Just a self-trained home cook in an 8' x 12' kitchen honing his craft…

To market, to market…

My favorite market(outside of France, of course), would be, hands down, the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. The team there, headed up by Harold is marketing extraordinaire in every sense. Best of all, they are always interested in feedback from the consumer, and I know from experience, they act upon the feedback, requests, and inquiries we relay to them. Many times we, the consumer, are hesitant or too busy to return items to the grocery or to make special requests. I am not.Those of you who know me know that I am never shy in sharing my opinions; neither do I hesitate to return any item I think is not up to standard. The market and grocery managers want to hear from you when something indeed is not ‘up to snuff.’ If you don’t tell them, how are they to know?

Even though their own website(link above) is full of photos, information and directions, I wanted to share some of my own. Incidentally, before you start snapping photos in your market, it’s a good idea to get permission from the powers that be(which I did).

Here’s a tour of one of my recent visits.

Of note: Any editing I did was to lighten the dark or de-glare the flash in the photographs. The colors are as they appeared. Dame nature does a spectacular job on her own, doesn’t she?

A stunning choice of organic produce.

A stunning choice of organic produce.

Beautiful, full of flavor organic fruit.

Long bok choy, baby bok choy, Shanghai bok choy, regular bok choy and did I mention bok choy?

If you see something you’re not sure how to prepare, wait for a fellow shopper to pick it up and ask them how they prepare it. If they don’t speak English, usually there’s someone within ear shot who will step in and interpret for you. I’ve had many great tips and lessons(some consisting of mostly hand gesturing and sound effects- highly entertaining to other shoppers, no doubt!) from total strangers while we study the produce offerings together. I’ve even asked them to pick mine out so I would know what the preference was for that particular variety.

Herbage, anyone?

Herbage, anyone?

2 of many types of mushrooms available.

Have you ever seen round carrots? Now you have.

Have you ever seen round carrots before? Well, now you have.

I just love Meyer lemon curd. You can recognize them by their unusual color- and their price!

I just love Meyer lemon curd. You can recognize them by their unusual color- and their price!

Somewhere, over the pepper rainbow...

Peppers, peppers and more peppers.

Me making a bok choy selection.

Every imaginable nut is here. Some you may have never even heard of.

Every imaginable nut is here- even me! Some you may have never even heard of.


Vegetarians and squeamish folks BEWARE!!! The next few images are of whole fish, so some of you may not want to see them. Now’s your chance to exit.

Every kind of fish imaginable, all kept fresh with plenty of ice.

Each fish, shrimp and sea creäture is labeled with a brief description, methods of cooking, country of origin and wild or farm raised. This last designation is very important if you’re trying to steer clear from farm raised seafood. The fish counter staff are very helpful and patient. Don’t hesitate to sniff your selection(any good fish counter is happy for you to), but sniff before they cut or filet it. There’s usually a ‘code’ illustrated above any fish counter:
1) leave it whole(cleaned and eviscerated), 2) cut into steaks, 3) filet cut, etc.
Make sure to tell them if you want the frame(skeleton) if you ask for them to filet. Some fish due to bone structure and size are only available whole.

Fresh red snapper. So fresh it doesn't smell.

Fresh red snapper. So fresh it doesn't smell. Remember, fresh fish has red gills, clear eyes and it's only odor is that of sea or fresh water.

The closest thing to homemade mayonnaise, without making it yourself! A tasty homemade tartar sauce is moments away when you start here.

This is by no means the entire market. One thing I like a lot about this ‘farmer’s market’ is they carry staples (detergent, toilet paper, cereal, etc.), so you can do your shopping in one stop.

The next time you’re wondering around your generic chain supermarket looking for ideas and inspiration, jump back in the car and head to the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market and have a real shopping adventure. As one friend who recently went for the first time exclaimed upon returning home, “It’s sensory overload!” Trust me, your family, and your taste buds will thank you!

I welcome your comments and toujours, bon appetit!

© Kyle A. Nelson


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