Some people leap out of bed on summer weekends to beat the crowds to yard sales. Others are inspired to go running or take a bike ride before it gets too hot. The only thing that rouses me from my stupor on weekend mornings is the lure of the fresh fare at our local farmer’s market.
On summer mornings by 7:50 I’ve got my flip flops on, teeth brushed, and my bed head concealed under a hat so I can be among the first to pick out the juiciest peaches, plumpest blueberries, and sweetest tomatoes from my favorite vendors at the Kensington or Bethesda, Maryland farmer’s markets.
No store-bought produce can compete with fruit and vegetables that have been picked that morning or the night before. For me, there’s also something wonderful about being surrounded by other early risers who plan their weekend mornings (and weekly menus) around fresh summer produce. We chat with the farmers, exchange recipes, and pat slobbering dogs while we drool over the week’s selections.
I find a way to entice one of my kids to join me on my farmer’s market outing just about every weekend. Celia is often lured by the pints of creamy chocolate milk from a local dairy (we’re convinced that it just tastes better out of those old-fashioned glass bottles). Solomon’s partial to the flaky chocolate croissants sold at the French bakery stand.
What amazes me about today’s farmer’s markets is the wide variety of food we can buy there, including cheeses, breads, honey, olive oil, eggs, meats, locally roasted coffee beans, and even oddities like pickles, peanuts, and falafel. I also love the communal atmosphere at these markets. We invariably see friends and neighbors gathering their weekly bounty while we all get serenaded by local musicians strumming their guitars or banjos, hoping we’ll drop a dollar in the gaping cases at their feet.
Not only do I love the fresh flavors that emerge from our weekly outing, but I feel good spending our food dollars to support local farmers and food producers.
To find a farmer’s market, farm stand and or CSA near you, visit LocalHarvest.com.
Once the plump red tomatoes make their first appearance at our markets, I love to make this light tomato and basil quiche, which is ideal for brunch, an elegant lunch, or a light family dinner.
Recipe: Fresh Tomato and Basil Quiche
This light tomato and basil quiche is ideal for brunch, an elegant lunch or a light family dinner.
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust, completely thawed if frozen
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup plain nonfat or low fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (or use shredded Parmesan or mozzarella)
- 2 - 3 tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, watery seeds brushed out (about 2 cups total)
- 2 Tbsp. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Press the crust into a tart or pie pan and trim the excess crust from the edges. Bake it for 10-15 minutes until it is very lightly browned. Remove it from the oven.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, 1/4 cup of basil, salt, pepper and Swiss cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Top it evenly with the tomatoes and remaining basil. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top (optional) and bake it for 40-45 minutes or until it is firm and lightly browned. Allow the quiche to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges to serve.
- You can freeze quiche for up to 2 months, if desired, wrapped tightly (allow it to cool fully before freezing it). To reheat it, put the cooked and frozen quiche in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until it is heated through.
- What are your family’s favorite farmer’s market finds?