I cannot tell you how happy I am to find myself leaving the farmer's market Saturday mornings with a bag full freshly picked deliciousness, just waiting to be gobbled up by my little family. As we move deeper into summer and each week passes, there are more and more options for dinner growing in our own backyard, and coming from the local farms around us.
When foods are picked the moment they are ripe--rather than days or weeks ahead of time like some produce you buy in the store--the difference is HUGE.
The local produce actually TASTES, and it tastes wonderful. Incomparable. Basically, you haven't LIVED until you've eaten a freshly picked peach......really.
With all this perfectly fresh picked taste, you can focus a meal around the vegetables, instead of having them as a small, boring side dish smothered with some kind of sauce.
When eaten in their season--when they are actually supposed to grow (strawberries in the spring/early summer, tomatoes in the summer, broccoli in the cooler months of spring/fall....etc), because they are picked and eaten right at their peak, they actually have more vitamins and nutrients than their phony cousins who are forced to grow year round, picked early, and shipped across the country.
The bottom line is, the closer it grows to home, the better it is for you and the taste doesn't even compare.
My challenge for you this week is
a) you still have time to plant a small garden/a few veggies in pots....
or b) find a farmer's market near you! (check here for an easy search).
It's also a good way to try out new things that you may never grow yourself, or might not even find in the store. My kids love going to the famers market, and it's a good way to teach your kids about where our food comes from and let them talk to the farmers!
I planted arugula this year and it took off like crazy! What does one do with so much arugula? I decided to make a simple pesto with it, and tossed it with pasta and our farmer's market finds.
I feel like every so often I need to make a disclaimer and remind people how I cook.......handfuls of this and pinches of that......no measurements so you can make it up as you go:)
Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Spring Veggies
for the pesto:
two large handfuls of arugula
1 handful of basil
1/2 cup-ish toasted walnuts
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
handful of shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil until you reach the consistency you like
salt and pepper to taste
add ingredients to a food processor or small chopper and let-er-rip.
Continue to slowly add in olive oil until the pesto is at a consistency you like (around a 1/2 a cup or so is what I used)
Cook your pasta according to package directions (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
While pasta is cooking, sauté fresh spring onions (NOTHING like store bought!), and zucchini in a bit of olive oil. When onions and zucchini are tender, mix in shelled peas and cook for a few minutes more. When pasta is done, strain and add to veggies, and then toss with pesto for a few minutes in the pan.
We finished off the rest of the pesto with mozzarella and our farmer's market tomatoes.
I'd love to hear what you are finding at YOUR famers market or in your garden right now??!