Can you believe it’s mid-July already? So many weeks of the market, it’s hard to keep track without having a calendar handy. So we’re switching to dates in the title instead of week numbers.
I visited the farmer’s market in the adorable town of Port Townsend, WA last weekend, and there were some noticeable differences in available produce: cooler-weather crops like fava beans and radishes (since it’s still in the 50s-70s there!), and a large variety of currants. Market day was a “hot” one, which meant upper 70s, possibly low 80s in the sun. Dry as can be, though, which was a nice contrast to our current weather of 90+ F and 90+ humidity! The currants were lovely, and I might have been tempted to grab some and make a quick pot of jam, except that I knew there were currants waiting in the Refuge Food Forest here in Normal!
Back in Bloomington-Normal, our extended heat through July-August means several things for your weekly local farm and garden haul:
- chickens may slow down or stop laying for a bit when it’s this hot, so you may have to ration those eggs!
- cilantro and basil in your gardens will likely bolt, sending out seed heads that you can save and replant, or let nature do its thing and replant them for you.
- lettuces are going to bolt as well; without a hoop house to keep the temperatures low, farmers can’t grow lettuce in this kind of heat. Give it some time, and you can replant in the fall.
- provided they get sufficient water, your tomatoes are going to be happy and ripe!
- chile peppers of all varieties are going to start coming with a fury! they love the heat, and give it right back to you in flavor 🙂
In addition to the Saturday morning market, you can also find local produce at Common Ground in downtown Bloomington, and Green Top Grocery just east of downtown on Washington Street. And just this week, Browns’ Produce opened their farmstand on Brown Street just off of West Market — be sure to stop by!
This Week’s Menu:
I’m feeling like salads day and night right now, and other things that are FAST and require little tending on the stove. Here are a few of my favorites:
Slightly Savory Granola – an unusual granola recipe from the NY Times, made with olive oil! It’s a tad addictive, especially with yogurt. I used to buy Traderspoint Creamery yogurt in Indianapolis, but haven’t found a new local favorite yet — recommendations always welcome!
Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza – From Smitten Kitchen, and a perfect way to use those ever-growing zucchini, and the amazing chevre from Prairie Fruits Farm
Beet Salad w/ Plums and Goat Cheese – From Bon Appetit. Peaches would be just as delicious, of course.
Summer Pasta with Olives, Roasted Peppers and Capers – Also from Bon Appetit. It’s a warm dish, but it honestly is just as good served cold as a pasta salad.
Eggy Polenta w/ Mushrooms – From The Kitchn, and a great way to incorporate local grain (corn — I know, not technically a grain) and mushrooms AND eggs! I’d be inclined to use those gorgeous duck eggs I’ve been seeing lately at the market… they’d be delicious!
Chicken Meatballs and Polenta – There are a number of different variations on this recipe; I like chicken instead of turkey, and kale makes a nice addition at the end to plate with the dish.
Spicy Coleslaw w/ Cumin-Lime Dressing – Bobby Flay’s NOT-creamy coleslaw is hot and delicious!
Cumin-Scented Black Rice and Quinoa – This recipe from Bon Appetit takes a little time to cook (the grains cook separately), but once made, it’s easy to reheat and enjoy through the week. You can add chunks of sweet potato, some greens and a little tahini dressing, and you’ve got a quick meal.
Is it gazpacho season yet? Are you drowning in tomatoes? If not yet, I’ll put this here for later. I generally make Mollie Katzen’s version, which is full of veg and herbs, but I’ve also posted the NY Times version above. Regardless of which recipe you use, make sure to let it rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving; the flavors take a little time to develop.