‘Tis the season for shopping at the farmers market. Here in the Denver area, you can find a variety of farmers markets with locally grown, farm-fresh produce, delicious pastries, and other prepared foods. Each Denver farmers market is a festive, weekly street fair (many with live entertainment and family-friendly activities). I look forward to our local farmers market every spring, and this year in particular, the produce is abundant.
Connecting With Your Local Farmers
When it comes to building strong community connections, one of the ways you can do that is with your local farmers. If you’ve ever wondered where your food comes from (beyond your Instacart order), you’re half-way there. However, most of us do our grocery shopping and don’t think twice about where our food comes from. But it all originates somewhere. Blueberries from the Pacific Northwest, bananas from India, coffee from Latin America, etc. And for the most part, consuming food that is grown all over the world is a privilege. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive byproducts of our globalizing world. Food has never been more widely accessible.
That said, global options come with a cost. As technology advances and demand increases, we are seeing a rise in GMOs, pesticides, soil erosion, and more. More than ever, it’s important to get curious about where your food comes from and how it’s grown. After all, to be a conscious consumer is to be a steward of the environment.
understanding Where Your Food Comes From
Ultimately, choosing local means connecting with the people who grow the ingredients in your shopping cart. And knowing your farmer is all about building relationships. From a social wellness perspective, this is key. After all, research shows that strong social ties are linked to a longer, healthier life. These community ties also have other added benefits: a robust economy and overall wellbeing of its members.
Knowing where your food comes from bridges the line between farm and table. Having this connection not only encourages a healthy relationship with food, but it also fosters informed decision-making. In other words, you can make more informed decisions to maximize quality and freshness. When you know your farmer (or know where your food is grown), it’s an opportunity to support your immediate community. All around, it’s a win-win.
Farmers Market Breakfast skillet
For weekend breakfast or brunch, skillets are easy, delicious, and feed a crowd. As often as possible, we opt for organic veggies and pasture-raised eggs. You can read about how important it is to buy organic, pasture-raised eggs here. Other than that, any leafy herbs will do, along with whatever seasonings you have on hand. From garlic to za’atar, you can’t go wrong. From start to finish, this recipe takes less than 20 minutes. If you pre-chop your produce, this recipe comes together in no time.
storing your produce
Speaking of here, here are a few tips and tricks from The Kitchn to improve the longevity of your farmers market fruits and veggies:
Store your fruits and veggies separately. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables; i.e. apples and pears.
For veggies: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
For fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas, in particular, ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
Farmers Market Breakfast Skillet
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 4 pasture-raised eggs
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- cilantro and green onion (for garnish)
- sea salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
- Add washed and chopped cauliflower to a food processor. Process until the cauliflower is bite-sized (add in a few handfuls at a time).
- Wash and chop sweet potato into bite-sized pieces. Dice yellow onion.
- Add coconut oil to a pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet potato. Sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Add cauliflower to the pan. Sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently. Season veggies with nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.
- Make four "nests" for your eggs in the pan.
- Crack your eggs into the nests. Let them cook until the edges turn white. Place a lid or a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan. Cook the eggs to your desired firmness.
- Add chopped green onion and cilantro on top. Add more sea salt and pepper, if necessary.