If there is one sure sign that the Issaquah Farmers Market has started in earnest for the season, it’s the silhouette of a familiar food truck when driving past Pickering Farm. Maximus/Minimus has been feeding the faithful for several years running. It draws many customers not only because of the good pulled pork sandwiches but also the whimsically designed truck that looks like an armored pig. I don’t always eat from the truck, but when I do, I enjoy the Maximus pulled pork sandwich, the spicier of the two versions, the other being the Minimus, which is sweeter. One big reason why I like their sandwich is that the sauce is not cloyingly sweet as is often the case with pulled pork. The Maximus (☆☆☆) is essentially a savory sandwich with sweetness derived from fruit juices. The spiciness level is definitely tingly, but if you want to raise the Scoville level, order the Maximus “with some hurt,” basically a sprinkling of ground chile peppers for extra heat.
A sure sign of impending summer is the long-awaited appearance of the peony. It is greatly admired and revered in China and has unofficially been regarded as its national flower. More than ever, peonies have been popping up for sale here in the Seattle area (and I imagine elsewhere). When Costco and Trader Joe’s begin to sell it, you know that it has gone mainstream. We have four plants in our yard that have yet to flower in four seasons, doubtless a problem of not enough sun exposure and improper soil amendment, though the plants have gotten taller and the root balls bigger. So we have to rely on enjoying these beauties at gardens and purchasing them from sellers.
At the many Hmong flower stalls at farmers markets here, peonies are currently the centerpiece of most arrangements. Today at the Issaquah Farmers Market, there were peonies in all the flower stalls and one astonishing variety (pictured above) sold exclusively at a vegetable stand. The pictures below illustrate some of the many arrangements we saw today.