Tag Archives: Farmers’ market

Farmers’ Bounty

 

Farmers' market bounty

Farmers’ market bounty

I love the farmers market this time of year. It abounds with color and beauty and goodness. It just makes me happy walking around, my arms full of beautiful produce and glorious flowers. These days it’s peak season for so many summer fruits and vegetables it’s hard not to buy everything I see. I usually buy more than I intended to, but I can’t help it. I somehow justify the market gluttony by reminding myself (several times) that I am buying vegetables not cupcakes and supporting our local farmers. Both of which are good things.

We are lucky to have the North Carolina State Farmers Market so close by. But there are lots of other smaller farmers markets around too. They are cute, quaint, charming, and equally full of beautiful produce. I am just partial to the “big one.” I like that the farmers literally back their large F-150 pick up trucks right up to the stands and unload their overflowing flat beds. And usually the goods were picked that very morning.  Pre-sunrise, no less.  Got to love those early birds!

This week I came home with delicious tomatoes, perfectly ripe peaches, incredible corn, sweet summer squash and zucchini. While at the peak of perfection, they are nearing the end of their season, so we are enjoying them all while we can.

Here are a few things I made with the goods I brought home:

Peach crisp.  Seasonal perfection and that’s all there is to say about that.

The southern delicacy: a perfect and simple tomato sandwich. Ridiculously good and so easy a 7-year-old could do it.

Farmer’s Market Pasta, which is a very close cousin of kitchen sink pasta.  Which is a second cousin once removed from my grandmother’s vegetable soup.  Family food trees can be so complicated.

But I digress … Find a farmer’s market near you and enjoy the rest of summer’s produce.  Or at least have a conversation with a local farmer. They are full of personality and character and they are more than happy to brag about their bounty, or the weather predictions for the upcoming season, or the mischief their hound dog got into the day before.  I promise you will leave with a smile on your face and in a good mood.  And that alone is worth the trip.

Heavenly Tomato Sandwiches

Tomato Sandwich

I am not sure there is anything more perfect than a tomato sandwich in the middle of summer. Unless, of course, you don’t like tomatoes. And that would just be wrong (ahem…and I am not singling out any certain husbands). Tomatoes are the jewels of the gardens in so many backyards this time of year.  And this sandwich is the beloved delicacy we wait for all year long…most likely because it is so incredibly hot that any meal that can be prepared without the added heat of an oven is cause for celebration.  If you haven’t had one of these babies, then you’d best get on it.  Because, bless your heart, you are missing out.

Here’s what you need.

Old fashioned white bread.  The very kind that makes you feel like you are doing something wrong when buying it.  Wonder, Merita, Texas toast –  it does not matter. The squishier and softer, the better. Do not waste your time (or your tomatoes for Heaven’s sake) on low-calorie or wheat bread.  It will not be the same.

Mayo.  And a big ‘ol slather of it.  Pick your favorite one and go to town.  Spread it all over your illegal white bread. Do not feel guilty.

Tomatoes.  Here’s the important part.  These need to be picked straight from your garden or grabbed at the farmers’ market.  Period.  There is no substitute for a garden-fresh, homegrown tomato. They often don’t look perfect.  But perfect appearances are overrated, don’t you think?  They may be misshapen or the coloring may be varied.  But that is what makes them so good! These jewels of summer are hard to beat.  Your grocery store ones may be pretty, but they won’t taste as good.

Finish with fresh ground pepper and a little bit of salt.  Let your masterpiece sit a few minutes until some of the juice from the tomatoes meets up with the mayo and the bread.  They will get married and live happily ever after.  Simple. Delicious. Perfection.

The End.

Perfect Peach Crisp

Perfect Peach Crisp

Last week’s trip to the farmers’ market proved it to be peak season for peaches.  As usual I came home with more then we needed.  So we ate them until we had stomach aches, (but seriously, who can resist?), shared some with the neighbors, and made a beautiful and yummy peach crisp.  Pay a visit to your farmers’ market and pick some up.  Just don’t make yourself sick eating them.  They really are that good.  Who does that?  And bake what you don’t devour or share into a lovely dessert so good it will make you want to cry.  Or go back to buy more peaches.  Enjoy.

Perfect Peach Crisp

6-8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Tbs. sugar

2 generous Tbs. flour

Crumb topping:

1 1/2 c. flour

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. old fashioned oats

2 sticks cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine peaches, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and flour in a large bowl.  Mix gently and let sit a few minutes until sugar dissolves.  Meanwhile mix flour, sugars, salt and oats together in a medium bowl.  Cut in diced butter and set aside.  Pour peach mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Add crumb topping generously to top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.