Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Summertime Market

When I was growing up, the milk man still arrived early each morning, leaving bottles of milk in an insulated box by the backdoor. I can’t remember when that stopped and we started buying milk from the store but at first it still came in bottles and then, later, the plastic containers that we know so well. But just like Coca Cola products which I think taste better in bottles than plastic, I still feel the same way about milk. So when my friends Mike and Susan told me about a place on Blue Star Highway in Douglas called The Summertime Market that sold organic milk in bottles, I decided to take a drive.

I arrived at the market as Christine Ferris, owner of Christine Ferris Catering, was serving samples of her salads including chicken pesto (made from the organic grass fed chickens for sale inside) and egg salad, again made from organic eggs sold there. After sampling the chicken pesto and buying a container to take home – my daughter loves pesto salads – I wandered through the produce area where signs told me the name of the local farms that provided the stacks of beets, carrots, sweet cherries, blueberries and more on display as well how many miles the food had to travel to get there. That’s because all produce and most of the other products are produced within 30 miles of The Summertime Market with the exception of the soda pop and artisan waters which come from the other side of the state.

Inside there were grass fed meats and wild game sausages, organic cheeses, vintage candy, gelato, natural honey and, bottles of milk from the HilHof Dairy in Hersey, Michigan. The milk is pasteurized but not homogenized so the cream rises to the top. You can either skim off the cream and use it for coffee or shake the bottle.

The next day, I had just returned from an errand when my son Evan asked where I had bought that milk in the bottle? Expecting him to be disdainful of the taste, I told him and asked why. He replied that it was the best milk he’d ever had but then it was also the first bottled milk he’d ever had as well.

The Summertime Market is located at The Bridge just north of Douglas on Blue Star Highway. 269-887-8569 or

Here is a recipe for a sauce made from fresh cherries to use on meats or ice cream from their Website.

Fresh Cherry Reduction Sauce

1lb. fresh pitted cherries
1 cup ruby red port
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Place cherries in saucepan and add port, sugar vinegar and honey. Cook over high heat, stirring slowly, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately  12-15 minutes, or until the cherries are soft but still retain their shape.

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