I live for the summer. The sun shining, the flowers blooming, and the sandal wearing of summer make it my favorite time of year. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a teacher and have 2 months off in the summer either. But aside from the typical things I love about summer, one big thing stands out. Walking from my house to the local farmer’s market every Friday morning to get fresh fruits and vegetables to use in my cooking is one of my favorite parts of summer. Thanks to Foodbuzz for choosing me to participate in June’s 24 x 24, I was able to design a meal completely made with items I either bought at the farmer’s market or got from my own garden.
We are lucky enough in our small town to have 4 farmer’s markets weekly. I usually end up going to at least 2 of them during the 3week. The farmer’s market isn’t just about the fresh, organic produce; it’s also about friendship and socializing. Every week I look forward to seeing my friends and acquaintances and chatting with them while we shop outside for produce. It doesn’t quite feel like summer until I’m able to do this.
I wanted to make brunch from ingredients I bought mainly from the farmer’s market. I came up with a list of dishes to make but all the recipes were vague as I wasn’t sure exactly which fruits and vegetables would be available the day before our brunch. I really lucked out this week because in addition to all the greens and vegetables, the market had berries and peaches as well.
I ended up buying my produce from four different vendors. It was enjoyable just talking to each of them because they are so knowledgeable and offered great advise as to what vegetables would go well together in different dishes.
The ladies from Walnut Ridge Farm in Flintstone, Maryland were very helpful in making my quiche. I originally wanted to buy fresh spinach to put into the quiche and was very upset to find no one had any. They assured me that mustard greens would be a good substitute. I’ve never had mustard greens before but they told me they have a similar texture and would give it a good flavor. I also bought broccoli from them to put into the quiche.
Next I gravitated toward the juicy looking berries from Rice’s Orchard in Cumberland, MD. I was able to buy a pint of raspberries and a pint of blueberries to use in my fruit salad and fresh fruit smoothies. While talking to Mrs. Rice, who owns the orchard and is in her 90′s, I found that they also keep their own bees and were selling honey. I have a weakness for honey and quickly tossed a bottle of their honey in my bag. I thought it would go nicely with a fresh fruit salad.
Then I went over to vegetables at Higson’s Farm which is in Wiley Ford, WV. They helped me choose two large onions that could go into my quiche and the salads. Finally I went over to see Katharine from Backbone Food Farm in Oakland, MD because she always has some amazing mixed greens. I wasn’t disappointed and I grabbed a large bag of greens to use in my salad.
After my trip to the farmer’s market I went over to a local fruit and vegetable store that also sells local dairy products and cheese. I was able to buy a block of smoked cheddar and a block of Swiss that were made locally in Pennsylvania. The final touches came from my mother’s garden and my own garden. My mom donated a huge bag full of rhubarb that she had growing in her garden. I was able to use mint, thyme, oregano, parsley, pineapple sage, and rosemary from my herb garden. On the drive home I didn’t have any trouble coming up with a menu for my Farm Fresh Brunch.
Farm Fresh Salad with Herb Vinaigrette (dressing adapted from The Mom 100 Cookbook)
6 c. mixed greens
1/2 c. sliced cucumber
1/4 c. sliced onions
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
For the vinaigrette:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
2 t. fresh parsley, chopped
1 t. fresh oregano, chopped
1 t. fresh thyme, chopped
1. In a large salad bowl toss together the mixed greens, cucumber, and onion. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and set aside.
2. In a small container with a lid combine all the vinaigrette ingredients. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Check the seasonings and adjust if needed.
3. Refrigerate both the salad and vinaigrette until ready to serve. Give the dressing a quick shake before serving.
Lemon Berry Mint Smoothie (a Hezzi-D original)
1/4 c. blueberries
1/4 c. raspberries
1/4 c. strawberries, sliced
1/2 c. blueberry yogurt, frozen
1/3 c. low fat milk
3 fresh mint leaves
3 fresh lemon balm leaves
2 ice cubes
1. Place the frozen blueberry yogurt in the microwave for 15 seconds or just long enough that it can be scooped out of the container.
2. In a blender combine all the ingredients for the smoothie. Blend until smooth.
3. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a mint leaf.
1. Place the frozen peach yogurt in the microwave for 15 seconds or just long enough that it can be scooped out of the container.
2. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Garnish with a fresh peach slice.
We had an amazing time sharing our brunch with my parents. The food was delicious and it was fun talking about where the ingredients came from. Most people might not know this, but at one time my husband was a farmer and no one enjoys fresh produce more then he does. It was also fun creating a table scape with fresh flowers cut from my garden, napkins tied with fresh herbs from the garden, and menus that detailed where the produce came from.
I will be posting the recipes for the vegetable quiche, fruit salad with mojito dressing, strawberry rhubarb jam, and the fresh herb bagels on my blog throughout the week so don’t forget to stop back and check them out!