Where I come from, there is no farmer’s market. It’s just the market. It’s there every day 6 to 9, rain or shine. The vendors are usually the same, and you get to know them, order rare items like ”zucchini squash blossoms” or complain that your turnips were stringy. We walk there almost every day and get fresh fruits and veggies. Some neighborhoods have local fruit and veggie vendors who have well stocked stands and make your trip shorter. Sweet!
Since I moved to the US, the market has been a once a week experience. We drive about 30 minutes to the closest one, then make a whole adventure out of it. We get our veggies and fruit, we have lunch, then we end up at the coffee lab enjoying an espresso and watching coffee beans turn a pleasant brown in the roaster.
Doing something only once a week means you have a whole week to build up an appetite: I am envisioning Brussels sprouts, freshly picked tomatoes, aromatic guavas, crunchy apples. I am thinking ok, we need to cook the asparagus and broccoli first, get to these ripe avocados, do something with the tomatoes. The cauliflower and beets and apples can wait till the middle of the week. The whole rainbow of produce finds a place in our schedule. Is it a completely different experience than having a market one block away from your home 7 days a week? You bet. Having access to freshly picked fruits and veggies is like getting your fix, just once a week. It’s so bitter-sweet.
We make the most of it. This past week we met a wonderful lady selling bone marrow bones, and a new guy who sells raw almonds. We also bough 3 items we have never bought before: baby pearl tomatoes, mini asian pears, and white sapote. Our family’s favorite was the sapote – a fruit that when ripened well, reminds you of a mix of mango, avocado and papaya – try it when you can – it’s fantastic.
We got home around 3 that day, and I wanted to make a kale salad for dinner. We have plenty of kale from our own Tower Garden, but we also sometimes buy varieties that we don’t grow- this time we had this amazing bunch of dark green elephant kale. I looked at the rest of our bags and thought that a new kale salad recipe was in order.
Here it is:
4 cups of thinly cut kale
1 cup mini tomatoes (we used pearl)
2 small or 1 large Asian pear
some fancy greens of your choice (we had sorrel in the garden, but you can choose whatever you like – spinach, arugula, frizee)
Olive oil and sea salt for seasoning
Optional sundried tomato pesto for dressing
I cut the kale and put it in a big bowl, seasoned with some salt and olive oil and proceeded to mash it with my hands (my dreat-grandpa used to say you need to wash your hands in salad to make it taste good). I hear it’s called ”massaging the kale” – you can mash or massage but you want your kale softer if you expect your body to appreciate it. I added the tomatoes, sorrel and thinly cut pear, then mixed it all very well and served with some sundried tomato pesto. It was a wonderful salad and a reminder that you can create a new salad recipe every time you come back from the farmer’s market. I remember this is how my famous arugula flower salad was born. Look for it. It’s somewhere on the Internet – has my name all over it.
What are you doing this weekend? Do you have a market in mind? Are you building a list in your head? Where will you get your fix?
As always, eat well and move well!