Corsica, Cairo and China: Ashland Farmers Market Features World-Inspired Cuisine

Cynthia Whitty
The popular market opens for the season on June 9, 9 am to 1 pm, at 125 Front St.
Issue Date: 
June, 2018
Article Body: 

Ashland Farmers Market (AFM) will open for the season, each Saturday, starting June 9 and run through October 6. The market features local farmers and vendors who are inspired from other continents and cultures. Meet three AFM vendors: Marie Simeoni, Mohamed Ghobashi and Marie Laskowsky.
Marie Simeoni,
La Maison A Gateaux
Marie Simeoni enjoyed making pastry even when she was a little girl. She grew up in a small village on the French island of Corsica. Her parents grew crops and raised animals in a close-knit rural community. She ate freshly harvested natural food, and later worked for the environmental services of the Corsican government.
So when she moved to Shrewsbury from France with her husband and two children, Marie wanted to share her passion for French desserts and crepes with her new neighbors. To prepare for her business, Marie went back to France to train in the best pastry school in Paris. She also studied in Brittany (the northern region of France where crepes were born) to learn the delicate technique of making crepes.
Simeoni explained, “It took me two years to create my project from scratch. I use only organic and local products. The town of Ashland welcomed me, and I really like to work with all the enthusiastic people, from the Farmers Market to The Corner Spot. I love to interact with people and to learn from others.”
This season, in addition to savory and sweet crepes, Marie will offer her delicate madeleines in orange blossom and rose flavors. She will be at The Corner Spot in early June and at AFM opening on June 9. In July she will return to France to work on new products that she will bring to Ashland in August.
Mohamed Ghobashi of The Kabob House
Mohamed Ghobashi has often been called AFM’s friendliest food vendor. His warmth and outgoing nature earn him a strong market following, as much as his delicious Middle Eastern food does.
After the last market season, Ghobashi returned to Egypt, the country of his origin, where older daughter Sara, was accepted to the American University in Cairo. Sara shared her experience adapting to her new country, “Once you understand the Egyptian ‘way,’ you understand that all Egyptian people want is to help. Their heart is full of love for everyone, including people they met the previous day. In some ways, it reminds me of the Ashland community and the joy people get from helping each other every Saturday.”
About the food, Sara wrote, “Food is the way Egyptians show their love. You enter any home, they MUST feed you. Entering a home you can smell the spices, and the love they put in the food. Some of these foods they make, you can’t copy. Recipes have been handed down generation after generation, modified to perfection, and one added spice can make or break the whole dish.”
Is it any wonder that her father brings joy and cheer to AFM each Saturday? Ghobashi plans to return from Egypt in time for AFM’s Opening Day on June 9.
The Carve’s
Marie Laskowsky
Marie Laskowsky approaches all things with gusto. Fifteen years ago she married, left her corporate job and moved half way around the world with her new husband John to Xi’an in central China for the demands of his job.
“We found a home and dove into the culture full barrel,” Laskowsky said. “I quickly found that the conveniences of my American home were no longer available, and I was in a dilemma. My American pallet was homesick for the tastes I knew so the research began. Never had I cooked from scratch, but through trial and error I found that I loved creating meals, and soon it became second nature.”
Over time some Chinese families befriended them and treated them like kin. Laskowsky learned how to prepare traditional style Xi’an dishes, cooking side by side with her Chinese “grandmother” every week. While incorporating new techniques, she mastered “an arsenal of recipes and new confidence in the kitchen.” Returning to the States, she was proud to cook for friends, and found a passion for creating delicious meals from what the market had to offer that day.
“It’s no wonder that when AFM opened I had to be a part of it. For me, food has always been important for health, comfort and bonding. Today, my husband and I offer breakfast and lunch options made from scratch along with handcrafted drinks to our amazing community,” Laskowsky said.
“Fifteen years ago I would have never dreamed I could learn to make dishes from scratch, let alone own a business that sells them,” Laskowsky recalled. “I always remember as I look at the long line waiting for freshly made breakfast sandwiches how it all began, with a journey to the cultural heart of China.”
This year, on the days they are at AFM, Laskowsky and her husband are expanding The Carve area, and will offer restaurant-style seating complete with real cutlery and plates found in any brick and mortar restaurant. The family-style seating will offer a way for the community to connect, unplug and relax.