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Farmers market finds

couple standing together in front of produce stand with a basket full of produce

Nothing says summer like a trip to your local farmers market. The sights, sounds and smells are enough to make anyone feel like eating their veggies and other good-for-you foods. Most farmers markets offer a variety of staples as well as a few exotic “local” finds. To help you make the most of farmers market fare, here are a few ideas:

Spice up summer squash
Zucchini, patty pan squash, yellow squash...there are so many varieties of squash at the typical farmers market that you are bound to find one you love. When you do, try fixing them this way:  Sauté 1/4 or 1/8-inch pieces over high heat in olive oil until tender. Add some garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant and then add other goodies such as fresh tomatoes, basil, mushrooms and onions.

Tomato heaven
Bright red and luscious, the stacks of tomatoes you see at farmers markets are like a welcoming committee. Scoop them up by the bushel to make salads, sauces, salsas and canned tomatoes. Of course, you can also enjoy in a sandwich or on a Margherita pizza.

Eggstra special eggs
Farmers market eggs are exceptionally fresh, and you can taste it! Poach a couple of eggs to add to a salad with frisee, crispy bacon and your favorite vinaigrette. You can also hard boil them and enjoy them deviled or simply hardboiled as a delicious summer barbeque side dish.

Much ado about melons
Locally grown varieties of melons make their supermarket counterparts pale in comparison. Huge, juicy and bursting with flavor, they make the perfect warm weather snack or side dish. You can also wrap honeydew or cantaloupe melon slices in prosciutto and drizzle them with a balsamic reduction for a sophisticated appetizer.

Glorious green beans
Green beans sound so plain—but the refreshing snap and flavor of local market beans is anything but ordinary. Of course, you don’t have to stick to just green beans. If your market has purple, yellow or other colors, grab them up. Steam or simmer your beans of choice and serve them as a side with grilled meats or meatless dishes. Any leftovers can be chilled and added to a salad or pasta dish. They also pair wonderfully with veggie dip.

These are just a few ideas for spicing up your farmers market food finds. No doubt you’ll also discover other produce and treats that will round out your meals. So, this summer, enjoy the delicious taste of farm-to-table dining in the comfort of your own home.

Source: chicagotribune.com

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