This time of year, farmer’s markets are ubiquitous. Nonetheless, what a treat it is to be able to do most of your grocery shopping from small, friendly vendors whose beautiful wares were plucked from the stem, or pulled from the ground (or even the oven) that morning. In my little town, from June through October we have two weekly markets — Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings — and I try never to miss them.
In addition to fruit and vegetables, we have vendors who sell freshly baked breads and pies, fire-roasted salsas, organic meats, delicately-flavored artisanal pastas and beautiful goat’s milk cheese and yogurt. With such a wide range of vendors and products available literally steps from my house, it’s easy to put together a whole meal, making both Wednesday and Saturday nights the perfect nights to host a dinner party. It’s so easy, in fact, that over the years a loose tradition has emerged. During the summer months, Wednesday night is known as “Farmstand Dinner” night at my house. Between family, extended family, friends and neighbors, it’s not uncommon to find 10 or 15 people gathered in my kitchen. The menu is prepared on the fly, depending on what looked good at the market that afternoon.
Last night’s menu:
We started with a black bean dip purchased from Cinco d Mayo Fire-Roasted Salsas. I topped it with Fontina cheese and baked it until it was warm and the cheese was bubbling. Add a touch of smokey chipotle salsa (also from Cinco de Mayo), a few sun-kissed cherry tomatoes, some diced avocado, and a glass of crisp white wine for the perfect aperitivo!
Nothing is easier than grilling salmon. During the last few minutes on the grill I slathered it equal parts chipotle salsa and peach preserves. A few slices of fresh peach and a couple of generous handfuls of green and purple basil from my garden made a lovely (and tasty) garnish.
These green beans were so tender and fresh they didn’t need much–just a little drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
The baby arugula from Goose Creek Gardens was perfect for this summer salad of thinly sliced red onion, oil-cured olives, and cubed watermelon. Â At the last minute I topped it with shards of pecorino Romano and dressed it with olive oil and lemon.
The fresh berries from Sand Hill Farm topped with honey vanilla goat’s milk yogurt from Paradise Gardens and Farms were gobbled up before we could even snap a photo!
Meet our tiniest Wednesday night regular!
What’s your latest locally-inspired masterpiece? I’d love to hear about it!