I lose control at the farmers market on Sunday mornings. I swear the fresh, homegrown veggies whisper to me, as I walk between the rows of vendors, pleading for me to take them home.
I frequently over buy on Sunday mornings; I can’t help it. I have shopped at this farmers market for so many years that I know how the peppers, carrots, beans, and tomatoes taste compared to the supermarket varieties I get the rest of the year.
I know the farmers who produce the sweetest pea pods, the ones who experiment with new species, and the ones who prefer old-fashioned methods of bug control rather than spraying everything with pesticides. I also know that come October my veggie options will be limited, for several dark, cold months, until the first tiny green shoots appear again in the spring. No wonder I buy too much on Sundays.
The problem with over buying at the farmers market is that I often have a counter full of beautiful produce that I have to consciously try not to waste and that means eating it for three meals a day, all week long. After many years of overbuying, I have developed a few strategies to make sure we eat everything while it’s fresh.
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For summer afternoon happy hours I bring roasted potatoes and homemade ranch dip instead of chips. For breakfast, I toss a handful of lettuce with a simple vinaigrette and toss a fried egg on top. For lunches, I eat from a huge batch of fresh veggies I make at the beginning of the week that marinate in a simple vinaigrette that is amped up a bit with fresh herbs.
The goal is to eat through all the fresh veggies before the following Sunday to make sure we don’t waste anything and so I can buy too much again.
Having a few really good homemade salad dressing recipes is the key to eating summer produce. There is a creamy ranch salad dressing in a little jug in the fridge at all times, I know how to simply drizzle olive oil and vinegar along with some salt and pepper on a plate of greens and I have a basic formula for how to make a vinaigrette that gets used as is or enhanced with herbs, lemon, or shallots.
These simple techniques help keep the grocery store dressings full of gums and stabilizers out of my fridge and help us eat all those beautiful vegetables from the farmers market.