The popular nursery rhyme would have me finish that with “… to buy a fat pig”. What fits better for me is to end it with “… to lighten me up”. I’m referring to the local Farmer’s Market, which has become my Saturday morning adventure almost every week this summer. At first it was tough for me to make the transition from being a CSA member to a Farmer’s Market shopper. As part of the CSA community, I had a hand in growing and harvesting the produce alongside my fellow members, and came home every week with a huge basket of my share of that week’s yield. When I decided to switch to farmer’s marketing this summer, it took me a while to find the markets and vendors I felt most comfortable with in terms of their growing methods and quality of their food. Yet, each week has been a new adventure and I have found that I absolutely get LIT UP when I go to the Farmer’s Market.
When I’m at the market I lose all sense of time and become totally present to whatever I’m involved in – selecting produce, talking with the grower, running into people I know, or just basking in the summer bounty of it all. I feel lighter, less stressed, more vibrant. Then there’s the health benefits to buying and eating so much fresh, local produce – my body composition is tightening up and lightening up – and I love that! And for me, this year, it has lightened my load in terms of the work required to grow the food, even though I miss that part. I had other things I had to focus on this summer and yet I can still enjoy local, fresh produce and take the time to prepare it.
Today I came home with curly kale, rainbow chard, broccoli, parsley, zucchini, green and wax beans, yellow pepper, watermelon, and plums. While we were there, we enjoyed our apple cider slushies, which hit the spot on a sunny and steaming hot September morning in Michigan. Tomorrow I’ll be making up a big steaming pot of fresh vegetable soup to freeze for those not-so-far-in-the-future cold Michigan days. I’ll add some of my own home-grown tomatoes, garlic and herbs to what I picked up at the market today – here’s my favorite recipe (thanks to the Bizer/Larson family).
Veggie bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon Brand – no msg)
Garlic – entire head
1 bay leaf
2 medium potatoes
3 small zucchini
28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or use fresh peeled tomatoes)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried basil
pinch of oregano and parsley
1/2 cup cooked peas or kidney beans (I often substitute green beans for these)
handful of rotini (I don’t add this either, because I’m gluten free)
salt & pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese
Make 3.5 quarts of stock by adding 14 cups water and the corresponding amount of bouillon (see jar for amounts) in a large stock pot. Peel an entire head of garlic and add the whole cloves to the stock, along with one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Discard bay leaf and remove garlic cloves (side note – I crush this garlic, add it to softened butter, spread this on fresh Italian bread and put under broiler for a few minutes for the best garlic bread ever!).
Cut potatoes, onions, carrots and zucchini into bite size pieces. Saute these in a large kettle in olive oil until onion is soft, then add stock and herbs. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, peas/beans. Simmer another 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook until “al dente”. Season with salt and pepper, serve with parmesan cheese.
(Double this recipe for a big pot with leftovers. I often let it cool and then freeze it in small containers for those days when I need a super nutritious pick-me-up and/or warm-me-up.)
Now this is my kind of “Marketing”! How about you – what is your favorite way to market?
sharing my light,