Cooking with the Seasons: Easy and Joyful at the Farmers’ Market

Make a practice of cooking with the seasons. When you shop at your farmers’ market, you won’t have to do any research first to see what’s in season. If your local farmers have it, it is in season! You’ll be getting great prices and peak taste. You’ll also be saving energy by reducing or eliminating the refrigeration, freezing, and transportation needed to get food from the farm to your plate.

Do it for the sheer pleasure of it all, too. Last Saturday was cool and breezy for a southern July day in North Carolina. At the market, farmers offered heaping tables of ripe tomatoes, juicy blackberries, peaches, and green beans. Families came with babies in strollers and younger children proudly carrying a single flower. I couldn’t stop smiling as I gathered the makings for gazpacho, cobbler, and pesto with green beans. I admired the dogs of some visitors and swapped cooking tips or simple pleasantries with others.

I used to dread grocery shopping. Now I look forward to the lively crowd at the market each Saturday morning. Yes, it takes more time than getting produce while I’m already at the grocery store for other items. But it changes the entire nature of the event from a chore to a field trip or a visit with friends. Wouldn’t you rather have 30 delightful minutes instead of 10 efficient but mundane ones? I would!

Stock up on local, organic basil, garlic, and pecans and try the recipe for Southern Summer Pesto below. Use organic olive oil, of course, and look for the new organic parmesan that’s now appearing in some stores.

Do you shop at a farmers’ market? Do you find a good selection of organic produce there? What do you find at the market that seems particular to your region? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. And come back tomorrow for a recipe and tips about keeping it organic while on the road.

Today’s recipe  Summer Southern Pesto

Published on: July 22, 2009
About the Author
Photo of Linda Watson
Linda Watson started the Cook for Good project after becoming obsessed with the national Food Stamp Challenge: living on a dollar a meal per person for a week. Her three-week experiment became a lifestyle, the website, the book Wildly Affordable Organic, and now the Wildly Good Cook videos and teachers' training program. She teaches cooking classes and gives talks on thrift, sustainability, and food justice across the country. You can get more from Linda on Facebook..
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