It is nearly time.
The time I wait for each year with relish. OK, more like a plate and a little salt.
The farmers markets are opening and the tomatoes are ripe and ready for my plate.
Hmmm…. forget the plate. I think the first tomato is going to be eaten like an lush, juice-running-down-your-chin apple.
Don’t get me wrong – I shop for more than just tomatoes, but tomatoes are by far my favorite.
There is nothing like a fresh garden grown tomato to wash away memories of the store-bought tomato imposters of winter.
Yep, I am a sucker for a good tasting tomatoes.
Well, at least I am hoping for a good tasting tomato. I had a few duds last year.
Enough about the lush, red (sometimes yellow) treasures and on to the other goodies of the farmers market.
Going to the farmers market is always an adventure. You just never know what you will find.
Depending on which market you go to, you can get all of the ingredients for a wonderful meal and decorations for the table.
There are some with farmers offering meat, cheese and other staples.
For the side dishes, there are vegetables galore and for dessert there are dessert breads, cookies and honey and jams to make your own goodies.
Although most of the farmers markets were not open when I wrote this column, I did get a taste preview thanks to Larry Golyer, co-owner of the Lone Wolf Nursery in Oak Grove.
A spontaneous stop on a nice day at the end of June netted me a chance to see the nursery, which I had never been to despite knowing Larry for at least 12 years.
During the nursery tour, Larry gave me two ripe cherry tomatoes (yummy) and a couple of full growth cucumbers, which made a great addition to my dinner salad. The rest went into a cucumber salad.
The spot also let me catch up with Larry on local news. When I visit the farmers market, you can be sure to spot me talking with Larry about the things going on in northern Anoka County.
Anoka County is the home to several farmers market. Here are just a few.
On Mondays from July 13 through October, there is a farmers market at Mercy Hospital, 4050 Coon Rapids Blvd., from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
On Tuesdays there are two farmers markets to choose from, one in Blaine and one in Andover.
In Blaine, the farmers market opens up July 17 at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 89th and University avenues.
The Tuesday market is open from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
There is also a Saturday market at the church from 7 a.m. to noon.
The Andover Farmers Market is open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Grace Lutheran Church, 13655 Round Lake Blvd.
On Wednesdays, the farmers market opens up on the Mary T campus, 1555 118th Lane N.W., Coon Rapids, starting July 18. The weekly market is open from 3 to 6 p.m.
There also two markets to choose from on Thursdays.
The Lyric Art Theater, Fifth and Main Street, Anoka, opens July 19. The market is open every Thursday from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
The second market is in Ramsey’s The Draw Park, 14455 Rhinestone St., and also opens July 19. Each week it will be open from 3 to 7 p.m.
On Saturday mornings the Artisan and Farmers Market at the Goose Lake Farm and Winery, 6760 213th Ave., Nowthen. is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All of the farmers markets will run through October.