04 July 2007

Benito vs. the Farmers Market: Kudzu Jelly & Goat Cheese

Here's two local treasures that I picked up from the Downtown Farmers Market. While I still love the Farmers Market at the Agricenter, the one downtown has a lot more stuff and for those that don't like downtown, fear not: it's way on the south side, so you've got free parking and nobody's hitting you up for spare change.

First up, we have Kudzu Bloom Jelly from Mississippi. For those of y'all that live outside the South, kudzu is a vine native to Japan that was introduced to the Southeastern United States in the 50s to help control erosion. It did the exact opposite, and without any local predators, the stuff grows uncontrollably. I've heard of people doing useful things with kudzu, but until this past weekend, I'd never seen it with my own eyes. Hence my inability to pass up a jar of Kudzu Bloom Jelly.

I tried it on a toasted English muffin with a little butter. Good stuff, if a little hard to define. It's somewhere between apple and white grape jelly, though some compare the flavor to crabapples. It's tasty and has a lovely natural color to it. I'd love to surprise somebody with it, particularly if they've lived around here for a long time.

Next up we have goat cheese. I've probably consumed my own weight in goat cheese over the years, but this is the first local product I've tried. From Bonnie Blue Farm in Waynesboro, Tennessee comes this little tub of homemade goat cheese. And it's some great stuff. Creamy and tangy and not overly earthy. I spread some on baguette rounds along with some slices of my Yellow Pear tomatoes and homegrown oregano. I'm anxious to try some of their feta cheese the next time I'm downtown on a Saturday morning.


Fredric Koeppel said...

Their feta is wonderful. we use it in salads and tacos and on pizzas.

who goes out and picks all the kudzu blooms it would take to make a jar of jelly?

deliberately said...

Nice, Benito. You get the award for finding the one thing at MFM that I apparently missed. I'm on the hunt now.