Adventures in eating local

I recently read a story about the increase in the number of farmers markets in the U.S., and Worthington is certainly part of that trend. How lucky are we to have not just one farmers market —but three!?

For those who haven’t taken advantage, there are two markets on Saturday —one in the Northland Mall parking lot and one in the Schwalbach Ace parking lot —and a third market on Tuesday afternoon/evening in downtown Worthington.

While I have, on occasion, shopped at the weekend events, for the most part I purchase my locally-grown veggies and fruits at the Tuesday event. For me, it’s just a matter of convenience, as the market is just a few blocks from my office, and on weekends we are often out of town or have other things on the agenda.

I recently gave the producers at the Tuesday market —many also frequent one of the Saturday markets, too —an assignment. I asked them to bring me a recipe or two that features the produce that they sell.

One of the market regulars, Barb Pohlman, must have anticipated the question, because she immediately pulled this recipe out of her binder. Thanks to a fabulous greenhouse setup, Barb prides herself on bringing some of the earliest tomatoes to the market, so of course the recipe features those fabulous fruits.

The Best Tomato Soup

Wash and cut up 14 quarts of ripe tomatoes. Chop 7 medium onions, 1 stalk celery, 14 sprigs parsley and 3 bay leaves. Add to tomatoes and cook until celery is tender. Run tomato mixture through a blender and then through a sieve.

Combine 14 tablespoons flour with 14 tablespoons butter to form a smooth paste, thinned with a little of the tomato mixture. Add to the hot soup and bring to a boil, stirring to prevent burning. Add 4 tablespoons salt, 8 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons pepper.

Fill jars with soup and process in a water bath for 15 minutes. (You can skip the last statement if you are freezing the soup; instead cool the mixture and fill freezer containers.)

The rest of the producers are a little slower in getting their recipes to me, but I’m hoping they will come through with the goods soon! I know it’s their busy season.

Last Tuesday, I stopped by the stand operated by Paul and Leona Marco of Bigelow (check out the unique eggplant they grew in the photo above  right!). Leona admitted she hadn’t had time to fulfill the recipe request, but she mentioned this easy method of preparing vegetables on the grill: Cut up or slice potatoes, zucchini, carrots or whatever other vegetables you have on hand and place on some foil (coated with cooking spray, of course, to avoid sticking). Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with bottled ranch dressing. Close up foil and grill until veggies are tender.

Since sweet corn season is in full swing, here’s a kernel recipe that’s been floating around my desk for a few weeks.

Corn Bread Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup fresh corn kernels, ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, one 15-ounce can cream-style corn, 1 cup sour cream, one 8-ounce package corn muffin mix, 6 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, ¼ teaspoon pepper and a pinch of salt.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

That recipe assignment isn’t limited to just the farmers market sellers. What’s your favorite way of cooking up the season’s bounty? Now is the time to share! Email me at brickers@dglobe.com; send to Lagniappe, Daily Globe, Box 639, Worthington 56187; or check out this blog online, http://lagniappe.areavoices.com.

 

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