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By: Rosemary Collins, RDN

farmersmarket2farmIf you are looking for healthy, fresh food grown locally there are now more options than ever before. You can find many types of farm markets, a simple farm stand, a weekly town farmers market, fresh produce sold direct at the farm or weekly delivered vegetables from a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm.

You can find farm markets that grow local, grow organically, offer sustainable agriculture or the type of fruit, vegetables or produce that you might want to pick yourself. Nothing is nicer in June than to go and pick some summer strawberries for a delicious dessert!

Shopping at a genuine farmer’s market means you will be closer to the source of your food, get to know the farms and the farmers who produce the food that you eat.

What are the advantages of shopping at a local farmer’s market?

Fruits and veggies are “unbeetably” fresh (excuse the pun!) and healthy, often grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. Some farms support their local community and donate to local food banks. Others grow veggies and fruits to supply local schools.

The food travels direct from the farm to you and helps reduce the “environmental footprint” with reduced traffic pollution.

What kind of produce can I buy?

The simple answer is everything “in season” and that is what you will receive if you order a “veggie” box direct from the farm.

farmersmarket4From the fields or greenhouse in spring if the farm grows year round, produce might include:
• Kale, turnip greens
• Spring salad mix
• Carrots
• Beets
• Butternut Squash
• Acorn squash
• Kaboucha Squash
• Potatoes
• Sweet Potato
• Shallots

farmersmarket3From the Farm Kitchen:
• Pasture raised free-range chicken and eggs
• Grass fed beef, raised on pasture and fed non-GMO feed.
• Specialty cheeses including goat’s cheese
• Soups and baked goods
• Jams and Preserves

To help the farms “environmental footprint” food containers such as egg boxes can be returned, recycled or reused.

What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Here you buy local seasonal food directly from the farm, by buying a “share” for the season. In return you get a box, bag or basket of seasonal produce weekly and visit the farm to collect.

Family fun here too, as kids get to know favorite foods from their farm and try new veggies they would never usually eat!

You can find out more about CSA’S and look for a farm in your location at www.localharvest.org/csa/.

How to find a good, real local farmer’s market
Check in your local town listings to see what markets might be coming up in the spring usually after the Memorial Day Holiday.

Alternatively check out www.localfarmmarkets.org, or the USDA Farmers Markets Directory – search .ams.usda.gov/farmers market.

beets saladRoasted Beet Salad
(adapted from www.thebarefootcontessa.com)
INGREDIENTS
8 medium size beets, tops removed and scrubbed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, sea salt.
4 ounces salad greens (arugula, mustard, lettuce, baby spinach or whatever is in your veggie box)
1/3 cup almonds or walnuts
4 ounces soft goat cheese crumbled

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates they are tender. Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets, with a small, sharp knife over a piece of parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board.
3. Meanwhile whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and set aside. While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you cut the beets toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette). Taste for seasonings.
4. Place the greens in a separate bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Put the greens on a serving platter and then arrange the beets, almonds and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.

tomato bruschettaFresh Bruschetta
INGREDIENTS
2-4 sliced large tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes diced
1/2 diced purple onion
2-diced cucumbers
1 avocado diced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2-3 tabs extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh chopped basil

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and adjust seasonings if necessary. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread

Watermelon Salad with Olives and Feta
watermelonINGREDIENTS
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mint
2 lbs. cubed watermelon
20 kalamata olives, smashed with pits removed
1/2 thin sliced onion, red or white
About 1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 limes halved
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Toss herbs together in one bowl.
2. Combine watermelon with olives and onions.
3. Mix together and serve with the lime juice squeezed over the top to taste.

Makes a great dish to take to a summer barbeque.

(Photos by Max Taylor produced with kind permission from Provider Farm, [CSA] Woodbridge Road in Salem Connecticut.)

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