In the last few years, farmers markets have been sprouting up all over the nation. These markets are highly beneficial to customers and have taken the food world by storm. For military families that have the opportunity to live across the globe, they also provide an outlet to experience the your current installation’s freshest fruits, vegetables and baked specialties.
Here are five reasons why they need to be on your weekend agenda.
- They provide direct contact between the consumer and the producer, so you are always educated and aware of how your vegetables/fruits are grown and your meat is produced.
- They help you live a healthier lifestyle due to providing access to fresh food.
- Farmers markets carry produce and fruit that is at the peak of its season in your region. You can find everything from strawberries and zucchini to new types of food that you may not have heard of.
- Farmers love to hand out tips and tricks on how to prepare the foods that they are selling. You may walk out of there with a few new recipes.
- It’s great for children! Farmers markets are very kid friendly. Let your children pick out what they want to eat, have them talk with the producers about their product, and then have them help prepare it at home.
The following recipes will make a wonderful compliment to any famers market find. Try them out with your next farmers market purchase.
Baked Zucchini Fries
1 medium zucchini, sliced into sticks
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp. of flour
1 cup Panko crumbs
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a tin foil over a baking sheet and sprayed with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, beat eggs with fork until well mixed.
3. In another bowl, place the flour.
4. In a third bowl, place your bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Mix till well combined.
5. Dip the zucchini sticks into the flour, then eggs, and then into the bread crumbs, making sure to coat all the sides well. Place on prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside is golden brown and crispy.
7. Serve with Ranch dressing, marinara sauce, or just plain.
Vegetable and Feta Cheese Pizza
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup small broccoli florets
3/4 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup each thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers
Half of a red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. of minced garlic
1 tbsp. pesto sauce
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 (12 inch) unbaked pizza crust, store bought or homemade
3 tbsp. shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, and onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are tender.
3. Remove vegetables from heat and stir in the pesto sauce.
4. Spread pizza sauce evenly over unbaked pizza crust. Sprinkle with Parmesan/Romano cheese. Top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle feta and mozzarella cheese over top.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and cheese is completely melted.
24 Hour Salad
6 cups of shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed and drained
1/2 cup of sliced olives
A little over 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of bacon bits
1. In a large bowl or casserole dish, layer lettuce, celery, bell pepper, onions, peas, olives, mayonnaise, sugar, and cheese. Sprinkle bacon bits over the salad.
2. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
Yogurt Brunch Parfaits
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, or other fruit
2 cups yogurt of any kind
1/2 cup granola
1. Place the apricot preserves in a microwave on high for 30 seconds or until it starts to bubble up.
2. Mix the warm preserves with the sliced strawberries/fruit and stir until well combined.
3. Layer a glass bowl or parfait cup, starting with half of the strawberries, then half the yogurt, then half the granola.
4. Keep layering until you run out of ingredients.
5. Top with an extra spoonful of granola and serve immediately.