Farm to Table and seasonal eating is pretty trendy, right now. More and more people are wanting to get closer to their food, and are beginning to understand the value of local, seasonal eating. Many consumers are now frequenting farmer’s markets in increasing numbers to enjoy fresh, locally grown food because it is, well, fresh. Plus, it usually tastes better and has a higher nutritional value than food that has been imported, traveled long distances, or has had significant time pass between harvest and consumption.
As a small vendor of local, fresh, organic produce, I am happy to see the “locavore” (someone who exclusively or primarily eats foods from their local or regional foodshed or a determined radius from their home – About.com) movement growing, and not just because I have a financial stake in it (ha! If you could only see my ledgers :O), but because I truly believe that eating fresh, local, and seasonal food is good for the body and soul.
The people that I sell to believe in this primary principle, as well. Most of my customers come to me because they want to consume fresh, organic, high-quality produce. Many rely on me to provide them with a weekly source of fresh produce (through my weekly vegetable subscription) because they want help getting more healthy foods into their diets. I love that they are open to trying out new varieties that they may have never seen before.
Farm to Table, seasonal eating, while great in theory, oftentimes proves difficult in practice, however. “What do I do with this UFO looking thingy?” a customer asks about a Bennings Green Tint Scallop Squash. ”What else can I d0 with this zucchini?” another muses. “I’m a horrible cook”, another quips, or “I just don’t have time to figure out what to do with all of this produce”, someone else admits.
It’s a problem.
I know, and what often ends up happening is that all of that wonderful, fresh, organic, seasonal produce that came straight from the farm and had such great potential doesn’t ever make it to the table, and instead ends up in the compost (or worse, the trash). I’m not blamin’ anyone, here. Believe me, I’m guilty of it, too – I’m a farmer, really, and not a cook, so I struggle with what to do with, yet, another zucchini just as much as the next guy.
I’m so thankful, though, that we live in the age of the internet, where recipes that make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients are only a click – or two, or three – away! (I say, “a click – or two, or three – away” because often times recipes that say they make use of seasonal ingredients really don’t. Call me a purist, but for me, having to go to the grocery store to build a recipe that makes use of only one or two seasonal items, but many other out-of-season items doesn’t count as “Farm to Table”. When I say Farm to Table, I’m talking about recipes that make use of -mainly – seasonal ingredients, plus a few other, staple, ingredients that I already have on hand in my pantry.) Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox, now.
Anyway, here are a few, true, Farm to Table recipe favorites of mine that I thought I’d share with you. They are quick and easy to assemble, make use of the star of the summer garden- zucchini – in fresh and interesting ways, and taste pretty darn fabulous, too, I might add.
- Get breakfast started with these yummy Zucchini Bread Pancakes from Naturally Ella. I really enjoy these pancakes. A great way to start the day with veggies, other than a smoothie!
- For lunch, enjoy this light meal of Penne with Tomato, Basil, Zucchini, and Garlic from Barilla pasta. I love that it also makes use of fresh, seasonal tomatoes, and basil. Whips up in a jiff, too!
- For dinner it’s back over to Naturally Ella for a Zucchini Paella. Disclaimer: I’m actually making this recipe, for the first time, as I write. It looks amazingly wonderful and filling, and can’t wait to see how it turns out!. (BTW, I’m making it with lentil beans, since that’s what I had on hand, in my pantry :)).
- And, to round it out, we’ll include a great dessert of Chocolate Zucchini Muffins or Bread from my own archives. These taste a lot like brownies, or so I’ve been told. Frost them, if you must, but they are wonderful bare bones, too!
Whether you’re a locavore, or not, these recipes are a great way to make use of the summer’s bounty. I hope you Pin, bookmark, print, or save them so that the next time you get a boatload of summer goodies you’ll know exactly what to do to bring them from the local farm right to your table!
Do you enjoy cooking with seasonal ingredients? Feel free to share your favorite seasonal recipe in the comments, or post over on my Fb page at /whitsacres.