It may still seem like the height of summer, but I’ve started to see the signs of fall appearing at the farmers’ market. This is the bitter-sweet time of year when just about EVERYTHING is available, including apples. And with more than 2000 varieties of apples being grown in the United States, the farmers’ market is probably one of the best places to buy them, as you are going to see a wonderful variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and best of all, flavors!
You are here
Farm Fresh Now Recipes
We created the Farm Fresh Now! series of vegetable profiles (with recipes), plus a local foods infographic showing what’s in season when, in order to spread the word about all the great produce grown by Illinois farmers. The project was supported by an Illinois Specialty Crop Block Grant through the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Dress it up! Arugula, a spicy green-leafy herb can not only be used as the base of your salad, but can also be blended up to make the dressing or a pesto. It is also a wonderful pizza topping (add it after the pizza is cooked)--and don’t forget the flowers, you can eat those too, and they are a beautiful addition to your salad. Like a lot of greens, you get a lot of nutrition packed into those leaves, and they are available almost year-round, even in places like Illinois that have harsh winters.
Asparagus is one of the first, and most delicious, signs of spring! The tender shoots, which emerge at the rate of up to an inch per hour, from a perennial root system, is considered a delicacy. Asparagus can be eaten raw as a sweet, crunchy snack, or can be cooked and added to all sorts of spring dishes like pizza, tarts, and is wonderful with eggs and salmon.
Ahhh, basil! Even the word carries a whiff of its invigorating scent.
But it's the aromatic leaves themselves that contain dozens of volatile essential oils. Their relative concentration is the difference between “regular” Genovese basil, Thai basil, Lemon basil, Holy Basil, Cinnamon Basil, African Basil and all the other basils you’ll find your local farmer growing.
There are a few rules to remember when buying and using basil.
Around the beginning of August, there is a literal red-shift at farmers markets, as brightly colored tomatoes, apples, and beets roll in. The deeply colored fruits and vegetables are beautiful to behold and delicious to eat . . . but that’s not all!
Broccoli. James Broccoli.
Well, not quite. But it was a certain Italian American, Albert Broccoli, born into a family that worked in the vegetable business in Queens, who went on to produce all of the Bond films made during his life, and his heirs continue the legacy today.
This beautiful green bunch of stalks was once used as a bouquet of flowers! Nowadays celery is more often eaten as a versatile crunchy snack--with peanut butter, a sprinkle of salt, or as an addition to your crudite platter. The subtle flavor is also an essential in Thanksgiving dishes, and I personally love to make a creamy celery soup. So check your farmers' markets, as it should be making an appearance this fall.