Local Farmers Are Back

Spring is rolling in and local farmers have been cultivating since January to bring us fresh veggies at area farmers markets.

Eating seasonally is a joy if you are a true foodie. Fruits and vegetables are a real pleasure at their optimum flavor and texture.

Sure, we can get everything, all the time, at our grocery stores, but a just-picked, barely-traveled fresh tomato is very different from the tomatoes sitting at the grocery store year-round. Everything from the color to the thickness of skin, interior texture, juiciness and, of course, the flavor is a different experience.

Personally, I don’t even bother with things like fresh tomatoes, figs or peaches until they are in season, locally. Then, I gorge on them as they come through, putting peaches in everything, for example – salads, sandwiches, atop desserts, in stir fry, dressings or sauces, on the grill…you get the idea.

And that is the ticket for using seasonal, local product, in general. Buy it up and then figure out ways to use it. Get inventive. Google recipes.

Fresh produce is generally more tender than mass-produced, highly-transported produce so you can use it in different ways.

Almost anything may be eaten raw. You can pop a complete piece of okra, for example. The head would not have gotten tough, yet, if it wasn’t overgrown or picked too long ago. The greens of beets, radish and turnips are edible. Grab the plants with the greens on then massage the greens with a little oil to serve as a side or salad. Stems will also be less tough and are completely edible – cilantro, mint, parsley, chard, spinach…just chop up the stems to use with the leaves. Flavor is nice and full in the stems and using both leaf and stem allows for two mingling textures. How nice!

There are many farmers’ markets around town. Be sure to double check that the one(s) you go to are actually local farmers. Any “real” farmer will gladly talk to you about their production, location, and operation.

Also note that it is a lot of work to be certified organic and while that is ideal and preferred, most smaller, local farms are mainly organic without being certified. Again, just ask the vendor how they grow their product so you may make an informed, delicious decision. Happy spring!

Visit the blog at lovageinc.com for more Living Well ideas.