Saturday, February 19, 2005

Dutch treat

Living in New Jersey means that, with a little research and persistence, you can probably find people from just about any culture in the world. The culinary benefits of this are obvious; it would be a lot more difficult to cook Asian if I were living in other places where a wealth of real Asian ingredients is hard to find.

There are plenty of other cultural groups here, though, and today I visited a different local “ethnic” market. I’ve wanted to visit the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer’s Market in Kingston ever since I heard about it, especially since it’s not too far from home. Since they have very limited hours, this takes a little preparation or luck. I decided that since it was a sunny afternoon and I had some errands to run anyway, I’d drive by and see if they were open. At worst, I’d get to take down their hours from the sign on the door.

Luck was with me, since I arrived while their working week had about an hour to run. Many of the meat cases had been completely cleaned out, but I was able to get a pound of excellent ground pork. I needed butter, so I got a big hunk of unsalted sweet butter. Being the noodle addict I am, I bought two bags of dried egg noodles; one of wide noodles and another of more spaghetti-like dimensions. I hurried by the abundant pies and sweets in an attempt to not make the trip too unhealthy (or too expensive, for that matter). There was a decent selection of winter vegetables and I’m still regretting not getting the beautiful head of romaine I walked past. I also got some candles.

The market has different sections and a register for each section; you pay for your purchases in the department where you get them. The staff is composed of Mennonites from Pennsylvania. The fresh produce comes from farms in Pennsylvania, though packaged goods may come from farther afield; my noodles hail from Ohio. Not only can you buy a wealth of food there, you can also buy various crafts or even furniture. If you just want to stop in for a snack, they have a lunch counter, too.

Dinner was the ground pork, sautéed in the butter and mixed with shoyu, mushroom-flavored soy, mirin and sesame oil, then served over the wide egg noodles. I’ll be back to that market, I’m sure.

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