FOOD: An Eventful Day and a National Night Out

I rode around on my bike for a while yesterday, visited our local farmer’s market, and took a few food-related pictures. What could provide a better day than that? I’ll tell you what: Finishing off the day with a neighborhood block party/potluck food fest.

Before I get to the pictures however, I have to come clean about the Featured Photo. That one was taken a couple weeks ago when I was visiting my dad in Iowa. That big thing behind me is touted as “The World’s Largest Strawberry” by the Strawberry Point, Iowa Chamber of Commerce. I’m a big fan of the world’s largest ANYTHING, but it just so happens that strawberries are food and this is Cycle365 Food Month.

Let’s get back to yesterday’s ride. In this picture you’ll see a very large flour milling plant in MY Town. Flour can be used to make some pretty good food — like pasties. The face that rises up above the massive warehouse might look familiar. I posted it last month for the Face Challenge. Maybe I’ll post it a couple more times in the future when the monthly challenges are titled “Tons and Tons of Concrete” or “Huge Towers Under a Blue Sky.”

Here is our local dairy. It’s a bigger operation than this photo suggests. It ships out a heck of a lot of milk. I wanted to make sure to include the “Hastings Dairy Store” sign because you can go in there any day of the week and get a free glass of cold milk. Like beer, I consider milk to be one of the few liquids that can also be included in the food category.

The most important part of my ride was a visit to the Hastings Farmer’s Market. The farmers set up their tents here every Tuesday and Saturday from late June to early October. That worked out well for me because I needed the freshest onions possible for the potluck dish I was planning for the National Night Out. Better yet, I was assured by the vendor that right NOW is when the onions will be at their tastiest.

My bounty. I couldn’t just leave with a basket of onions. I also bought some cherry tomatoes and green bell peppers. Don’t worry, they won’t go to waste.

Here’s a renegade farmer who would rather sell his products from truck than at the Farmer’s Market. He’s got some great sweet corn-on-the-cob. He’s also got a great location at a busy intersection.

But it was time for me to start cooking my incredibly tasty meatballs for the block party. The Feeshko had finished up her incredibly delicious potato salad, so the kitchen was all mine. I carefully minced up the onions and garlic, prepared the other ingredients, and smooshed them all together with a big mound of ground meat.

I’m not a huge self-promoter [a lie] but every once in a while I might provide a link to my internationally-famous cooking blog. (When I say “internationally famous,” my Blogspot Analytics tell me I have three readers in Europe and one in Australia. I think I know who the Australian is.) This will be one of those times when I provide a link because it involves my meatball recipe. The only difference this evening is that instead of making the Swedish Meatball sauce, I served them in a home-made teriyaki sauce. Also, I made a double batch so nobody would go home wishing they could have eaten more of them.


The National Night Out is a national thing — as the name suggests. It’s a community-police love fest held every year on the first Tuesday of August. MY Town had several neighborhood gatherings, but MY neighborhood was the first one visited by a big fire truck and a couple of cop cars. The kids loved it. I kind of enjoyed interacting with a bunch of cops too since I had nothing to hide and I haven’t done anything illegal in decades. They sat down and ate with our group and at least one of them complimented my meatballs.

Just one of the two tables of food at our National Night Out Gathering.

It was a fun evening. The Feeshko and I met some new neighbors and some long-time neighbors who had no idea who we were. That’s kind of funny, because we’ve been living here for 28 years. Even funnier is that when we mention walking our little black dog in front of their houses . . . THEN they remember us.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

6 response to "FOOD: An Eventful Day and a National Night Out"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 4, 2021

    Nice farmer market finds, and the rogue guy’s stuff too.
    Block party was a great idea, and the police and fire presence was a real plus.

    Read thru your recipe (and I am not a recipe reader) but found it easy to follow:
    “Stir together before adding the other stuff” THOSE kind of directions I can understand!
    The meat balls look delisquish btw.

    I could, but probably wont, include my Chef R recipe for opening a can of Beefaroni and heating on a stove. 😉

    • By: gregblood Posted: August 5, 2021

      Of all those canned tomato & noodle products out there, I’d have to say the best is Beef-a-Roni. Congratulations on your, um, “good taste.” Perhaps you could settle one of the differences The Feeshko and I have regarding the preparation of canned foods. I set the burner to low and wait for the food to slowly heat up. The Feeshko turns the burner up to high so it can be eaten quicker. Which do you prefer? Or do you set it on medium for a little bit of the best of both worlds?

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: August 5, 2021

    Thanks for the link to your cooking site – I must have missed it before. Sounds like a very tasty dish. I can’t remember if I’ve had meatballs since leaving Indiana at age 18. They were common there, but not anywhere else I’ve lived. My dad loved that Meatballs movie when I was a kid. I loved the table of food and was impressed that someone went to the effort to bring a bag of pretzels, lol. I do remember some neighborhood parties in college where the fire truck and police came… but they certainly didn’t sit down to have a bite to eat and a chat. But it’s a real coup when you can get a cop to give you a good comment about your balls. Oh, and Australia has a lot of ‘big’ things: the big banana; the big mango; the big sheep; the big lobster; the big pineapple; the big koala (i’ve seen all those). If you like big things, you might have to come tour in Oz:

    • By: gregblood Posted: August 5, 2021

      Yes that bag of pretzels was pretty generous . . . talk about a labor of love. I laughed that you noticed that. I also laughed at your joke about being complimented on my balls by a macho policeman. Good one.

      I can see that your little island/country/continent is well-endowed with big stuff. I think the giant mango is the best. Some of the others are good too, but they aren’t like WORLD CLASS big.

  3. By: NancyG Posted: August 5, 2021

    Love that strawberry. You many know about Winlock WA (south of Seattle) having the world’s largest egg. We stayed in that town when I did the STP years and years ago. I took a photo then, but don’t have it now to show you.

    Your Farmer’s Market looks like it has great produce if you bags of goods are any indication. Nice spread, pretzels and all, for your Night Out too.

  4. By: Suzanne Posted: August 6, 2021

    The block party sounded fun. Not much of that here in Germany, well maybe in places further out in the country. The volunteer firemen might sponsor something like that, or other local organizations, or churches. But it isn’t quite the same as a block party. We’ve lived here two years and I only know the neighbors in our six-family apartment building. And we have yet to have a garden party, although there is talk of having one.
    Now that I have my bike again, I shall go out and round up some food and pictures thereof.

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