Seasonal Recipes from the Farmer’s Market

Seasonal Recipes from the Farmer’s Market

Spring is here and as the first tender shoots grow from the ground, Farmer’s Markets are opening up all across the country. While it’s true that you can find almost anything in your neighborhood grocery store, Farmer’s Markets are a special kind of place. Most of them carry only local produce that is perfectly in season, grown by your neighbors, picked fresh that very morning, and offered at a price that benefits both you and the farmer.

Farmer’s Markets are perfect for seniors who want to score top-notch nutrition and flavor while saving money and supporting local businesses. Most markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Combine that with the affordable costs of fresh produce from area farmers and your dollar can stretch much further.

But these lovely markets offer benefits for seniors that go beyond food. At a Farmer’s Market, you interact with the community around you. You might meet your neighbors, make new friends, discover local farms, and even get an education from a farmer or other vendors. Shoppers often share the best booth to find the ripest tomatoes or the place you can get the best meat. It’s difficult to feel lonely when you are chatting it up with smiling people at a Farmer’s Market!

In 2019, there were more than 8,000 markets across the country.1 If you’re curious about the closest one near you, the USDA has you covered with the National Farmer’s Market Directory.

Many of them are open year-round, offering up seasonal foods and flowers every weekend. Some of the markets even offer cooking demonstrations and classes, live music, a place to cook your food right there after purchase, and family-friendly activities to keep the grandkids occupied while you shop.

You might be on your feet for a while at the market, so it’s a good idea to have a mobile medical alert pendant on. Pressing the medical alarm button with built-in GPS ensures you get help to your location right away, and remember that it’s not just helpful for you – you can use the panic button for anything, including to request assistance for someone else who is having a medical emergency while out and about.

You’ve got access to lots of wonderfully fresh food. Here are some delicious, nutritious recipes to enjoy that seasonal, healthy produce from your local market.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelons of all sizes, shapes, and colors are available at the Farmer’s Market. This salad takes other ingredients from the market, such as cucumber, onion, and mint, to round out a healthy salad that tastes as fresh as sunshine.

·        5 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

·        1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

·        ½ red onion, thinly sliced

·        ½ cup mint, chopped fine

·        ½ cup Feta cheese, crumbled

·        ¼ cup pistachios, shelled and toasted

·        ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

·        1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

·        A sprinkling of salt and freshly cracked pepper

Gently mix together the watermelon, cucumber, onion, mint, and cheese. Sprinkle with pistachios. Blend the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Remember that you might not need much salt, as Feta is salty enough on its own. Mix all ingredients together, taste to ensure the proper seasoning, and serve immediately.

Red Enchilada Sauce

If you love enchiladas, starting with this base is the key to that fresh farmer’s market taste. You can use any tomatoes, though heirlooms might provide the best flavor. If jalapenos or hatch peppers are too hot for you, you can substitute with any other pepper.

·        3 tbsps. olive oil

·        3 large tomatoes, cut in half

·        1 onion, sliced thin

·        6 garlic cloves

·        1 or 2 jalapenos, cut in half

·        1 other pepper, such as hatch, poblano, or red bell

·        2 tsps. roasted cumin

·        ½ tsp. salt

·        1 tsp. coriander

·        1 tsp. chili powder

·        1 tbsp. fresh oregano

·        ½ cup chicken broth

·        1 to 2 tsps. vinegar

·        1 small bunch of cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the bottom of a sheet pan with the olive oil. Place the peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a single layer. Roast them in the oven, checking at 15 minutes, then roasting for another 15 if necessary. It’s okay if some of the pieces are a little charred.

Pull the pan from the oven and let the vegetables cool down before putting them into a blender. Add the broth to the sheet pan and scrape up the browned bits. Pour that mixture into the blender. Add the spices and cilantro. Blend the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.

Taste the sauce to balance out the flavor – add salt if needed, and vinegar for a brighter taste. Use right away or store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to a week.

Farmer’s Market Enchiladas

Ready to use that sauce you just made? Most of these ingredients can be picked up at the market for a healthy, home-cooked, farm-to-table dish. You can substitute any vegetable for the corn, as long as it is cut into small bits.

·        2 tbsps. olive oil

·        1 onion, diced fine

·        5 garlic cloves, chopped fine

·        1 red bell pepper, diced

·        1 zucchini or sweet potato, diced

·        1 cup of corn kernels

·        1 tsp. cumin

·        1 tsp. coriander

·        1 tbsp. fresh oregano

·        ¼ cup fresh cilantro

·        2 cups homemade enchilada sauce

·        Whole wheat tortillas

·        2 cups grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion; sauté it for a few minutes until it becomes tender. Add the bell pepper, zucchini or sweet potato, garlic, and a dash of salt. Add a bit of water and cover the pan to steam the vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add in the corn, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Simmer for another few minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cilantro.

Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Pour half of the enchilada sauce into the bottom and spread it evenly. Place some of the filling in the center of a tortilla, cover it with 3 tbsps. grated cheese, and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other tortillas. Place the enchiladas seam-side down over the sauce, nestling them closely together in the pan.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more.

Remove the dish from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes as it cools. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Kohlrabi Slaw

You’ve probably seen kohlrabi at the Farmer’s Market but had no idea what to do with it. This easy slaw allows you to prepare this unique vegetable as a side dish that goes with just about anything.

