It’s that time of the year again – fresh fruit and veggies are lining the stands of local farmers' markets around the country. There’s something so relaxing about going to the market and hand-picking the food, grown by local farmers, to prepare a dish. The Test Kitchen recently took a trip to a farmers' market in Minneapolis.
We loved taking in the sights, smells and vibrant, fresh produce, and we couldn’t help but pick out a few of our favorites. Personally, my favorite item is basil since it’s so versatile (pesto, pasta sauce, caprese salad…I could go on), but let’s see what everyone else picked out.
Beets are one of those vegetables that you either love or you hate. I don’t cook beets on a regular basis. But, when I saw beets in various sizes, from baby ones to larger ones, in many of the farmers’ market stands, I couldn’t resist buying a bunch. It immediately brought back memories of when my grandmother served melted butter on beets for family meals. Back then I didn’t care much for them, but now I really like to make them with plenty of butter.
My dad LOVES blueberry pie. When I tasted the Bayfield blueberries at the farmers' market, I just knew I had to make him a pie. Not that I need an excuse, but it was the last night of my son’s summer soccer league, and I thought a pie would be a fun way to say "thank you" to my mom and dad for coming to all his games. I have these adorable 5-inch mini pie plates that are the perfect size for two people.
Being pressed for time when I got home from work, I recruited my kids to "help" so we could get it out of the oven before the game. We got it into the oven and out just in time to leave for the game. The pie cooled in the car, and I gave it to them after the game. The smiles were worth the effort! We came home and ate the other two pies with a dollop of ice cream and more smiles. Delish.
Going to the farmers' market every Saturday morning is one of my favorite summer activities. I look forward to it all week. So when Mallory said we were going on a Thursday, I was all over it! Making the decision about what to buy was a challenge…is “everything” an answer?! I finally landed on Brussels sprouts, the vegetable I never thought I liked and now can’t get enough of. I usually like to keep Brussels sprouts fairly simple- with olive oil, salt, and pepper. This time I’m thinking of a salad with thin-sliced roasted Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese…yum!
Since I have a backyard garden with veggies and herbs, I don’t go to the farmers' market very often. When I do go, I tend to pick up fruits, unusual vegetables that I don’t grow, or local, artisanal products (like honey or jam). When the Test Kitchens decided to take a trip, I thought for sure that I would go home with some blueberries, Thai eggplant, or whipped honey. Then this guy shouted out, “Do you want to try some cheese?” He had me at “cheese.” There were a variety of tasty options – sharp cheddar, creamy horseradish with a kick, and a garlic-infused cheese that would be killer on a burger. Then he gave me a just-made-yesterday cheese curd. Have you ever had a fresh cheese curd? The salty squeak! Fresh cheese curds make the perfect study snack. So, as much as I would like to say I will incorporate them into a creative dish in the kitchen, I am really just going to eat them straight out of the package, enjoying each squeaky bite.
Juicy and succulent with a hint of tartness, it’s obvious why raspberries are my favorite berry. My original plan was to bake some Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins, since my sweet tooth was acting up again. Sadly, the berries didn’t make it that far. I ate them all straight from the container! Guess I’ll just have to revisit the farmers' market and purchase more!
What’s your favorite farmers' market purchase?