There are two Farmers Markets here in Memphis: the Memphis Farmers Market is downtown, open on Saturdays, and has all locally produced vegetables. The other is located at the Agricenter out in Cordova, is open Tuesday-Saturday during the productive months, and does import some of its offerings from other states. Each has its pluses and minuses, but for convenience I hit the Agricenter once a week and the downtown one once a month. Saturday at the Agricenter I was lucky enough to stumble upon some Rattlesnake Green Beans. You can eat them young and tender like regular green beans, or let them grow and you eventually get something that looks like pinto beans inside the pods. Unfortunately, the attractive purple stripes and speckles disappear with cooking.
I also got to purchase my first sweet corn of the season with a few ears of Silver Queen. Ah, the joys of eating produce in season. I had a few friends over for a little Memorial Day weekend cookout, since I'd managed to find some great ribeyes for practically nothing. A nice big fire of natural lump charcoal started in a chimney, some good meat and fresh vegetables... it just doesn't get much better than that. And I don't mean to brag, but the steak in the picture is probably the best ribeye I've ever grilled. I almost completely ignored my dining companions during lunch. The corn was soaked in water, cooked in husk until ready, and then topped with chile-lime butter. Not pictured: some homemade pecan tarts purchased from a nice old lady at the Farmers Market. I'm not a big dessert person, but these were delicious.
The wine for this spring meal was the 2004 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, from the Columbia Valley of Washington. Blackberry flavors with a tart edge and a tannic finish. The touch of sweet, full fruit flavor helped go along with the sweetness in the corn and beans. This wine runs around $12, but if you can find it, try the 2003 edition. It costs the same, but the tannins have mellowed out and the blackberry flavor is even more incredible. Got a chance to try that one last week and I'll probably grab another bottle soon.