Earlier this year, we started to introduce you to the farmers’ market with some suggestions for what to ask, what to look for, and whom to introduce yourself to in order to get the freshest, tastiest local goodies. Hopefully by now you’ve explored and been amazed by what your local market has to offer. This time of year, the markets should really be coming into their own with fresh greens, berries, and baby vegetables.
So, now, what are some things to look for at the farmers’ market this time of year? How do you plan your recipes for the week without knowing exactly what will be on display for your enjoyment?
Breathe deep, produce lover, I’ve got you covered.
Eating seasonally is going to vary by geographic location, but here in Virginia, fruits and veggies are BOOMING! It is the perfect season to really dive headfirst into your local farmer’s market, get to know your farmer, and try something new.
Vegetables: Asparagus, Green/Snap Beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Greens (Chard, Collards, etc.), Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Onions, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Summer squash, and Zucchini
Fruit: Melons, Cherries, All types of Berries, Nectarines, Watermelon
Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Oregano, Sage, Mint
Now that you are salivating at the concept of fresh pesto, roasted vegetables, and berries with coconut cream, you’ll need to plan. It can be tough to meal plan until you get to the farmer’s market, but a simple notepad and calendar can make magic.
- When you arrive at the market, be sure to ALREADY have a concept of you and/or your family’s week – does your son have a baseball banquet and not need dinner on Thursday? Will you have leftovers from the end-of- the-year picnic? Know when you will need meals, as well as potential time constraints (i.e. do you get home really late on Thursdays and need a fast meal?).
- Take a lap so you know what the market has to offer
- Pull out the notebook and calendar, pop a squat away from the hubbub and start planning. Need a quick meal for that tight Thursday night? Grab some veggies to throw on the grill. Need quick recipe inspiration? Sites like Pinterest and MyRecipes are a great place to start. Simply type in the ingredient you would like to use, and get ready to be inspired! Many farmers have tons of recipe ideas as well, so don’t be afraid to ask!
- Write the meals directly into your calendar, jot down your ingredient list, and get shopping!