Farmers Market Finds

Did you know there are 8,690 farmers markets nationwide according to the list on U.S.D.A. of National Farmers Markets? Ours is not listed-I checked. So the list isn’t even all markets, just the ones registered with the U.S.D.A. The Farmers Market here in town officially began a few weeks ago. They have a great selection of homegrown products to try out.  They even have some unusual products to try out.  There is a new booth this year from King Bee Ranch. They have freeze dried candies that are amazing! If you haven’t been to the farmers market, you can check it out on the corner of 6th and Morton every Friday morning through October.

The USDA defines farmers market as: “a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products directly to the general public at a central or fixed location, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains).” The idea behind this is to cut out the middleman – grocery stores. This can have many benefits for all of us as consumers.

Locally grown foods are much healthier than what you can pick up at the store.  They are picked fresh, much fresher than products shipped to a store to purchase. Many studies have shown that the nutrients in fruits and veggies are optimal when ripe.  Once picked or harvested, the nutrients begin diminishing. Often, fruits and veggies picked for grocery stores are not ripe yet so they have time to get to the stores.  The nutrients from this produce has yet to even fully form so they are not great to begin with.  

You can also ask the farmer what goes on his produce.  Chances are, not much.  Most local farmers don’t treat their produce with pesticides and fertilizers if used tend to be more natural. They are also more environmentally friendly as there are far fewer fossil fuels being used (and pollution being spewed into the air) to get to the farmers market compared to sending produce to the store from wherever. There is also less waste as there is not extra packing for shipping.

One of the best reasons to shop the farmers market is you never quite know what you might find as the season progresses.  Right now, peaches and tomatoes are just starting to ripen and be available.  Potatoes come in red, yellow and purple from one vendor. Lettuce is prevalent from kale to Romaine (my favorite). But you can also find more unusual finds like kohlrabi and patty pan. Fresh honey is wonderful from a local vendor. And Kelly always has fresh baked mini loaves of bread (Adrian’s favorite is the Banana Split Bread she makes) and hand made jewelry. Soon, though watermelon and cantaloupe will be available and fresh strawberries. Yum! As the summer wanes, we will get more squash and gourds.

While the grocery store will never go away and there will always be things you will likely need/want to purchase there, the farmers market has a place in our community as well.  So go downtown in Okmulgee to the Square and visit the friendly vendors.  They will happily answer your questions and ask the King Bee Ranch to try a sample of the freeze dried Skittles.  They are amazing!  Pick up your produce this weekend and pick up anything else from the store.  Then, meet me in the kitchen for these recipes using farmers market produce!

 

Enchilada Stuffed Patty Pan

4 patty pan large enough to stuff

2 cups chicken cooked and chopped (I used rotisserie)

¼ cup finely chopped onions

½ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend for filling, plus more for topping

¼ cup green chiles chopped

½ cup enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut tops off squash and clean out seeds making bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes and let cool. Add chicken, onion, chiles, enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese in mixing bowl. Mix well and stuff squash with mixture. Add shredded cheese on top of each squash. Place in baking dish or cookie sheet in oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is browned. Let cool 3-5 minutes and serve. You can top with sour cream, guacamole, or cilantro if you wish.

Recipe from mylifecookbook.com.

 

Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw

1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated

¼ head purple cabbage, shredded

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

½ red onion, grated

2 Tbsps. chopped cilantro

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp salt

Combine kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, onion and cilantro in large bowl. In smaller bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour dressing over slaw, and mix until fully coated. Chill for several hours before serving.

Recipe from thekitchn.com.

 

Kale Smoothie

1 cup almond milk

1 medium frozen banana

2 kale leaves, stems removed

2 to 3 small ripe peaches, pitted and sliced then frozen

½ teaspoon grated ginger

½ teaspoon matcha, optional

Handful of ice

In high-speed blender, combine almond milk, banana, kale, peaches, ginger and matcha. Blend until creamy. Add handful of ice and blend again.

Recipe from loveandlemons.com.

 

Peach Lemonade

4 cups water, divided

2 medium peaches, chopped

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 medium lemon, sliced

Mint sprigs, optional

In small saucepan, bring 2 cups water, peaches and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until peaches are tender. Remove from heat. Cool. Strain, discarding peach skins.  In large pitcher, combine peach mixture, lemon juice and remaining water. Add lemon slices and mint if desired. Serve over ice.

Recipe from tasteofhome.com.