All life is an experiment. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 18th season of the Collingswood Farmers’ Market opened with sunshine and promise.  The promise of new vendors and new foods.  While I always have in mind what is in season and what will likely be offered for sale, I always am ready to try something new.  To experiment.  To experience.

The first new vendor I spotted was Buck Wild Bison.  I approached the stand and three very friendly and knowledgeable men engaged with me in conversation about exactly what bison tastes like.  I am a longtime buyer of grass fed and pasture raised beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from Hillacres Pride so why should I try bison.  Well, because all life is an experiment.  Bison is lower in fat than chicken, I was told.  And the taste is not as strong as grass fed beef.  Remembering that it took some time for my husband to like the taste of grass fed beef, I thought I would give it a try.

Next we discussed how to cook it.  I offered that my husband had just bought a new charcoal grill and would likely want to experiment with that method of cooking bison.  I was given several suggestions and it was decided I would buy rib eye steak and my husband would grill it.   I was told to grill it for a shorter amount of time and a lower temperature than beef (160 degrees internal temperature) but that would be the only difference.  Easy.

Excited with my first purchase of the first market I continued down the aisle.  Of course I bought strawberries from A. T. Buzby and Springdale Farms.  Of course I bought asparagus from the same two farmers.  Of course I bought sour dough bread and oatmeal raisin cookies from Wild Flour Bakery.  I turned to face Flaim farms and spotted the whitest, smoothest spring potatoes I had ever seen.  No discussion.  Had to have them.  Spinach from Our Yards.

I filled my wagon twice.  Offloading in the middle of the market.  I bought those “little girl” eggs (double yolks on two of them this week!), some mushrooms, and some sauce and antipasto ingredients.  I was one happy woman!  The market is open and all is right with my food world!

Dinner on market day is always dictated by the market.  Our market day dinner was grilled bison rib eye steak (from Buck Wild Bison), sautéed mushrooms (from Davidson’s exotic mushrooms), creamed spinach (from Our Yards), parsleyed Spring potatoes (from Flaim Farms), sliced hot house tomatoes (from A. T. Buzby).

Directions for a most delicious farmers’ market inspired  meal……….

Thaw, dry, and I lightly salt the bison steak.  My husband grilled at a lower temperature for a shorter amount of time.  He used his thermometer to determine the internal temperature.  The steak was removed from the grill and left to rest for 6 minutes.

Cut up the potatoes, skin on, and boil them until a knife blade can be inserted easily.  Then drain the potatoes, drop a large knob of butter, sprinkle with dried parsley (fresh can also be used), sprinkle with some Kosher coarse salt, and slightly smash.

Melt equal amounts of butter and olive oil in a frying pan.  Clean and cut up the mushrooms.  Watch for the butter to melt and bubble up and then down. When the bubbles go down slightly, toss in the cut mushrooms.  Stir until the butter and oil is absorbed by the mushrooms.  Lower the heat slightly and stir intermittantly until you see the mushrooms shine as they are releasing the oils.  When the mushrooms are browned to your liking turn off the heat and set aside to serve with the bison steak.

Rinse the spinach thoroughly.  Spinach can be sandy.  With some water still on the leaves, drop into a skillet with a knob of butter and a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Saute over medium heat.  Turn with tongs.  Turn off the heat when the spinach starts to wilt.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cornstarch or finishing flour.  Turn again with tongs.  Put a lid of the pot.  When you are ready to serve, turn the heat back on under the pan, pour in about a 1/4 cup of cream, let it bubble a little to thicken. Serve.

Tomatoes.  Just slice them and sprinkle with some coarse salt.

Meanwhile, wash and slice some strawberries.  NJ Fresh!  Dessert…with or without ice cream…but always with whipped cream!

Dinner was an experiment.  A successful experiment.  Bison is delicious.  Light.  It tastes like beef.  A mellow, quiet sort of beef.  Delicious and well worth your time and effort.

Bison.  An experiment that works!  Can’t wait to try the kielbasa!


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