“Farming is a profession of hope” — Brian Brett
Preparing a delicious life begins with feeding our bodies, minds and souls with pure and pristine ingredients. Motivating ourselves to eat locally, organically, and naturally ensures a far more healthful existence. How blessed we are that local farmers continue to coax life sustaining crops from the soil and to share their labors at farmers’ markets.
Farmers’ markets are the best source for eating with the seasons. The exquisite flavor of spring ingredients such as freshly picked herbs, tangy, tart rhubarb, and sweet strawberries is unsurpassed. Asparagus is also a superb spring crop. I prefer finding fatter spears that can be enjoyed raw, steamed, grilled or oven roasted. To truly appreciate the distinctively delicate flavor profile of spring asparagus, peel down thicker spears with a vegetable peeler, arrange the slender threads on a platter, bathe them with extra virgin olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and crown with freshly shaved parmesan cheese. A scattering of toasted pine nuts would be welcome as well.
Visiting farmers’ markets is so much fun. Not only a visual feast of colors, textures and fragrance, the market is a wonderful source of entertainment as well. I recently visited the Ellington, Conn. farmers’ market on a Saturday morning. The sun was so warming and bright and live music filled the air. Gorgeous vegetable and herb plants were in plentiful supply. Lo and behold- tubs of fat, purple- green asparagus were waiting for me! The softest alpaca sweaters and absolutely beautiful hand tatted earrings, bracelets and necklaces were on display. A sheep shearing event was a feature of the day, and all the children in attendance were delighted by the lambs and sheep. Organic beef and chicken were for sale. Hot sauce, honey and beautiful breads rounded out the array of offerings. The feeling of community demonstrated how all facets of preparing a delicious life can be found at farmers’ markets.
To visit one of these fun and festive events in Connecticut, check out farmersmarkettrail.com or ctvisit.com.
Farmers Market New Potato and Asparagus Salad
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound of new potatoes (look for golf ball size potatoes)
1 bunch of fresh spring asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
½ cup of toasted walnuts or almonds (optional)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Slice new potatoes in half or quarter if you could only find larger potatoes. Place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down a bit and boil gently until potatoes are nearly soft. Add asparagus to the pot. Cook for just a few more minutes, until potatoes are fork tender, but asparagus are crisp tender. Prepare a bowl filled with ice and cold water. Remove asparagus from pot with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Drain potatoes separately. Place potatoes in a bowl. Drain asparagus and add to the bowl with potatoes. In a jar shake together olive oil, vinegar, mustard and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Shake well and pour over asparagus and potatoes. Add the onion, parsley and dill and toss gently to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener, and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.