Farmers' Markets...open, open, open

Yahoooo! Only a short week before most of the local farms and farmers' markets open. There has already been a myriad of flower farms and nurseries that have had shows, tours, and beginning-of-the-garden-season sales.
In a matter of days it will be time to stroll aisles loaded with colorful vegetables, flowers, local seafood and meats, honeys and jams. I envy the countries that take for granted their open markets for everyday shopping. Instead, we live out of superstores with processed food and under-ripe, over-geneticized produce. Ah; to grab a loaf of fresh bread, some specialty farm cheese and fresh fruit on the way home from work for whatever my taste has a whimsy for!
Well, we may not be able to do it daily, but most areas of our country have nearby farms that have opened their doors to the public so that we can enjoy their fresh, unique bounty any day of the season. localharvest.org is one of the best websites I have visitied in a while. Just plug in your zip code and what you are looking for (I entered "produce") and farms, farmers' markets and family-owned produce stands near your area will be listed, mapped out and described. Don't miss the photo section if you have time; it has great pictures of our farmers throughout the land. There is so much information on produce on the website that I'll be visiting it many times.
Our local "Beaverton Farmer's Market"
Cheese from a local dairy at the Beaverton Farmers Market
Asparagus is bountiful in the garden, so here is a delicious, simple recipe for a brunch or light dinner using some farmer's cheese and vegetables you can get at the local stand or from your own garden.
Asparugus Salad
Fresh asparugus (about 1 pound of spears)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or other specialty cheese that you enjoy
1/4 cup basil
pine nuts
Italian dressing (I just use olive oil, wine vinegar, salt & pepper)

Blanch the asparagus (see below.) Toss with the onions and dressing, then place on plates. Sprinkle basil, pine nuts and cheese over the top. For variety, add a few slices of sweet citrus, such as mandarins or blood oranges.
(To blanch the asparagus, add the spears to a large pot of boiling water. Cook about 3 minutes; just until asparagus is crisp-tender and bright green in color. Drain, then immediately add asparagus to bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When completely cooled, drain the asparagus and pat dry.)

Hope you get to enjoy a trip to a local farm soon!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nancy, I really enjoy going to the farmers market. I especially enjoy picking up some home made bread and specialty cheese and sitting at a bench for lunch and people watching. Thanks for the web site tip too!

therealestatecowgirl said...

LOVE going to any farmers' market! We have a new one that just opened here in Gallatin, TN! So excited about that. By the way, we watched a PBS Special called "Food INC." last night that I would recommend to everyone. (I'm sure they will air it again.) Very scary stuff about what we are eating and how the animals are treated! Was a great wake up call for me to take more responsibility for what I am eating. Local is the way to go!!!

Teri said...

I onloy had a little asparugus in my garden this year, so I made your salad recipe. YUM!!! thank you.