Farmers Markets and Figs

Something I love about the farmers market is the opportunity to connect with your community, along with buying delicious, locally-grown food (obviously!). As a mother of littles, it can be so refreshing to just have an adult conversation with someone, and I’m finding a lot of it at the market!

I’ve felt challenged to cook more seasonally and purchase food locally. And when you start developing friendships with farmers at your local market, you can gain so much knowledge and such an appreciation for who they are and what they do. I’ve also been visiting our local library to borrow some of their recipe books on seasonal cooking, and I am just feeling so inspired and hopeful!

I often get frustrated when I am meal planning for each week because I just feel like I don’t know what to make! Always looking for new recipes, and a million of the same old trips to the grocery store where most people are in such a hurry and you can’t really ask the employees to help you with meal ideas (although maybe some of you have had some luck?). Aisles and aisles of food. Mostly packaged. And often containing ingredients that you cannot pronounce, and things that are SO bad for you! (Reading food labels is another thing that really got me thinking about buying locally, and often organically…I highly recommend doing it! For the health of you and your family!)

On the contrary, the farmers markets is nothing like the grocery store (at least in my experience). It is a place I honestly look forward to going to every week. And I can actually ask the farmers and vendors about their produce and products…and they’ll even offer advice on how to use/cook different fruits and veggies. You know you’ve found a good farmer when they’re excited about what they do.

Learning what’s in season, and how to cook seasonally, helps me feel a lot more hopeful about meal planning. It gives me some sort of framework to work with, you know? It sets helpful boundaries on what to plan, boundaries that include only that which is freshest, and best to eat right now! Best flavor, too. Along with that, it presents the necessary challenge to work with some items you’ve never tried before! Which has unfortunately become a scary thing (to try something unfamiliar) because we’ve become so accustomed to relying what we’re comfortable with, regardless of whether or not it’s actually in season, or local.

Enough of my ramblings… here are some resources I’ve found helpful, along with a recipe I tried for the first time tonight.

http://www.localharvest.org/   To help you find your closest farmers market, CSA, etc.

State Guides to Eating Locally  Here you can select your state and it will provide a list of seasonal fruits and veggies in your area.

Books:

Earth to table : seasonal recipes from an organic farm / Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann

The natural kitchen : your guide to the sustainable food revolution / Deborah Eden Tull.

And I HIGHLY recommend you rent Food Inc. from your local library! You can take a brief look at it here.

Figs and Parmesan on Naan

Butter, softened/spreadable

Naan

Cinnamon and Sugar

Figs, sliced in wedges

Parmesan, shaved in thin chunks

Balsamic Vinegar (optional, but recommended!)

Spread butter on naan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar along the outer edge of the naan. Lay parmesan shaving on top of the butter, to form an even layer. Or, add more if you’d like. Add your fig wedges on top of the parmesan layer. Bake at 350F for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or room temp, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar…..Mmmmm.

I think I might serve this as a snack/appetizer at my next gathering. I’ll probably cut the finished dish into individual slices and serve the balsamic vinegar on the side.

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