by Linda Marrone
I have two words for you this week: farmers market. Yes, the long-awaited and much-anticipated weekly market will open this afternoon at the Pony Express Pavilion.
Oh, I know that the Saturday market in Telegraph Square has been open for four weeks now. I really like the morning markets, but for some, bigger is better.
I haven't seen any tomatoes yet, but have seen lots of tomato plants. The apricots have been wonderful, and the peaches will only get better. I've been making a mixed-berry bowl with strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries and raspberries. All I can say is yum!
I've also been going to the Wednesday morning market in Gardnerville at Lampe Park. I meet my friend Sharon Fiori and her grandson, Marcus, there, and we make a beeline for the Tahoe Bakery truck before the pizza bagels are sold out. We always spend more than we should, but once we get home and start eating all our goodies, we're happy we did. I especially like it that a few of the vendors have been handing out recipes at the market every week.
Here are some good reasons to shop at the farmers market.
1. Taste "real" flavors: The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are allowed to ripen in the field and brought directly to you - no long-distance shipping, no sitting in storage for weeks.
2. Enjoy the season: The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal. Shopping and cooking foods from the market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature.
3. Support family farmers: Family farmers are becoming increasingly rare. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce.
4. Protect the environment: Food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources, contributes greatly to pollution, and creates excess trash. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
5. Know where your food comes from: A regular trip to the farmers market is one of the best ways to reconnect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers is a great opportunity to learn more about how, when and where food is grown and get tips on how to prepare it.
6. Connect with your community: The farmers market is a community gathering place - a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children or just to get a taste of what you want to buy and find an amazing array of produce.
The Summer Farmers Market at the Pony Express Pavilion, Mills Park is 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. today and every Wednesday. For Information, call 746-5024.
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With the weather being so nice, Ralph and I have been eating a lot of salad suppers on the porch. This next recipe is easy to prepare and gets the cook out of the kitchen on these warm evenings. It's from the Everyday Food Magazine.
CHICKEN SALAD WITH FRUIT
1Ú2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (or any you prefer)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Half of a leftover roasted chicken, skin removed; shred meat and add to dressing
2 cups of any fruit from the market peaches, apricots, strawberries (sliced). You could also use grapes or apples
3 to 4 thinly sliced celery stalks
Toss all of the above ingredients and serve over a bed of lettuce (from the market) and sprinkle with 1Ú2 cup toasted walnuts. Serves 4.
For a really easy fix, use your favorite dressing in place of the mayo.
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This next recipe is a tasty way to use a variety of fresh produce.
STIR-FRIED HARVEST MEDLEY
1 Ð2 T. olive oil
1Ú2 cup chopped onion
3Ú4 cup broccoli florets
4 summer squash (assorted yellow and green for color), sliced into 1Ú2 inch pieces
2 cups mixed green beans (green, yellow and romano)
1 cup baby bok choy,
1 cup chopped mustard green
1Ú2 cup chopped edible flowers (Sue's Garden usually carries them)
1Ú4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
8 fresh edible flowers
In a large skillet or wok, heat oil until hot. Add onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add vegetables and greens and stir-fry to doneness. Add 2 tablespoons of water or broth while stir-frying if you like your vegetables cooked to a more tender stage.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and arrange edible flowers on top immediately before serving. Serves 4.
You can add or delete any veggies to suit your taste. Stir-frying the chopped edible flowers gives this dish a little bite. Add a sprinkle of fresh goat cheese for a real treat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Linda Marrone has lived in Carson City since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.