A visit to a local farmer's market proved to be a wonderful experience. There was a huge array of tropical fruits, local grown seasonal produce, fresh herbs, sunflowers and more!
What a way to support local growers and revamp the creative juices in my kitchen. I chose mint, opal basil, baby potatoes, a red bell pepper, an extremely ripe mango, corn on the cob, fresh local-grown, ripe tomatoes, an orange, bananas and an avocado. I plan to use them during the week and the only regret is that I did not buy more.
The mango and orange were sliced for a rather delectable breakfast treat. The mango literally tasted like candy, it was so ripe! I plan to try more tropical fruits the next time I go - there were many from the area that I have not heard of before.
The tomatoes were astounding - they were so ripe, juicy and delicious. We ate some of them sliced fresh with just a little oil, vinegar and black pepper. Later on in the day I roasted some of the tomatoes for a simple angel hair pasta dish with roasted marinara, complete with the opal basil that was also at the market.
Why should you attend a farmers' market?
• A cheap family outing and fun event
• Exercise and Vitamin D from walking around outside
• Learn more about produce
• Try new things
• Eat more fruits and vegetables
• Get items that are fresher, better tasting and naturally ripe
• Support local growers
• Great bargains on local seasonal produce
Here is what you should bring:
• Water - if it is hot outside you might get thirsty on your expedition
• Bug spray if there are mosquitoes near you
• A bag or box to carry your items home
• Cooler with ice in case you have other errands to run afterwards - some items like leafy lettuce and fresh herbs are more delicate and may not hold up that well in a hot car.
Here are favorite recipes using Farmer's Market Ingredients:
Open-Faced Fish Sandwich Dinner:
1 fillet of fish, baked
1 slice whole grain toast
2 slices fresh tomatoes
1/2 tsp low-fat mayonnaise
- Assemble sandwich with toast on the bottom then fish and tomatoes on top.
- Serve with these items on the side to make a complete meal:
• 2 cups leafy green salad tossed with fresh lemon juice
• 1 potato made into oven fries with salt-free ketchup (bake sliced potato wedges for 20 minutes at 425 degrees)
• 1 cup fresh mint tea (boil fresh mint for one minute and then chill over ice)
Serves 1: 432 calories, 5.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 384 mg sodium, 10.5 g fiber, 72 g carbohydrate, 27 g protein
Angel Hair Market Pasta
8 ounces angel hair pasta, dry
3 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil dash granulated garlic
dash dried oregano
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions then drain and hold.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven broiler. Place tomatoes and onion side up in a large baking dish.
- Roast the vegetables under the broiler until skins turn very brown and blisters - about 10 minutes. Place herbs and onions into a food processor or blender. Puree briefly until basil is chopped fine then add the tomatoes and puree until almost smooth. Reheat sauce and toss with cooked angel hair pasta. Sprinkle 1 grated parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper over the top of each.
Serves 4. Each 1-1/2 cup serving: 256 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 81 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 10 g protein.
Simple Boiled Corn:
Husk the corn and boil in a large pot of water for 3 minutes. Drain and serve hot. We like to top with fresh lemon and spray margarine. If you prepare a large amount in advance you can use the leftovers in salads and salsas during the week.
Per cob: 156 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cho- lesterol, 399 mg sodium, 36 g carbo- hydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 5 g protein.
Farmer's Market Salad:
1 cucumber, partially peeled and seeds removed
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh sliced basil
black pepper - freshly cracked - to taste
garlic parsley blend
Toss together and serve.
Serves 4. Each 1/2 cup serving: 13 calories, .5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 0 g protein.
Each meal: 424 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 mg cho- lesterol, 481 mg sodium, 86 g carbo- hydrate, 7.5 g fiber, 16 g protein.
Check out our new Farmer's Market Poster:
To find a farmer’s market near you, visit http://www.localharvest.org/