If you’ve ever been to a farmers market, you’ve certainly heard some variation on the following dialogue:
Customer to vendor: “That’s pretty/unusual/compellingly bizarre-looking. What is it?”
Vendor: “That’s a Hakurei turnip/black Spanish radish/Hubbard squash. It’s delicious!”
Customer: “What do you do with it?”
This is where the vendor recites an accessible, simple recipe. Then, usually, another person in line offers a cooking tip or two. And then a more aggressively friendly shopper—like me—follows the customer around the market, reciting recipe after recipe until the poor person (who was probably only mildly curious anyway) silently vows to never go to another farmers market again.
I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. I’m very enthusiastic about produce. And it just so happens that your local farmers market is a great place to discover new foods and to get some ideas (solicited or otherwise) on how to prepare them.
However, I’m told that it’s best not to irritate people if one can avoid it. So, instead of reciting recipes at random people, I’m trying another tack. In addition to the seasonal and Southern recipes that already appear on this site, once a month (or so) I’ll post a recipe that comes from an Atlanta-area farmers market. It may be from a chef’s demonstration, from a vendor, or from some other connection—but it will definitely feature an ingredient that’s made or grown locally, and it will definitely be delicious.
And I won’t have to chase you around a farmers market to share it with you.
Our first Market Special, Arugula Bread Salad, comes from Peachtree Road Farmers Market by way of the Slow Food Convivium at Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta. At last week’s Field of Greens festival, farmers and culinary students paired up to offer “meals from the market.” This meal featured arugula from Heirloom Gardens in Cumming.
Images: Aria chef Gerry Klaskala at Morningside Farmers Market (photo by T. Brodnax); No. 246 chef Drew Belline at Peachtree Road Farmers Market (photo courtesy Peachtree Road Farmers Market)