Larkins Produce is run by Jesse Larkins and his wife Jera. Jesse, 76, and his wife, Jera, 67, are both retired and run their small farm located between Owensville and Princeton. They have 15 to 20 acres of land in which they grow tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radishes, peppers, green beans, potatoes, melons, okra, strawberries, pumpkins, sweet corn, and MORE!
Jesse and Jera sell their produce to local grocery stores, at a farm stand at their home, and at farmers markets in the area. This is their second year at our market, and we’re so excited to have them!
Fried Green Tomatoes BLT with Bacon Aioli
This is a perfect early summer sandwich when the tomatoes are not quite ready but look great and green! This recipe also includes a bacon aioli (it’s like mayo) made with the rendered bacon fat.
Fried Green Tomatoes
2 lbs Fresh Green Tomatoes (sliced thick about ¼ inch)
1 cup Flour (all purpose)
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Granulated Garlic
1 TBSP Paprika
2 each Eggs
¼ cup Water
1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
As needed Canola Oil
Method of Preparation
- Set up the breading – in bowl one, combine the flour, salt, garlic and paprika, in bowl two, whip the eggs with the water and in the third bowl, mix the Italian and panko bread crumbs.
- Place one slice of tomato at a time into the flour (shake off excess flour) then into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs. Do this until they are all breaded and set aside for cooking.
- In a sauté pan, heat up enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan (about medium high heat). Place the breaded tomato into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side (be sure not to over crowd the pan) or until they begin to brown. Remove from the pan and drain excess oil on a paper towel. Set aside for later assembly.
2 each Egg yolks
1 cup Bacon Grease (warm but not hot)
3 each Fresh Garlic Cloves
1 TBSP Salt
1 TSP Cayenne Pepper
Method of Preparation:
- In a blender (or in a food processor or in a cup with an emersion blender), mix the egg yolks until they begin to turn light yellow.
- While the blender is still on, slowly add the bacon grease. This process needs to be carefully done to achieve the intended results. The oil should combine with the yolks and begin to resemble a yellowish mayonnaise.
- Once all the grease is incorporated, add in the garlic salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
- ** If too thick, just add a tablespoon or two or water while mixing. If too thin, you have possibly added the grease too quickly and it is “broken”. To correct, remove the mixture into a bowl and add two more yolks to the blender and begin mixing again and repeat the process with the thin egg/grease mixture. This should correct the problem.
- Place into the refrigerator until needed.
2 slices Bread (toast if desired)
3 strips Cooked Bacon
2 leaves Lettuce
2 slices Fried Green Tomatoes
2 TBSP Bacon Aioli
Method of assembly:
- On one slice of bread, spread some of the bacon aioli on then top with the bacon, lettuce and fried green tomatoes. Then spread some more bacon aioli on the top slice of bread and cap the sandwich.
- Slice and serve.
Bruce Blunk grew up in Northern Perry County. His family settled there in the early 1800s in what is now known as the Rickenbaugh House, a museum nestled in the middle of Hoosier National Forest. Many of his family heirlooms are on display there, including looms once used by his father, grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on, but he never had the desire to do so himself, at least not until he was in his mid-20s.
By that time, his grandmother had died, but his father looked in on him from time to time as he worked to teach himself to use a loom. Just a few years later, his father died in a construction accident, an event that instilled in him a greater desire to master his family’s art.
He uses a 115-year-old loom to weave his thick, colorful rugs. The “shaggy looking rugs” are made from waste products from blanket companies, while the “real colorful ones” are made from Solmate Socks, a popular mis-matched sock company in Vermont. The owners send him “seconds” or defective products.
He sells them at Head to Toe Day Spa, 300 W. Jennings St. Ste. 103 in Newburgh, a business he and his wife own together, the Bitterman Mini Shoppes & Farmer’s Market, 204 Main St., and he attends the weekend farmer’s markets in Evansville and Newburgh during the spring and summer months.
He also ships them to interior decorators all over the nation who admire and respect his work.
You can read the rest of Bruce’s bio in the Evansville Living article about him.
Each week at the market you can always expect to see the smiling faces of Karen (the farmer’s daughter) and her family from their Darmstadt farm set up with lots of beautiful produce. They grow a variety of tomatoes, grape tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, okra, onions, green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, and more!
Karen’s father, Jim, started raising strawberries and had several “U-PICK” strawberry patches when she was young. She and her two sisters worked in the fields and helped sell while growing up.
Once they were all grown up and had families of their own, their dad decided to expand his strawberry business to include fresh vegetables. He also added a farm stand at their home. While they no longer have the strawberry fields around town, some of you may remember the farm stand they had across the road from the Homestead Restaurant in Newburgh.
Karen’s sisters moved away, but she stayed close. Her kids started helping at the farm just like she and her sister’s did from a very young age. They helped Papa (Jim) with planting, pulling weeds, picking vegetables, and even driving the tractors!
In 2007 they started taking extra produce to the markets as a family. Now they’re a standard at all the markets in our area. They love meeting new customers and seeing old friends at the market each week.
This week’s vendor of the week is Todd Lawler of Lawler Farms. As a 4th generation Illinois family farm, The Lawler Family has operated in Ridgeway, Illinois since 1860. The current operations were re-established by Todd Lawler who’s mission is to provide teaching a new way of life through community Supported Agriculture.
This week at the market, Chef Adam made a delicious banh mi sandwich using fresh, local ingredients he got from market vendors.
Vietnamese Banh Mi
This Vietnamese sandwich is a delicious way to utilize seasonal vegetables, blending Asian flavors with French bread!
This recipe is enough to make one sandwich with a large French bread baguette (which I got from Edgewater Grill)
1 lb Stonewall Farms Chopped Steak
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 TBSP Fish Sauce
1 TBSP Granulated Sugar
1 each Garlic Clove (minced)
Method of preparation
- In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and garlic. Set aside for later use.
- Slice the chopped steaks thinly and toss with the soy marinade.
- Allow the mixture at least 30 minutes to marinate before using.
2 each Turnips (medium sized from Reimann’s)
2 each Cucumbers (small sized from Lawler Farms)
1/2 each Red onion
1 ounce Radish Sprouts (from Sprout Farms)
To taste Basil leaves (from Lawler Farms)
To taste Cilantro
To taste Fresh Jalapeño
2 TBSP Lemon Balsamic Vinegar (from Drizzle)
Method of preparation
- Thinly slice the turnips, cucumbers, onion, basil, cilantro and jalapeño and place in a bowl with the radish sprouts.
- Toss the vegetables with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
- Set aside for later use.
- In a large sauté pan heated on high, add a small amount of oil and the marinated beef and toss until the beef is fully cooked.
- With a knife, split the baguette open and fill with the cooked beef and top with the marinated vegetables.
- Slice into portions and enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the recipe.
Chef Adam Edwards