I was upstate President's Day weekend, and headed to Ithaca to enjoy a veggie bagel sandwich from Collegetown Bagels, hit the local TJ Maxx and check out the indoor farmers market. Now the outdoor market at Ithaca is pretty darn impressive so I wasn't sure what to expect from the "winter alternative."
But I was pleasantly surprised. The indoor market, which has been running since January, is located right downtown in the Womens Community Building (which also happens to be right across from the Dewitt Mall and the Moosewood).There were a bunch of vendors stuffed into a room the size of a small gymnasium -- offering everything from baked goods to sprouts to meat to jewelry. In addition, some of the favorite prepared food vendors had turned out to tempt shoppers with samosa and tacos. Sadly, Macro Mamas was not among them. So I consoled myself by picking up a small bunch of baby leeks ($2.50), a head of napa cabbage ($3), parsnips, a pair of earrings ($5) and this really good piece of sweet almond brioche for $3 (hey, a half a veggie bagel only sticks with you so long). Since the following day was Chinese New Year (go Year of the Tiger!), I used the napa cabbage in a slaw inspired by a recipe in Eating Well (my new favorite food magazine). The recipe calls for cabbage to be combined with grated sweet potato instead of the traditional orange carrot. I fiddled with the recipe it a bit, cutting the amount of sweet potato in half, adding shredded snow peas, chopped mint and chopped cilantro plus rice wine vinegar for extra kick. Although you could not tell the orange was sweet potato, the end result was pretty tasty and a nice complement to the Chinese-themed meal my aunt prepared. If you happen to be in the Ithaca area next Saturday, be sure to check out the market. Sadly, it's only slated to run until the end of the month. Otherwise, you'll be stuck waiting for spring until the outdoor market opens again.