“Playing With Your Food” is a weekly post highlighting a few of the many great options for the range of produce and artisan food at the Salem Farmers’ Market. While we can never predict exactly what our farms will be able to bring each week, we will do our best to reflect some of the fun items we’ve found recently and what’s likely to be available for the upcoming week. Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas to play with, and inspire you to try some new things at the market.
This is a big transitional time of year at the market. It’s time to say goodbye to many of our early summer favorites – strawberries and rhubarb are either gone or starting to slow down, snag them immediately if you find them! – but raspberries and other summer berries are showing up and we’re starting to hear rumors of sweet corn. That said, many of our market staples are in full swing! Greens of all sorts, radishes, peas, beets, and herbs are busting out all over the place. Here are a few things we’ve been playing with:
When I was first introduced to garlic scapes a few years back, I could swear that I’d never seen or heard of them before. Now they seem to be everywhere! Milder than garlic but with a satisfying crunch, these fun, curly, green shoots can be used in plenty of recipes to substitute garlic. They’re fantastic in stirfry, pesto, sauteed with pasta, you name it. We’re particularly interested to try these Garlic Scape Pancakes – if you’ve made them, let us know what you think!
Radishes will be with us for a long time throughout the market, but the lighter, delicate radishes seem to make their appearance earlier in the season (like the “french breakfast” radishes that we snagged from Grant Family Farm this week). We’ll have lots more to say about radishes as the summer progresses, but right now we’re happy to simply sautee them with butter, salt, and pepper.
Last time we talked about pea tendrils, but now we’ve gotten to the part we were really waiting for – the peas themselves. For me, there’s nothing as sweet or satisfying as those big, fat peas eaten raw right out of the shells, but there’s so many different things you can do with them – from pea puree (to complement your fresh fish from Rowand’s) to a pea-ricotta torte for brunch (especially if you’ve grabbed some fresh ricotta from Wolf Meadow Farm)!
Whether from the greenhouse or outdoors, or your own herb garden if you have one, we’re seeing lettuce-size bunches of herbs all around and can’t seem to go through them fast enough. We’ve been drying them, throwing them in any pasta or sauce-based dish we can, adding them to marinades, making simple syrups, and there still seems to be more! What’s your favorite way to use up an abundance of herbs?
Last week at home, we had grand schemes for each of these ingredients – and then decided we’d really rather combine them all together sauteed in butter, salt, and pepper for a fantastic early summer side dish. Happy market hunting!