One of the things I love best about summer are all of the farm stands and markets that abound. As people say, ‘farmers markets are a bunch of healthy people buying healthy food from happy farmers who care for the earth.’
It’s just a big farm-love-fest, right?
Even though most every veggie or fruit is available year-round, there is nothing quite like eating locally grown produce that’s in-season, and supporting the local farms that make this possible. That tomato that is imported from Chile in the winter? It might work in a recipe, but it truly pales in comparison to a locally vine-ripened, deep red piece of fruit.
And yeah, I said fruit.
There are several ways to distinguish fruits from veggies, but my favorite is that veggies can be eaten no matter how small they are, and fruits need to ripen. But getting back to the produce… a fruit that has to be transported across the country (or even the world!) often has to be picked while still unripe. The produce doesn’t get to benefit from those last few days or weeks of nutrients that are delivered when it gets to ripen on the vine.
That’s where Ol’ Mr. MacDonald (the farm owner) comes in.
A surefire way to get your kids (or husband!) excited about vegetables is to bring them to the Farmer’s market. Somehow meeting the farmer, getting to know him/her, and seeing the piles of veggies in all their colorful glory makes them much more appetizing than if they just show up on their dinner plates. If you’re not sure where your closest farmer’s market is, or what hours it’s open, check out localharvest.org. I’ll typically ask the farmer how to prepare what they are selling. Their recommendations are often simple, yet the most delicious – no recipe required! But if you are interested in some great market fresh recipes – see this list on eatingwell.com where everything looks divine.
Happy summer cooking and eating, my friends.