I’m gonna tell you how it goes.
You tell me if I’m right.
- It’s farmer’s market season. YAAAAS!! It’s here!
- Get overly excited. Make an outing out of it, that turns into a full afternoon.
- You arrive. Get overwhelmed. Start randomly buying things, because hey. It’s all good for you, and you want to be healthy.
- Leave proud. With a bag full of veg and stuff, and no money left.
- Get home. Wait. Why do you feel like you have nothing to cook for dinner?
- Look at your random veggies and fruit. They’re beautiful, but what the heck do you make with chard and those random fava beans you got talked into?
- You put them in the fridge…and forget about them. Or eye them daily, with guilt. Until the sad day they go bad.
- The next week, repeat.
All those good, healthy cooking intentions right down the drain.
I know, you guys.
The healthy struggle is real on this one.
So today, I want to give you a better plan of attack.
On 1), how to make an amazing salad (everyone will love) with all those random things you bought at the farmer’s market, that you can swap and change every so slightly as new things come into season this summer.
How to navigate that market better so you get the best deals, and buy stuff you’ll actually use.
So you can eat healthier, eat local, eat fresh, support your city farmers, and not lose your *ish and waste money every time you try.
Sarah’s Rules of Farmer’s Market-ing:
- Make a full lap before you commit. Take note of each stall’s selection, and prices. You’re looking for a good one stop shop.
- Exceptions to rule #1 would be a small stall with and insane deal. They specialize in one or two things, and you can clean up here!
- Organic vs non-organic: at a farmer’s market, everything is grown fresh and local. The “organic” label just means that particular farm has gone through the (expensive) process to get USDA certified. This doesn’t mean that those that aren’t labeled as such don’t use pesticides. Bottom line: anything you buy at a market is likely loved on, taken care of, and of super high quality for you to consume. You can always ask, but I rarely do. It’s part of the benefit of shopping here (unlike the store, where there is a huge difference between the two).
- Ready? You must have a specific plan for every single thing you buy. Know how you will incorporate it into your week. Don’t buy random things just because they look good!
- Lean towards items you can use in multiple ways. This is how I make rule #4 not feel restrictive for my free spirit cooking ‘tude. Zucchini = noodles, grilled or roasted, chopped in salads, scooped and filled with veggies and meat or cheese, or fresh from the fridge and sliced and dipped into guacamole like I posted this week on instagram and snapchat (sarahadler0).
- Buy something new/that you’re scared of, and ask the farmer how to cook or use it. I found these amazing pea shoots this week because of it, and I’ll never not buy them again. This is how you get to be a better cook, I promise.
- Still confused? Copy my little blueprint:
- Buy 1 huge head of lettuce (for smoothies and salads)
- Buy 2 fun salad additions (pea shoots, carrots, green beans, snap peas, patty pan squash, etc)
- Buy 1 thing that scares you
- Buy 1 bunch of herbs. Basil, parsley and cilantro are by far, the easiest to use in so many dishes and homemade dressings. Blend whatever starts to wilt with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and freeze in ice cube trays.
- Buy 1 more decadent thing (grass fed meat, a beautiful cheese, a gluten-free cookie or bread)
- Buy the $5 flowers. Always get the flowers. To keep, to give to someone else, just do it.
So now, let’s put this all into practice. With a salad I’ve been non-stop on, all week. Because it goes with every kind of dinner (or as dinner itself).
The Summer Farmer’s Market Salad
Makes 2-3 servings
Notes: The beauty of this salad is that there are no rules. Throw in whatever veggie, herbs and cheese combination as the produce changes throughout the summer, and still love how it tastes!
1 head butter or similar lettuce, washed and torn
1 cup baby tomatoes (or larger), sliced
1 mexican, pattypan or regular zucchini, sliced thinly (or into ribbons)
1 handful pea shoots (or snap peas, green beans or sprouts)
1 generous handful chopped basil
1 medium ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
Pesto (see recipe below, or store bought)
pine nuts (optional)
1 large bunch basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juiced
sea salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients with a bit of olive oil and water until smooth.
For the salad:
Mix 1 large scoop of pesto with a glug or two of olive oil. Whisk to combine. This is your dressing. Save the pesto in a airtight container to use throughout the week. You know, on everything.
Toss crisped lettuce with the dressing first, then layer in all other ingredients, ending with the cheese and herbs last to serve.
PS- and yes, to help you save even more money and time at this healthy eating game, the Summer Meal Plan is almost here again! Sign up to get notified of when the plan drops next week so you can be first on board. Join the list by pinging firstname.lastname@example.org.