Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spoiled in Summer (and All Year Long)

It took a dinner last week for me to realize how truly spoiled I am.

We roasted potatoes in herbs and a bit of olive oil. We sauteed fresh green beans with toasted almonds and heirloom tomatoes. We grilled up some steaks. And, we bought pretty much all of it at a farmer's market.

Stephen and I are big fans of these markets. Every summer these markets will crop up around the Fresno area with the best tasting selection of produce this side of, well...I guess the rest of the year.

Fresno has farmer's markets year round. Which means, you might be as spoiled as I am.

For the few months where fruits and veggies like blueberries, tomatoes and summer squash are in season, you can enjoy them knowing they didn't travel very far to get to you. At other times of the year, equally in-season, super-healthy and ultra-flavorful food, grown down the street from where you live, awaits consumption by YOU, you lucky duck.

We live in such an agriculturally-rich area. I'm as guilty as anyone else who often doesn't realize that what is grown locally, in season, is way better than what I can pick up at the super market, year-round. And, living a block away from the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market means that I get all the benefits of the farmer's market year-round by looking out my window. Plus, they take credit cards.

The more time Stephen and I spend cooking for ourselves, the more we realize that we miss certain foods when they are not readily available (or affordable!) This circumstance must be that much more difficult for those who don't have access to fresh fruits and veggies grown in the valley, or must wait for shipments to arrive to their local megamart. We're finding that a lot of food is worth the wait.

A favorite farmer's market of ours is the Old Town Clovis Farmer's Market, which runs every Friday (5-ish to 9-ish) until September 10. You can make a day of going to any of the farmer's markets in town, since many offer entertainment and ready-made meals, too. Make sure to take a visit if you haven't before (or in a long time).

It's one thing to want to try new recipes involving produce any time of the year, but it's another thing completely to take advantage of the summer fruits and veggies while they're around. I want to know: What are your favorite recipes using summer produce? Do you have a go-to seasonal dish that is worth using the best that summer farmer's markets have to offer? Please share!

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