·        4 cups kohlrabi, cut into matchsticks

·        2 cups sliced fennel, apple, cucumber, or cabbage

·        1 small bunch cilantro

·        ½ small jalapeno

·        ¼ cup scallions, chopped

·        Zest from one orange

·        Zest from one lime

For the dressing:

·        ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

·        Juice from one orange

·        Juice from one lime

·        ¼ cup honey

·        ¼ tsp. salt

·        1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Trim and peel the kohlrabi and cut carefully into matchsticks. Place the kohlrabi, other vegetables of your choice, scallions, jalapeno, lime zest, orange zest, and chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients well. Toss the dressing with the salad and refrigerate for a while to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with extra zest and cilantro.

Zucchini Cakes

Nothing screams “Farmer’s Market” like zucchini. Like watermelon, it is one of those foods so plentiful during the height of the season that many farmers will sell it at an amazing discount.

·        2-3 large zucchini, grated fine

·        1 tsp. salt

·        1 garlic clove, minced fine

·        2 scallions, sliced

·        2 tsps. jalapeno, chopped into small bits

·        ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

·        Zest from one small lime

·        1 tsp. cumin

·        1 tsp. smoked paprika

·        1 egg

·        ½ cup dry bread crumbs

·        ½ tsp. baking powder

·        ½ cup grated cheese

Toss the grated zucchini with the salt. Place it in a strainer over a bowl, allowing the excess water to drain from the zucchini for about an hour. Press the remaining water out with your fingertips and place the drained zucchini in a large bowl.

Add the garlic, scallions, jalapeno, lime zest, cumin, paprika, and parsley. Mix it all together and then add the egg, blending it thoroughly. Add the baking powder, bread crumbs, and cheese.

Stir the mixture – it should be thick and come together easily when you try to form a patty. If it’s too dry, add a bit of water to get the desired consistency. If it’s too wet, add breadcrumbs.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Create small zucchini patties and sear each side until they are golden brown and the centers are puffy. Turn the heat down and cook them through, about six minutes or so.

Quick Pickled Vegetables

It’s entirely possible (and likely) to go on a shopping spree when you see the low prices at the market. What do you do with all the extra produce? Pickling the veggies can be a great way to make them last longer and create new and interesting flavors.

·        2 quarts of fresh vegetables (this can include carrots, beets, cucumbers, radishes, okra, green beans, asparagus, red onion, summer squash, zucchini, cauliflower, bell peppers, fennel, or even rainbow chard)

·        1 tbsp. coriander seeds

·        2 tsps. fennel seeds

·        1 tsp. mustard seeds

·        10 garlic cloves, sliced thick

·        1 small onion, sliced

·        Fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley

To make the pickling liquid:

·        2 cups vinegar of your choice

·        2 cups water

·        2 tbsps. kosher salt

·        4 tbsps. sugar

Prep the veggies by washing them well and cutting them into pieces.

Bring the pickling liquid to a boil in a small pot. While that is boiling, pack the veggies into quart-sized mason jars. Divide the garlic and spices between the jars. Layer in the fresh herbs.

Using a funnel, pour the hot pickling liquid into the jars, submerging the veggies completely. You might be able to add more veggies as they settle in the jars, but leave about a half-inch of room between the veggies and the top of the jar.

Let the veggies cool on the countertop for a few hours, then cover and place in the fridge. Let them marinate for at least 12 hours, but a few days is even better. They keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

If there is anything that sells like hotcakes at the Farmer’s Market, it’s tomatoes. Any home gardener can tell you that a single tomato plant can yield an almost ridiculous amount of tomatoes! Don’t let any of them go to waste – make this tomato sauce for use on pizza and pasta, and freeze it in small portions so you can enjoy the fresh taste throughout the winter.

·        3 tbsps. olive oil

·        6 cloves garlic, chopped

·        1 large shallot, diced fine

·        2 carrots, peeled and diced fine

·        3 pounds of tomatoes (4-5 large ones), cut in half

·        1 tbsp. fresh oregano

·        1 tbsp. fresh basil

·        Salt and pepper to taste

·        ½ tsp. sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sliced tomatoes, shallot, and garlic on a greased baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Add the oregano and basil to roast for another 10 minutes or so. The skins should be lifting away from the tomatoes.

Remove the skins and pour all the sheet pan ingredients into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher, season with salt and pepper, and add the sugar. If you want a chunky sauce, you’re done. If you want a smooth sauce, pour all the ingredients into your blender and give it a whirl to your liking.

If you intend to freeze the sauce, put it in a Mason jar. Leave two inches of headspace at the top to allow for expansion. Thaw in the fridge for 48 hours before use.

Staying Safe On the Go and at Home

Farmer’s Markets are often held in vast parks, fairgrounds, or even downtown areas where the streets are shut down just to allow community members to stroll through the market. Expect to be on your feet and jostling amongst crowds more often than you might be used to. Since many of the markets are held during the height of summer, you should also expect the heat and humidity that comes along with being outdoors. A medical alert necklace or bracelet can be your steady companion as you shop for the best produce. If you begin to feel faint or experience any other emergency, simply press the button on these senior life-saving alert systems to get the help you need fast. Some alerts for seniors even have built in GPS and fall detection for added protection.

When you get the produce home, your affordable emergency button alert comes in handy as most aciidents happen at home. Having a medical alert pendant within easy reach can mean the difference between a terribly frightening moment and the peace of mind that help will get there fast. Let Alert1 help you relax and enjoy the fruits of the Farmer’s Market!