Pamper yourself: go shopping at a farmer's market. If you love food , then the local farmers' market is your ticket to foodie heaven. This time of year farmers' markets across the continent are teeming with an abundance of fruits and vegetables—ranging from the familiar to the utterly weird and exotic. If you value freshness, quality and variety, your regular supermarket can't compete with the produce offered at farmers' markets. Many of the items are picked that morning, the prices for these superior goods are ridiculously cheap, especially for organics, and the people themselves—the growers—take enormous personal pride in their wares. In my experience, they have always been eager to answer any questions and generously offer tasty samples, a true test of the quality of their produce.
From now until summer's end is the perfect time to put some extra color on your plate: vivid green asparagus, sunny orange apricots, rosy radishes, golden corn... these and more choices abound. As inspiring as its subject matter, the recipes, descriptions and pictures in Janet Fletcher's book Fresh From the Farmer's Market motivate all cooks to race down to the local farmers market and irresistibly buy more than one could possibly consume. I call it "Farmers Market Frenzy"—I buy as many types of produce I can jam into my portable cart and then mentally cook them up in wonderfully unique ways as I drive home. Then, the fun really begins: I get to cook them and eat them—or sometimes just eat them raw at stop lights on the way.
Fresh From the Farmers Market, a finalist in last month's Julia Child Cookbook Awards, is my companion through all this, giving me year-round recipes for the freshest foods I can find. I heartily recommend it for the market shopper. Divided into the seasons, the book describes the produce at its peak, how to select, store and prepare it. Innovative recipes give me a full taste of each item and inspire me to devise my own creations. And if you're lucky enough to have year-round farmers' markets, the chapters on winter squashes and root vegetables will brighten up even the dreariest of days.
In this section, we offer some very practical tips for shopping the farmers' market, , growers' tips, and some interesting facts about the farmers' markets in the US. And to further tempt you, we present a profile of Fresh From the Farmers Market with some timely recipes for this very merry month of May.
Fresh From the Farmers' Market
by Janet Fletcher
1997; $19.95 paperback
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.
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