresh flowers, but I really LOVED the baked goods. A little too much, I’m afraid!

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