Fresh mozzarella doesn't disappoint.
Steve Hurvitz puts on quite a full-court sales pitch. Regulars to the Minneapolis Farmers Market will recognize both his jaunty 1962 red Corvette, which he parks behind the stand where he works Sundays for his pal Bruce Smith, and his carny-like enthusiasm. After he saw me eyeing tomatoes, and spied the basil in my hand, he offered a tip. "You need mozzarella," he said. "Go next door, you won't be disappointed." He was referring to the neighboring Morning Star Farm stand, where the Lemke family was selling (and offering samples of) a dozen cheeses made with milk from their 20-head herd of pasture-raised Brown Swiss and Holstein cows ("the meadow ladies" is how Rose Lemke describes them), including, sure enough, a rich, whole-milk mozzarella. On their Cokato, Minn., farm, Daniel and Janelle Lemke produce about 500 pounds of cheese a week; he tends the herd, she makes the cheese and their children, Rose and Benjamin, pitch in on the farm and at the market. Havarti is their top seller, followed by Juusto, a baked Finnish cheese, but their mozzarella is tailor-made for the juicy tomatoes -- and basil -- that are currently the toast of market stands. Don't take my word for it. "That cheese, it's unbelievable," said Hurvitz. "Come on, it's a homemade cheese, not something out of a factory. You can just tell that they're putting their heart and soul into it."
Cheese from Morning Star Farm (www.sunnyroadcheese.com) at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, 312 E. Lyndale Av. N., Mpls., www.mplsfarmersmarket.com. Market open daily 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Morning Star Farm at the market Saturdays and Sundays. For a listing of this weekend's farmers market events, go to startribune.com/tabletalk. For a map of Twin Cities metro-area farmers markets, go to www.startribune.com/taste.