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FRESH and Festive: St Patrick’s Day Specials!

They say that everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. So if you’re planning to party like an Irish rock star for tomorrow’s holiday, let us help with a little background on some famous culinary symbols of Ireland. (And, of course, you can get almost all of this at FRESH, at special St. Paddy’s Day prices!)

Irish soda bread: Traditionally, most Irish breads were made with baking soda instead of yeast, because of the type of wheat flour available in Ireland as well as the fact that Irish villagers tended to bake at home, rather than use a village bakery. In Ireland, soda bread is often plain and eaten with savory meals. In America, however, Irish soda bread is usually sweet and studded with fruit – like our house-made version, with plump raisins and caraway seeds. Try some at our bakery this weekend!

Corned beef: The Irish developed the technique of curing beef with salt centuries ago – the term “corned beef” refers not to corn as a vegetable, but the “corns” of salt used to treat and preserve the meat. Traditionally, corned beef is served with cabbage and/or a potato hash. In Ireland, it’s more popular at Easter, but here in the U.S., it’s often a St. Patrick’s Day specialty. At our market this week, try our Buckley Farms Corned Beef – cured with natural spices and ready for you to cook.

Green beer: Beer is reliably Irish – but green beer? That appears to be an American invention, possibly invented in New York City or Boston, where waves of immigrants settled beginning in the 1800s, and where large Irish-American populations pull out all the stops for St. Paddy’s Day. A clue: Most Irish beers, like Guiness stout, are so dark that you can’t really turn them green; lighter American-style brews take the food coloring much better.

Irish oatmeal: Almost as big a staple in traditional Irish cuisine as potatoes, Irish oats are quite different from the rolled oats most Americans grew up on. In Ireland, they eat steel-cut oats, which are the whole-grain, inner portion of the oat kernel, chopped into pieces. Nuttier  and chewier than American-style oats, steel-cut oats make a delicious hearty breakfast or even a whole-grain side dish. Try the real thing – McCann’s  Irish Oatmeal, imported from Ireland, and on special this week at FRESH!

Celebrate with  us: Still curious about Irish food? A few seats are still available at tonight’s Front Row Eats, where our chefs will teach you a FRESH spin on St. Patrick’s Day favorites. It’s from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in the Taste Kitchen; call 903-747-3512 to reserve your spot. Or just come by and enjoy a cold beverage while listening to our Live and Local music series. Tonight, from 6-9 pm , we welcome back Lauren Alexander. And on St. Patrick’s Day, Jazz Connections will play from 6-9 pm.  As always – these in-store events are all free for our guests.