by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, July 20, 2013
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, June 22, 2013
Sometimes I go to the farmers’ market in search of items that have nothing to do with produce. Local farmers often have other goodies like meats, cheeses, eggs, honey and baked goods to offer. On a recent trip to my favorite market I picked up a package of a profoundly delicious cheese: feta made from local goat’s milk.
Originating in Greece, feta cheese has been made for centuries. Classically made with sheep’s milk, some versions may also be a combination of both sheep and goat’s milk. Newer versions of this cheese from countries other than Greece may also be made with cow’s milk. Curds of the cheese are pressed together into blocks and stored in brine, which contributes to feta’s unique tangy flavor.
Cheese lovers will also be happy to know that feta is naturally lower in calories. One ounce of feta contains 40 fewer calories and 3 fewer grams of fat than the same portion of cheddar.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, May 15, 2013
Green peas are sitting in natural, pretty little packages just waiting to be plucked. Visit your local farmers’ market and dive into a basket of this spring treasure.
Also known as English Peas, inside the inedible pods are tender and succulent peas. Shelling them does take bit of elbow grease and patience, but the sweet, fresh flavor is totally worth it. Use them in any recipe that calls for fresh or frozen peas. You can also munch on them raw or blanch and freeze them for later.
One cup of shelled green peas has 117 calories and one gram of fat. It also has 7 grams of hunger-fighting fiber and 8 grams of muscle-building protein. Don’t forget about vitamins and minerals – calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, thiamin and vitamins A, C and K can all be found in peas.
Recipes To Try:
Fresh Pea Ravioli With Crispy Prosciutto
Pasta With Tomato and Peas
Tuna Pasta Salad
Spicy Cheesy Rice
Asparagus and Fresh Pea Frittata With Tomato-Basil Concasse
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, May 7, 2013
Also known as Italian broccoli, I grew up calling this veggie rapini. It has a pungent and bitter flavor similar to turnips and cabbage that gets mellowed out by cooking. It’s also a nutrient powerhouse, packed with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A, C and K.
When at the market, look for a nestled bunch of bright leafy greens, with tiny broccoli-like buds peaking out. To prepare, steam or blanche in boiling water, then sauté in olive oil and garlic. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve as a side dish or incorporate into soup, quiche or pasta.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, October 20, 2012
A true sign of spring, this specialty produce can only be found for a limited time.
What, Where & When
A member of the Allium family along with onion and garlic, this wild variety of onion is sometimes referred to as a “wild leek.” Looking much like a scallion, a tiny bulb elongates to a skinny stalk with green feathery leaves (all parts are edible).
Lovers of this spring goodie are fans of its fresh onion and garlic flavor. Cooking will mellow out the pungent flavor of a raw ramp.
A serious farmers’ market treasure, ramps are harvested through the spring and early summer– look for them at markets from April through May or early June.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, September 15, 2012
Slice and roast them or steam and smash them. Sprinkle with salt and some freshly chopped herbs and the delightfully earthy flavor only gets better. Is your mouth watering yet for some fingering potatoes?
Resembling chubby fingers, this variety of spud can be found at farmers’ markets now. Look for skins with golden, rose or even purple and blue hues. The color of the creamy, yet sturdy flesh will also vary from pale yellow, white and purplish-blue.
Some of the most well-known varieties are Russian Banana, French Fingerling and Purple Peruvian but there are even more out there – ask your local farmer what they’re growing.
Recipes to Try:
Dill Fingerling Potatoes
Grilled Potato and Pepper Salad
Crudite with Olive Crème Fraiche
Healthy Roast Fingerlings with Lemon
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, August 5, 2012
It’s only mid-September but I’ve been enjoying apples for months –thanks to these early varieties.
- Delightfully crisp Gala are super crunchy and sweet with rosy skin. They’re good for applesauce or snacking.
- Streaked pale green and red Honeycrisp are slightly tart and fabulous for baking or applesauce.
- Red and shiny with a touch of green, MacCoun have the best of everything – sweet, tart, crunch. Fabulous for vegetable, chicken or tuna salads
- Petite, Early McIntosh have the aroma of an orchard and are perfect for little hands (my kids gobble them up). They make a sweet and delicious pie, too.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, July 11, 2012
After my weekly CSA delivery, I was prepared to write all about a gorgeous looking spaghetti squash that was in my share. But when I open the “squash,” I discovered that it wasn’t a squash at all, but a melon!
I put in a call in to my farmer (yes, proud to say I have her on speed dial); I wanted her to enlighten me – what was this bright yellow melon called? She introduced me to the Sun Jewel. This Asian variety (also called a Korean Yellow Melon) has pale yellow flesh that tastes similar to honeydew, but with more of a cucumber-pear flavor.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, April 26, 2012
Also known as snap beans or green beans, nutrient-filled string beans aren’t just for Thanksgiving casseroles.
Piles of slender green and yellow beans are spilling over tables at the farmers’ market this time of year. Whatever color you choose (they have similar flavor), they’re marvelous for salads and stir fries, but that’s not all. Here are 5 delectable uses you probably haven’t tried… it’s time to start!
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, February 21, 2012
- When you buy beets, don't toss the greens!
Some folks foolishly cut and throw beet greens aside, but don’t make this mistake!
Beet greens have a better bite than spinach and a touch of leafy green sweetness, plus a list of valuable nutrients that’s practically never-ending. One cup of cooked beet greets has 39 calories, 4 grams of protein, hefty doses of vitamins A, C , K, riboflavin, calcium, iron and nearly 20% of your daily fiber needs.
Enjoy finely chopped beet greens raw in a salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Saute the greens with olive oil and garlic, use as a pizza topping, or wilt into a steamy bowl of pasta or risotto.
Recipes to Try:
Roasted Beet Risotto
Beet Green Gratin
Garlic Beet Greens
- Winter CSA shares can provide fresh, local produce, even in the dead of winter.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on local produce. Eating locally year round is easier if you live in California or Florida but here’s how I do it in Connecticut.
Farmers Markets Finds
Farmers are extra good at holding on to their harvests. If you didn’t turn your own summer bounty into a winter-friendly form, stop by a local farm or winter market to find baked goods, pickles, honey, jams and relish.