Snacks and treats are not the only options these new market entrepreneurs offer; the makings of great meals are also on sale. One evening, having earlier found cornmeal from two different vendors—Jennings Bros. Stone Ground Grains and Ernst Farm—I decided to do a taste test, making two batches using the same cornbread recipe. From a wide selection, I had chosen Jennings Bros. American Cornmeal, a blend of three types and colors of heritage corn grown and milled at their farm in Nashville, Michigan. Ernst Farm’s single offering was a yellow stoneground cornmeal. When baked into a cornbread, both produced a tasty quick bread, but the American blend provided a nuttier, more fully developed corn flavor, truly wonderful paired with a vegetarian stew of roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and yellow-eye beans.
In addition to grains, Ernst Farm sells eggs, meat, and poultry. One evening I paired their pork chops with the Brinery’s Storm Cloud Zapper Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage brightened with beets and ginger ($9/pint). Brinery owner David Klingenberger, an alumnus of Tantré Farm, has turned a fascination with fermented vegetables into a business producing pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi. While good straight from the jar, the crunchy sauerkraut was exceptional braised with bacon, apple wedges and those pork chops as the foundation of a lovely autumnal meal.
Earlier in the season I bought a stewing goose from Harnois Farm, a poultry producer. It cost me $18 but yielded three rich dinners and a quart