by Jim Ridley
When the weather's this pretty — or frankly, even when monsoons are battering the windows — I get excited about cruising the farmers markets on Saturday morning. I say "cruising" because I've come to find there are certain items I'm accustomed to finding at only one market. At the Nashville Farmers' Market, I'm perpetually drawn to the table stand for Betty Jo's Gourmet Slaw, the best condiment I've found since Boscoli olive salad. It's an all-purpose (for me, anyway) near-relish with a sweet-mustardy-briny taste and a mule kick of cayenne that gives a turkey sandwich, burger or hot dog a dash of zip.
Other specialties I've pursued to specific markets:
• Cuppycakes' amazing truffles and baked goods at the 12South Farmers Market (and now at the new West End Farmers Market).
• Ellie's Old Fashioned Donuts dunked hot in a bag at the Franklin Farmers Market. (Mmmm ... farm-raised donuts.)
• The fresh-harvested mushrooms and Karla's empanadas at the West Nashville Farmers Market.
So what items draw you to a particular market — kale rabe, farm-produced meats, pickles? (Note to self: Go pick up a tub of kimchi from Mitchell Deli on Steve Haruch's suggestion.) Does one stand out from another? What specialties will you be elbowing me aside for tomorrow as we convene this week's Open Thread? Feel free to share anything on your mind related to food — meals you've enjoyed this week (or not), cooking experiments that succeeded (or didn't), items you found (or can't).