Farmers markets and CSA boxes: seasonal, local food for summer!

Summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere, with an abundance of seasonal gifts!  Farmers markets are brimming with delicious vegetables and fruits.  This is a great opportunity for us to purchase seasonal, fresh produce directly from our local farmers.  Farmers markets also provide us a chance to get outside and socialize with our community.

Though farmers markets offer a wide variety of delicious, healthful and fresh produce, there's often less healthful treats too: sugary pastries or salty cured meats.  These items might speak to our cravings, and we must remember to approach them with mindfulness.  Making a list of what we plan to buy can help us stick to our good intentions. Try checking out what fruits and vegetables are in season before you go to the market, to help you plan your shopping list. 

Even if you can’t find time to visit your local farmers market each week, you can still enjoy local foods this summer by signing up for a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) box.  Weekly or bi-weekly CSA box subscriptions are available from local farmers, and typically cost anywhere from $15-30, depending on the size box you choose. Many CSA’s have different sized boxes to accomodate small and large households, but if they don’t, you might want to consider sharing a box with a friend.  Each box usually includes fresh picked vegetables, fruits, and sometimes other farm products.  Many farmers deliver CSA boxes to your home or a convenient location for pickup. 

So, why should we get produce from farmers markets or CSA boxes?

To...

  • Develop relationships with local farmers
  • Learn where our food is grown
  • Eat more locally-produced, organic, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Discover how to cook seasonally, plus try new recipes and foods

To find farmers markets and CSA programs near you, check out LocalHarvest’s database

Some of my favorite finds from the local farmers market this week were strawberries, blueberries, beets and Swiss chard. Here’s a special salad recipe I made with the fresh strawberries:

Summer Berry and Arugula Salad Recipe:

2 generous handfuls of arugula (or a salad green of your choice)

¼ - ½ cup sliced strawberries (substitute other berries or even sliced stone fruit – peaches, apricots, or plums - if strawberries are no longer in season)

Dressing:

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil

Add the Dijon mustard, chopped garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper to a bowl or screw-top jar. Whisk the vinaigrette mixture until it is combined, or if using a jar, screw the top on and shake to combine. Lightly dress and toss the salad greens and strawberries (you probably will have extra dressing for your next salad).  If you like, sprinkle some sliced almonds on top!

Enjoy!

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