Farmers’ Markets are seeing a resurgence in the US, as more of us are buying local food and searching for the freshest foods for ourselves and our families.
Buying fresh food means using foods more quickly so that there is little time for it to either spoil or lose essential nutrients.
Buying produce when it is in season usually means that is more affordable making it easier to stay in your food budget. Eating vegetables and fruits when they are available from local growers allows us to have a varied diet and gives us an opportunity to try new foods instead of relying on frozen or processed items.
As we all try to reduce the amount of processed foods that we serve, we are becoming more knowledgeable about buying foods during the peak of the season. Here is more information I hope you find helpful to make your next trip to the Farmer’s Market successful!
Growing Our Vegetable Knowledge
We have already talked about fruits in “How to Pick Fruit at the Peak of Flavor & Enjoyment” so let’s look at the abundance of vegetables in our markets and see when and how to select them for optimal flavor and nutrition.
I am including a few different varieties that you may not usually select, since they have great flavor, can be used in many types of recipes, and pack a nutrition punch!
|Type of Vegetable||How to Pick||Nutritional Information||Ideas for Use||In Season|
|Leaf: purple, red, |
green and gold
Choose fresh, crisp
Avoid any insect damage
Vitamins A, C, K
|Grain usually harvested in fall
Leaves year round with
|Heavy for size|
Avoid soft spots
Choose hard rind
|Vitamins A, C|
|Year round but peak
|Summer Squash||Heavy for size|
Buy small or medium size
|Asparagus||Green, purple, white|
Avoid wilted stalks
Store in damp paper towel
|Vitamins A, C, K, E|
|Eggplant||Purple, green, white|
Heavy for size
Smooth, shiny skin
Free of bruises
Bright green stem
Press skin with thumb
Should spring back with
|Rutabaga||Both root and leaves used|
Heavy for size
Avoid soft spots, cracks
|Leeks||Use whiter and lighter green sections|
Avoid brown spots
Store in paper towel
Clean thoroughly-can hold dirt
|Vitamins A, C, K|
As is true with fruits, it is very important to wash your vegetables even if you are going to peel them. Whenever possible, eat the skin so you don’t lose valuable nutrients, including fiber.
There are so many vegetables that are fun to eat, colorful, nutritious and have a variety of cooking choices. I hope that you will try some of the varieties that you may not usually select.
There may even be a few of these that you would like to add to your home garden. I think I will be growing amaranth next year!
Here are a couple of recipes for you to try with your new vegetables!
1 jicama, julienned
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
1 cup red onions, finely sliced
¼ red cabbage, shredded
½ yellow pepper, julienned
½ red pepper, julienned
¼ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Chopped Cilantro for garnish
Combine vegetables in serving bowl.
Wisk together lime juice, vinegar, honey, oil and seasonings.
Add vinaigrette to vegetables and mix thoroughly.
Top with cilantro. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Amaranth Berry Pudding
Source: Bob’s Red Mill
1/2 cup Organic Amaranth Grain
2 cups Apple Juice
1 Lemon’s Zest
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 cups Berries of choice fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 Sliced Almonds for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring apple juice, lemon zest, cinnamon stick and amaranth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick and stir in berries and agave. Pour the pudding into small bowls and let cool. May be served warm or cold. Garnish with almonds.