|It was back to the Farmers Market this weekend. I missed a couple weeks while on holiday, so it was nice to see familiar, friendly faces behind counters and stalls. The summer growing season marches on as evidenced by what crops are popping up. Berries of all kinds are in full, if short, production. The cherries are small, but remarkably sweet and the blueberries just won't end. I've had them in yoghurt, on ice cream, and in my oatmeal. They are a summer favorite.|
Cooking greens are all over the map: broccoli rabe, chard, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, and turnip greens. Salad greens are keeping pace too. The arugula is amazing right now. Young, crisp and peppery. It can transform a tuna or chicken salad sandwich from pedestrian to inspired. For my lunch, I toasted a baguette, smeared on some soft brie, then stacked on some baby arugula and was whisked back to a summer backpacking trip through France. I wish I were that kid all over again.
You should see the early root crops: beets, beets, and more beets. Japanese turnips, baby carrots, beautiful French Breakfast radishes. There's a shopping list of produce I could run down, but you get the idea.
|The New York Botanical Garden Farmers Market is a small operation; just a handful of stalls. Most of the vendors talk readily about their farms and what practices they use in the fields and for harvesting. You can learn a lot just by showing an interest in their products. I gravitate most frequently to Migliorelli Farm. Theirs is a very conscientious venture up the Hudson Valley in Tivoli, NY, Duchess County. Migliorelli used to have fields right here in the Bronx, but moved up river when development squeezed out the last farms in New York City. The Migliorelli family is working diligently to transform their farm into a ecologically conscious, sustainable farming enterprise. Rotating production field crops, ending reliance on pesticides and reducing their carbon footprint are just some of the efforts the family is voluntarily taking on. What this means for the consumer is safer, fresher produce.|
|This season, I've made my own pledge to plan meals that focus on what's in season. Produce is getting the spotlight. I'm simplifying techniques and keeping the burners off as often as possible. Tonight it was a summer salad with grilled chicken breasts:|
|I marinated my chicken for a couple of hours in a mix of freshly chopped garlic, soy sauce, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I didn't add any salt; there was plenty in the soy. It only took about 10 minutes to get them grilled.|
|For a vinaigrette, I mixed olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in 3:1 ratio, added a dollop of Dijon mustard, more freshly chopped garlic, basil, oregano, and plenty of salt & pepper. Perfection and better in every way to any store-bought salad dressing.|
|Here was a meal to suit the season. Light, refreshing, satisfying. All the produce had been in the ground less than 24 hours earlier. Even the chicken came from hormone-free birds. One didn't leave the table feeling stuffed or uncomfortable, so I gave myself a good pat on the back after drying the dishes. Pops O'Food would have broke into song, "Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble..."|
|Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food|