For many, summer weekends mean days of briny sunning and swimming, lounging by pools and picnicking in parks. But here at Cooking Channel, one of our favorite summer pastimes is visiting local farmers markets and choosing amongst their bounty of fresh produce like kids in a candy store. Every trip offers the possibility of happening across a new vegetable variety or getting lost in conversation with passionate growers about their choices for cooking and consumption. (It’s kind of like a food lover’s summer camp.)
Whether you’re a weekly regular or have yet to explore what your neighboring markets have to offer, August is the perfect time for strolling amongst aisles of produce-filled bins. For a too-short period of time, beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini are at their finest.
To celebrate this cornucopia of the summer harvest, the USDA has declared this week National Farmers Market Week, encouraging the 6,000-plus nationwide markets to host events and offer specials. (Not sure where to find the closest markets? This handy search engine enables you to locate them by zip code.) Check individual market websites to see what specials might be offered through this Thursday.
Upon returning home with overflowing bags and bundles, you might find yourself at a loss for creative ways to make use of your spoils — which is where we come in, of course.
If your trouble’s too many tomatoes, try this grown up grilled cheese recipe. Once baked and packed in oil, the tomatoes are good for up to two weeks.
One of our favorite new twists on summer squash is smoky, spicy veggie quesadillas with homemade salsa.
And after shucking endless ears of corn, put some towards these incredibly sweet waffles, topped with bursting blueberry syrup.
How do you plan to use your summer produce? Have any fruits or veggies you don’t know what to do with? Tell us in the comments and we’ll help!