The pool is open, the sun is shining, and you can finally break out your favorite pair of flip flops. But the really awesome thing about summer? That would be your local farmer’s market. Summer is, hands down, the best time of year to buy produce grown in your area. With everything from corn and tomatoes to peaches and blueberries gracing the stands down the street, you’ve no excuse not to get up early on a Saturday morning and see what your area has to offer. Not only is it a great way to support your local community, but filling your basket with real, fresh, food is healthy for your body and might just spark a little bit of kitchen creativity, too!
- Ask your local farmer or food seller for recipes or cooking suggestions.They’ve spent more time with their product or produce than anyone else and probably have some great suggestions for how you can use it at home.
- The early bird gets the worm! Go early to get the juiciest tomatoes, unbruised peaches, and those heavenly scones from the bakery cart. Keep an eye out for chefs from local restaurants buying up their favorites, too!
- Things that grow together, go together. If you have a favorite basic summer salad recipe, choose two or more things that grow near each other or in close proximity and try combining them as accents. Tomatoes + cucumbers + peppers = hello yum!
- Try something new! Pick up a fruit or vegetable you've never tried and let a Google search (or the farmer) convince you of the possibilities. Garlic scapes make great pesto and marinades for summer steak or chicken grilling. Never used pattypan squash? There is almost definitely an easy recipe somewhere online about how to incorporate it into your meal.
- Loyalty pays. Part of what’s great about farmer’s markets is developing real relationships with the people you buy your food from. Ask about their crops, their kids, and where they got their cute hanging baskets. A little conversation can go a long way...and you might just get a discount because of it! Ask your favorite farmer or food seller to set aside a stash of whatever they are most proud of or excited about each week--and if you turn their product into something delicious, bring them a taste! They'll really appreciate it.
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