A Lucky Find

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I love farmers’ markets. There’s just something about heading out early on a Saturday (ok, midmorning on a Saturday) to walk around and look at all of the produce and products available in the different stalls. I think the trip is really half the fun!

There are many reasons to support your local farmers’ market. For one thing, just think of the convenience – it’s nearby, and you have experts on hand to help you with any questions you might have. After all, who could possibly tell you more about available produce than the very people who grow it? The stalls are run by individual farmers or farming families, and they are all happy to help you select items, tell you how to prepare fruits and veggies that you may be unfamiliar with, or suggest food pairings.

Take this rope of hot peppers, for instance. It caught my eye at the farmers market with the gorgeous red color and shiny skins of the dried peppers. Just looking at it lying on a table, I didn’t really know what to do with it, but fortunately there was a farmer on hand to help me out! She showed me that there is loop at one end so that you can hang the peppers up in your kitchen, then you just pull the peppers off from the bottom as you need them. Not only do the peppers look beautiful hanging in a garland in your kitchen, but she said they also bring good luck to the kitchen where they hang.

So far, these peppers have been great in tomato sauce for pasta and pizza and for flavoring beans. I can’t wait to see what other uses I can come up with for them!

Pretty, delicious, and lucky? This peppers were a deal that I couldn’t refuse!

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Peach and Blue Cheese Salad

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The best salad in the world? Well, it’s up there.

This salad features grilled (yes, grilled!) peaches from the farmers’ market on a bed of lettuce fresh from the garden. The peaches are peeled, cut in half and pitted, with a little olive oil drizzled on them. When they are almost done, add blue cheese to the hollows for the last couple of minutes so that it will melt. Put them on top of a simple salad of lettuce and a little vinegar, then add pecans and chives, and drizzle honey over everything.

It’s a very unique side that set off our steak quite fabulously. Very fresh and summery tasting!

Speaking of summer, today was the first day of fresh corn of the year! It came from the farmers’ market, since ours is far from ready. Cut it off the cob and cook it in a non-stick skillet with a little butter for a simple but delicious side.

ImageWhen corn is fresh it really makes all the difference! Of course this is true for any produce – thank goodness for gardens and farmers’ markets! Check for local markets in your area. You won’t be sorry!