Cheese Curds at the Farmers’ Market in North Scottsdale

This morning we headed off to the new farmers’ market near our house. It’s very exciting that locally-grown produce is now available nearby! It’s about time!!

Anyway, I love farmers’ markets because cooking is my passion and I appreciate getting fresh from the farm fruits and vegetables, but I have a big pet peeve. I really dislike all of the non-produce related vendors that seem to dominate these markets. The soap makers, the jewelry peddlers, the crazy guy that sells scarves for dogs – what the heck do these people have to do with farms or farmers. I say nothing!

They belong at the art and wine festival or the county fair, but not next to the farmers who are trying to sell me basil, peaches, and fingerling potatoes. I don’t want to look at the gourds you’ve turned into southwestern-themed pots, nor do I care to peruse your collection of home-made wind-chimes, crocheted caps, and tie-dyed scarves. I’m there to buy fruits and vegetables.

Besides the handicraft contingency, the pushiest and most annoying vendors are those who are selling beef jerky, apple butter, prickly pear salsa, and a bunch of other items that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Today, one particularly aggressive vendor came at me with what looked like a giant cottage cheese curd on a toothpick. “Try it!” “You’ll love, it,” he cheerfully shouted as he waved the toothpick in front of me. “They eat these cheese curds by the bucket full in Wisconsin.” Politely, I forced a fake smile and grudgingly popped the curd into my mouth – then nearly gagged. I’m not sure what’s going on in Wisconsin? It was downright ghastly – not unlike a sweaty, squeaky, gamey pencil eraser. Obviously, this was some kind of sick, aquired taste of Mid-Westerners.

While he waited for me to compliment him on his “curd”, I nearly vomited. Quickly, I escaped back to the car to get a Kleenex to spit out this culinary horror. Curds are what my son throws up when he drinks too much milk and spins around in circles. It’s not a snack food!!

Anyway, I hope that Arizona will continue to expand their farmers’ markets and the number of produce vendors. And, hopefully, the organizers of these markets will limit the number of non-farm related sellers who minimize the quality of these venues.

Now, I’m going to try and forget this horrific curd incident.

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