Agriculture

Room to Grow at Urban Harvest Eastside Sunday Market

When Urban Harvest announced that they were expanding their Eastside market to include Sundays, I was ecstatic. An early morning Saturday run to the Eastside market is a staple in our weekend routine, but it's always nice to have options, and the location is perfect for us to combine with book shopping, breakfast eating, recycling returning and other errand-running-type chores.

It's been about a month since Urban Harvest threw open its, um, parking lot to Sunday morning shoppers and while it's quieter than its Saturday counterpart, there is much to enjoy.

For starters, let's talk tomatoes. Several weeks ago, if you weren't shopping Eastside by 8:15 in the morning, tomatoes were hard to come by. My husband and I discovered that Sundays at the market were a veritable treasure trove of tomatoes: cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, you name it. Josh and I were buying tomatoes by the pound, making sauces and salads three times a day. It was heaven. Of course, now tomatoes are everywhere on Saturday at the market, but for a few weeks, the Sunday option was keeping us in lycopene.

Sundays are much quieter; there are fewer vendors and, so, fewer shoppers. You'll see a few Saturday market regulars selling their products -- Airline Seafood, Sinfull Bakery and Nisha's, among others -- but you will also be exposed to a few new products and the lovely people who sell them. Last Sunday we enjoyed a ten-minute lesson on honey from the folks at the Bee Wilde Honey stall, and we walked away with both honey and honey butter, which is basically honey BUT BETTER. Better than honey? I didn't think it was possible either, but it is -- spreadable, yummy, toast-ready honey butter.

We found another delicious surprise on Sunday when we tasted sweet corn -- raw, right on the cob. It was so tender and sweet we bought six ears on the spot. While I am eager to see Urban Harvest's Sunday market grow, I am enjoying this slower, early start -- smaller crowds gives shoppers more time to chat with the vendors to ask questions, tell stories and establish relationships. Though we generally buy everything we need on Saturday, we have been double-dipping since Eastside started its Sunday run for just this reason -- a slow, leisurely, personal experience with time to savor both the food and the conversation.

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Christina Uticone