It’s (almost) summertime and the weather is (sort of) fine. That means your local farmers are starting to churn out tasty produce. We, here at Evergreen Girls, are all about shopping local – and that means eating local, too.
So, here are 5 fresh finds to grab at your farmers market as the summer heats up.
If tomatoes are a standard in your diet, you know that grocery store varieties pale in comparison to the heirloom ones found at the farmers market. The flavors of fresh-from-the-farm tomatoes are more delicious than the colors they come in.
Look for Cherokee purple, Early Girl and Brandywine.
Cut one into thick slices for a mean tomato sandwich (we recommend Ezekial bread, vegan mayo, salt and pepper and thyme). Pair thinner slices with fresh mozzarella and basil (grab this from a friendly farmer, too!) and serve up a delicious caprese salad.
As with tomatoes, store bought mushrooms are usually pretty bland. Farmers markets typically offer up more flavorful options. Plus, you can ask the growers and foragers storing and cooking tips!
Bag up a handful of yellow oysters, shiitakes or chantarelles.
Saute a few varieties together with butter for a topping bursting in umami on steak or chicken breast. Lightly roast them to accompany a delicious risotto-style farro for a savory vegetarian dish.
So what’s the byproduct of all that fruit and vegetable goodness? Honey that’s bursting with complex flavor, of course! Stick with a standard “honey” choice, or, if a seller has bees that pollinate from a variety of sources, try and taste out the differences. Honey vendors often have samples on hand.
Make sure the honey is local – you don’t want to be fooled by a third party sellers.
A regular spoonful of honey is beneficial for keeping your immunity up and the sicknesses away. Stir it into herbal tea (or your morning coffee!) for a yummy sipper. Grab a loaf of crusty bread and drizzle some honey on a slice for a sweet breakfast.
There’s something that just feels wrong about pulling a papery, gnarl of ginger from a basket in a grocery store. The cooking essential just screams for a deeper connection.
At the farmers market, look for firm, moist roots that feel dense in your hand.
It’s not going to look like what you’re used to seeing at the store – more than likely, the ginger will be yellowy-pink in hue (the papery skin develops as it ages).
You know you want to kick that honey-laced tea up a notch – add fresh ginger and a squeeze of lemon! Fresh ginger is also excellent stir fried in Asian dishes or mixed into sauces. Add it to your favorite baked goods recipes for an extra zing.
Flowers from the supermarket are shipped in from South America. Flowers at the farmers market were cut from a field that morning. Farm fresh flowers offer more vibrant colors, a longer lifespan and a more unusual selection of textures and shapes.
Look for Sweet William, Dahlias (in late summer/fall) and Snapdragons.
Bring home a hand-tied bouquet for an instant ambiance boost. Snip the stalks at an angle to refresh the blooms before putting them in water. Make sure all leaves and greenery below the water level is removed to prevent rot. PRO TIP: Change the water daily to extend the life of the flowers!