A Week of Market Meals

The Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market sends a handy e-mail before every market; the “What’s Fresh and Fun” e-mail lists every vendor and what they’re bringing with them on Saturday.  I use it to plan our meals during the week, and even though spring is just getting started, farmers have plenty of fresh, local food to share, from fresh produce to preserved fruit, locally raised meat and poultry and local grains.

Here’s a menu based on all of the vendors who will be at the market this week:

Make shakshuka for breakfast with Above Normal Eggs – the recipe calls for a touch of honey, which you can get from C & B Apiaries. Use that honey for another great breakfast – on toast with avocado with bread from Central Illinois Bakehouse.

Make a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich using gouda from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery. Compliment that sandwich with pickles from Trimble’s Produce Farm.

Dinner can be grilled pork from Huelskoetter Pork with arugula salad from PrairiErth Farm.  Make a sandwich with bacon (here are a bunch of ideas) from Destiny Meats . Check out the beef from Bauer Crops and Cattle and serve a roast with local potatoes, carrots, and a fresh salad – all from Saturday’s market.

I LOVE the dried herbs and spices from Granni’s Acres – I’ve been sprinkling their dehydrated veggies in everything. (Try adding their dried radish powder or jalapeño powder to soups or to mayo for sandwiches.)

Roast chicken from Dearing Country Farms. Use the leftover chicken to make sandwiches, soup, or salad.

Use herbs from Ackerman Certified Organic farm in everything.

See you at the Market!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Springtime at the Market

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Although the calendar says “late April,” winter has been reluctant to leave us this year. But at least the farmer’s market is here to reassure us that spring really is on the way.

How do you know spring has sprung? Because, in addition to our reliable root staples, at you’ll find a variety of spring greens at the market to help reclaim your sanity after our loooong winter.

Spring veggies also inspire lighter meals with easy preparation. Some spring greens are delicate and tender, and require a light touch with dressing – perhaps just a touch of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice.  Greens like arugula are spicy or even bitter, and are great paired with a contrasting flavor – a sweet dressing or fruit, or something rich and robust, such as bacon or chicken thighs.

The recipes below combine spring greens with other market staples that you should be able to find this week.

Breakfast

Make-ahead, freezer-friendly spinach feta breakfast wrap (lots of ways to switch up the ingredients here).

Use fresh mint from the market in a pineapple, arugula and Macadamia nut smoothie. (You can sub almonds – buy them in bulk at Common Ground Grocery.)

Salad for breakfast? Absolutely! This savory “breakfast buddha bowl” features springtime asparagus, greens, avocado, and a fresh egg.

Skipping the greens? Thomas Keller’s BLT fried egg-and-cheese sandwich is probably just as good without the tomato (patience, readers! The tomatoes are coming). You could always top with some locally-made salsa.

Oatmeal is always a winner, especially with local maple syrup (or “sirup“!).

How about savory oatmeal with greens and yogurt? (Here’s an overnight oats version.)

You could definitely top breakfast fried rice with chopped greens (look for Illinois-grown Cahokia rice at Green Top Grocery).

WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES. (Or waffles, which freeze and reheat well in the toaster.) You’ll find locally grown wheat at the market from Ackerman Farms and Funk’s Grove pancake mix at Green Top Grocery.

And sausage, spinach, and apple breakfast sandwiches are a nice twist on the usual egg-based breakfast sandwich.

Lunch

Arugula and carrot salad with walnuts and cheese (you could also add another protein, like chick peas or chicken).

Green gazpacho is portable and healthy.

Just in case you want something without greens: roasted carrot soup (so many variations!).

Avocado, arugula and walnut sandwiches would be great on a hearty local bread (add ham or bacon if you’re a carnivore).

Dinner

Days are getting warmer, but nights are still chilly. I like the idea of this white bean and vegetable bowls with “frizzled” eggs (topped with fresh greens, of course!). That’s something that would come together quickly on a weeknight after work.

It’s time to fire up the grill again. Make grilled chicken with arugula and chick peas (think of the leftovers!).

Use this green harissa as a marinade, a sauce, or a condiment.

Root veggies shine in this potato and arugula salad (Smitten Kitchen adds lentils, swaps greens for parsley).

Is anything more welcome than spring herbs? Check out these options for herb-based sauces that you can put on virtually anything.

And remember, everyone – this is just the beginning! See you at the indoor market this weekend, and at the OPENING DAY of the 2018 outdoor market on Saturday, May 5 at the square in downtown Bloomington!