Wednesday, October 25, 2006
In my life, just about every Saturday begins with a trip to the Belhaven Market on Fortification Street. Located in McDade's parking lot, the market is open every Saturday, from April through December, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I lived on Carlisle Street when it first opened, so I incorporated it into the dog's weekend routine. (Let me apologize now to any of you that were "slimed" by the goofy Basset hound.) Now, several years later, there is no dog, I have to drive to get there, and I am a vendor, but the appeal is still the same. It provides me with my weekly fix of creative people and cool stuff.
Amid all the woodworking, handmade soaps, pottery, photography and other artwork is some incredible food. The food has been the source of my problems as of late. I spend each Saturday tempted by most tantalizing foods and smells.
On one side there is Joseph Pettit with his organic produce. If the enticing scents of his hot boiled peanuts or his fresh herbs weren't torment enough, he has now added his incredible, melt-in-your-mouth flourless chocolate cake. He claims he knows people that can make it last for months. Obviously those people have way more self control than I do. If I bought one it would be gone within the day.
On the other side of our booth, we are forced to contend with K'Jons. Once they get all of their crock-pots up and running, the scents of gumbo, - and soup make my mouth water. They offer samples of almost all of their wares, which is both good and bad. You get an opportunity to discover for yourself how delectable their food is, but it makes deciding what to get a difficult process. My favorite at the moment is their butternut squash and shrimp bisque. It is a rich and creamy blend of squash, shrimp, and spices that manages to be both delicate and hearty at the same time.
These are not the only food options at the Belhaven Market. If you want to eat while you're there, start your morning off with the cream cheese or cinnamon rolls from Flours by Chris and then work your way up to Greg Harkin's cheese grits and tamales.
Betty's Gourmet Delights has unbelievable Sicilian tomato sauce, which I eat at least once a week. You can also get a bottle of BethAnn's tangy comeback sauce, and you can't leave without one of Leann's tortes for dessert. (The lemon is my favorite.)
In addition to the prepared foods, you can also buy organic produce from several farmers. Deva's Harvest brings a large variety of sprouts, while Reviresco Hill Herbs and Perennials provides a multitude of herbs. Abby Farms from Clinton offers a wide assortment of peppers, both fresh and dried, as well as beautiful butternut squash and the best trail mix I've ever eaten. Along with his peanuts, Joseph Pettit's offerings include everything from oriental eggplant to his multicolored "Easter" eggs.
Since first trying K'Jon's butternut squash bisque, I've been playing with my own version. While not like theirs, I have found a version that makes me happy. There is, however, a disagreement in my house as to how butternut squash soup is best seasoned, so I have included both versions.
All of my squash, of course, comes from the Belhaven Market.