Festive Farmers Market Food for a Virtual Wedding

Yesterday was a big day in our house, represented by the picture above. In case you don’t get the symbolism, that is a garlic scape tied into a knot. That is because yesterday, the first of my son’s peers to get married held a virtual wedding that he and I watched at home while eating some special snacks that MOSTLY were made from ingredients I had just gotten at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market that morning.

The bride was the daughter of one of my very dear friends; her daughter and my son had many homeschool classes and events together from kindergarten through high school, and her mother or I, or sometimes both of us, led MANY of them. The groom was also a homeschooler who had a few high school art classes with my son. The two dated in high school and through both earning bachelor degrees at two different colleges 150 miles apart. Once they both graduated, they both felt the other was their soulmate, and wanted to get started on their life together as soon as possible.

Of course, they were planning their wedding at the height of the pandemic, unsure of what would be allowed months later in May 2021. They decided they would have the wedding outdoors in a local forest with only the closest family and friends in attendance with social distancing, but to share it via Zoom with their extended community.

That turned out to be a great plan, especially once COVID vaccinations became widely available. A great plan, that is, until two days before the wedding, EVERYONE was predicting a huge storm on the afternoon of the big day. So my friend and her daughter were calling around, trying to find an indoor place to hold the big event with 48 hours notice.

But here’s the thing about homeschoolers; homeschooler are TOUGH. We belonged to a secular homeschooling group, and we had no free space to hold events (whereas some religious homeschool groups are sponsored by a church and have access to the building’s facilities). So of those MANY activities she and I had run, a LOT of them were held at unoccupied shelters in local parks. Unless it was truly dangerous, the classes and events went on, rain or shine. So many times I’ve taught outdoors in the rain, in the light snow, or in 90+ degree heat and 90+ percent humidity. I remember a number of our beginning or end of the year potlucks took place as it was raining. The moms and the food stayed under the shelter; the kids ran and played and slipped and slid and went home drenched and covered in mud.

The day before the wedding, they decided they were just going to go with the planned wedding at the forest and deal with whatever they had to deal with to make it work. I texted my friend a thumbs up and this graphic:

When I woke up that morning, the newspapers were warning about a possible severe weather, and all the weather sites claimed there was a 90% chance of rain at the time the wedding was supposed to begin. But, just like Journey, we didn’t stop believing. Sure enough, predictions for the start of the rain got pushed back later and later with lower and lower probability. The forest wedding went on exactly as planned in a beautiful, natural, and dry setting. It was a lovely occasion, made all the sweeter by the fact they hadn’t wimped out and settled for getting married in a warehouse of something because of a rain that never came (at least not during their major wedding event time).

Meanwhile, we had our own festivities to plan at home. It was an afternoon wedding, and In honor of the graphic above, I decided to make it like a fancy British tea. Except I wanted it to be a Carolina tea, since the bride and groom were Carolina born and bred. Plus, I wanted to get as much as possible from the farmers market.

Of course, the first thing I associate with a formal tea is scones. However, I substituted the Carolina alternative: biscuits. I used my man Kenji’s Cream Biscuits recipe (click here) with heavy cream from Maple View Dairy via Queen B Farms at the CDFM. Then I whipped up some more Maple View cream and served the hot biscuits with that and the SUPER-SWEET, right out of the field strawberries I got at the Market from Meadowhawk Farm. It was delish.

I also tried an experiment that wasn’t 100% successful. Since using Maple View Farm chocolate milk to make my own chocolate yogurt has turned out so well (click here for that post), I got some of their chocolate milk to try to make chocolate ricotta. However, maybe the sugar throws off the chemistry for ricotta because it didn’t make nice curds like it does when I use their regular milk (click here for that post). Instead, it made little grains of curds suspended in the milk. However, I boiled off some of the liquid and ended up with a paste that didn’t have the nice consistency of ricotta, but tasted really good. Since I was sandwiching it in between pastry and strawberries, you couldn’t really experience the consistency. But the sweet chocolatey accent was quite nice.

That sparkle on top was Penzey’s Vanilla Sugar, which isn’t local but is a good company, and added another subtle touch to the ensemble.

However, biscuits and strawberries alone do not a tea make. So I added cucumber sandwiches––Carolina style. I started with a baguette from a bakery right down from the Farmers Market. I put a schmear of goat cheese from another Farmers Market vendor, Paradox Farms. Then I added a slice of cucumber and half of a cherry tomato, both of which I got from Parker Farm. And the little bits of green? Those were snips of a garlic scape like the one shown in the opening photograph. I got those from Meadowhawk Farm (the growers of the strawberries). So that was a totally local dish (the biscuits had non-local flour, alas).

My last dish was completely non-local, I’m afraid. I wanted something a little hardier, and another dish I associate with formal teas is asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. However, to make it more American, I substituted a smoked turkey for the prosciutto. It wasn’t local and mine wasn’t as pretty as the prosciutto-wrapped ones I saw on the Internet, but it tasted great.

The finishing touches were beautiful fresh flowers from Parker Farm:

and a Carolina champagne from Biltmore Wineries, because I don’t even LIKE tea and I think weddings call for champagne:

However, my son did have one of the many varieties of tea he gets from the Raleigh Tea Company, one of the most faithful vendors at our Farmers Market.

So the bride and groom got to have the wedding of their dreams, their families got to see them in get married in person, and the rest of us got to watch via Zoom with the refreshments of our choice. A total WIN-WIN-WIN for us all! My thanks to all the Farmers Market vendors who helped to make it such a delicious event for us.

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