Easy Farmer’s Market Dishes
If you have not explored your local farmer’s market, you have not lived. Ok that might be a little dramatic, but you could probably be eating healthier and supporting your local farmer a little better if you took the time to hit up these magnificent markets.
Fall is approaching and the days are numbered for your chances, so make it a point to go at least once! Farmer’s markets vary from place to place quite a bit- from the gigantor markets in places like San Diego that offer random vegetables in strange colors (example: purple spotted peppers), along with artisanal handicrafts and food trucks, to the tiny markets that include just a few local farmers and their super sweet tomatoes. The thing is, it’s worth the effort regardless of how big your market is and if you want a larger one, you could probably find it within 20 minutes of your abode.
As I have said in previous articles, I was born in the Midwest, lived on the West coast and now reside in the Southeast- but I have been to farmer’s markets in so many more states/regions than I have lived in. I am what you might call a connoisseur if you are being nice and mildly obsessed if you are being honest. It is like a theme park to me. That being said, I will clue you in on a list of super fresh items to gather up this time of year and a couple quick recipes that anyone can throw together, even on football Sunday!
Know before you go:
It is important to dress appropriately for the outdoor supermarket and don’t even think about leaving fashion out on this one. Sundresses, flip-flops and giant hats should really be required as a dress code, but I have not gotten any markets to put up the signage yet. The key here is to dress comfortably and cool- we are still experiencing nice summer temperatures, after all! Long dresses protect you from bug bites on your legs, giant hats protect you from senor sun and a big reusable bag will hold all of your goods eloquently. One last tip- Don’t forget cash! Most of the vendors will require it and you will be thankful to have enough to buy a lovely hand-knit scarf if you happen upon one.
In-season goods to stock up on:
Every market will be different and certain geographical regions will lend themselves to a different growing season, however these are some items you will likely find right now:
Tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and sweetness levels (my favorite are green tomatoes), Apples of several varieties, Squash (butternut, yellow and patti pan, to name a few), onions (leeks are super tasty), Goat cheese, homemade salad dressings, coffee, fruit preserves, jarred salsas and pickles, honey and fresh flowers. Some markets will have additional amazing food-lines like hummus, wine, whipped garlic, BBQ sauces, olive oils and even dog biscuits!
A couple easy dishes from your bounty:
Refrigerated croissant dough (8-10 croissants)
Honey, about 2 tablespoons
Dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1 pear cut into small chunks
Directions: Cook according to directions on croissant package. Pre-heat oven and while it is warming, unroll croissants and brush with honey. Top with pear chunks and chocolate pieces. Roll, securing your mixture inside, tucked in the dough. Place on non-stick cookie sheet and heat according to directions. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Green tomato, peach, and mozzarella salad:
One large green tomato, cut into chunks
¼ cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Fresh mozzarella sliced into pieces or small balls
One large peach, cut into small chunks
Drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette
Salt, pepper and red pepper to taste
Directions: Toss all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste. Add salt, pepper and red pepper to jazz it up a bit.
If reading these recipes does not make your mouth water, we can no longer be friends. Just kidding, of course, but I know you will like it if you try it. I recommend concocting your own recipes from the oh-so-fresh basket you will be bringing home and sending in your favorites! If you want to check out other recipes I have made from farmer’s market finds, check out my recipe blog: http://cooktwice.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard
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