Seasonal Summer Recipes
Like the first crocus that bursts through the almost-green grass, farmers’ markets mark the start of produce season with that first bunch of asparagus or bundle of spinach. Shop your local farmers’ market, and you’ve capitalized on a way to savor produce at the peak of freshness. The best part? You get to meet and support the people who grow your food.
No doubt, the fruits and vegetables at most farmers’ markets taste fresher than anything else available. Local farmers allow their produce to ripen fully in the field or orchard, which means no long-distance shipping and no long storage. The food, as real as it gets, arrives fresh from the farm.
Want to save money? Shop the market where all of the food available arrives seasonally. Not only does it come fresh and delicious, but by buying in season, you typically get the best prices. Shopping and cooking from the farmers’ market also helps you reconnect with the cycles of nature. You can look forward to radishes in spring, savor sweet corn in summer or bake with real pumpkins in autumn. It allows us to reconnect with the earth, the weather and the turning of the year.
Knowing how to use that fresh produce can seem challenging. Luckily, some tools of the trade, both old standbys and new devices, come in handy.
When my daughter got married, she insisted the guests drink their sweet tea, lemonade and wine out of mason jars. After all, her groom hailed from Georgia, and she needed that Southern touch. I now have an abundance of mason jars and am always looking for new ways to use them. Mason jar salads have become one of my favorites. Farmers’ markets offer a variety of veggies to combine in that salad, and layering them in just the right order – dressing and protein on the bottom, greens at the top – keeps the salad from getting soggy. I can’t think of a better, healthier weekday lunch.