As summer starts to come to a close (we know! It’s ending too soon!) we are taking advantage of every chance we get to enjoy fresh garden produce and trips to our local Farmers’ Market. Tomatoes and corn are especially good this time of year as well as blueberries, raspberries and melons.
Farmers’ Markets are a part of our foundation and a place where we feel right at home. We believe some of the most unique and highest quality foods are found within the market, but realize they can be a bit intimidating to shop if you’ve never done so before. To get you started, here are a few tips to get you on your way to sourcing and shopping the best finds at your local Farmers’ Market.
- Scope out the scene before committing. Do a quick lap around and check out what each vendor is offering and to get a feel for what is in season. Pay close attention to the quality of produce. This prevents buyer’s remorse when you stumble upon something better a few stands away.
- Ask questions. It’s not unusual that you’ll find unique fruits and vegetable varieties that you might not be familiar with. Ask about them! Inquire about their flavor profiles, cooking techniques and pairing ideas. Try something new – you might be pleasantly surprised!
- Carefully make selections. Use our quality testing techniques…
- Corn – Purchase early in the morning. As the corn sits out after it has been picked, sugar converts to starch. Purchasing the day you plan to use it and refrigerating until use is the best way to keep your corn sweet. Tip: If you over purchase corn, try freezing it to enjoy during the winter months!
- Blackberries or Raspberries – Check the bottom of the container to see if it is stained or moist as they may be overripe and crushed at the bottom.
- Tomatoes – Skin should be firm and the stem area should still be fragrant.
- Beets – pick beets that feel firm in your hand, never squishy. Roasting is a great cooking method. It works for any type and size beet and brings out a sweeter flavor as opposed to steaming or eating them raw.
- Asparagus – thick or skinny? Turns out that size doesn’t dictate flavor or quality! Thicker means it’s more mature than the thin variety. Look for firm stems, squeeze the bundles and listen for a squeak. Squeaky equals ripe! If the stalk is crooked, the asparagus is over-mature.
- Embrace the ugly fruits and veggies. When shopping for ingredients to pickle or make fillings for pies, buy for taste, not looks. Allow the variety at the Farmers’ Market to inspire culinary creativity. You also might score a deal!
- Buy beyond produce. Farm fresh eggs, breads, meats and even prepared foods are great Farmers’ Market finds.
We are fortunate enough to have a Farmers’ Market right next door to our York headquarters that many of our employees take advantage of during lunch breaks on Thursday afternoons. Last week we took a trip over to grab the ingredients to make a Summertime Vegetable Salad Wrap with Mango Goat Cheese – what a delicious lunch break!
Summertime Vegetable Salad Wrap with Mango Goat Cheese
- 4 (8-inch) tortillas, grilled
- 1 bag of mesculun greens
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Mango Lime Salsa
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced
- In a food processor, combine goat cheese and Mango Lime Salsa.
- Prepare carrot, red pepper and radishes.
- Right before you are ready to serve the salad, grill the tortillas lightly until marked.
- Spread inside of each tortilla with goat cheese spread; place greens, veggies and radish slices in the middle of each tortilla and wrap up tightly.
- Cut in half and enjoy!