Salad. Some folks love it. Others do not. Some folks eat it because they feel like it’s the right thing to do! I am in between. I enjoy salad. But I have come to the conclusion that I must be a “picky” salad eater. I enjoy vegetables. I cannot think of a vegetable that I do not like. There are a few that I do not “love” and many times it all depends on how they are prepared.
I have never been crazy about the green lettuce salad with a variety of raw veggies. Again, I will eat one, but it’s not my favorite. A few weeks ago I was preparing a salad for our supper and I started thinking about the ingredients I had on hand (lettuces, peas, beets, radishes, onions, herbs, carrots, little tomatoes, strawberries and more) and how I was going to use them to make this salad. Now this is not a new concept for me. But for some reason that evening it struck me in a different way. The majority of the food in our home is local and the produce is always seasonal. So for any given meal, I figure it out based on what came from the market that week or what I have canned or preserved.
Some folks might think I am a bit “geeky” or over zealous about being such a “locavore” or using only what is in season. But it’s how I was raised and it really doesn’t feel that trendy or unusual. When I was a kid, we really ate what was in the garden or the neighbors garden or what the farmer down the road had (like the eggs or meat). We fished. My dad hunted. We canned and preserved foods and it all seemed normal. Of course there were things we bought from the grocery store as well. As I grew older, I had a garden as well.
So when I think of lettuce and when I think of salad, I think of those times growing up. There was a head of iceberg lettuce in the fridge for sandwiches and an occassional wedge salad. But the garden lettuce was used a lot for wilted lettuce salad. Rarely was it used for a chilled veggie, lettuce salad. The wilted lettuce salad had a hot bacon, onion and egg dressing and it was delicious. Our salads consisted of slaws when cabbage was available then on to cucumber and onion salad, sliced or stuffed fresh garden tomatoes, cold green beans with oil and vinegar, potato salad and for the hot vegetable we always had sweet corn! Sometimes supper was all vegetables.
I recently started thinking about the traditional, all American, all season, green lettuce salad with the tomato and cucumber. I wondered about the history of that salad and how it is still on the menu’s and minds of so many people. And when a person is asked to bring a salad to an event or when one thinks about purchasing salad ingredients, those are the standards by which we have become addicted to.
Lettuce season has now ended. There are some folks that have special growing and production areas and can continue to grow sprouts, microgreens and lettuces all year round. And I am grateful. But for all practical purposes the season of greens has now passed. Tomato, pepper, corn, beans, melon, berries, herbs and cucumber season has just started. So now our salads should start changing to fit the season. If you really enjoy the microgreens, sprouts, edible flowers and baby lettuces (which I do) how can you enhance and add the seasonal summer produce to elevate the flavor, color, texture and nutrition?
May I encourage you to “re-think” your salad? I had a customer come up to me on a recent market day and ask me what vendors he could go to in order to find the ingredients for a really great salad. Haaa! It struck me as this has been on my mind for weeks. I thought for a second about what to say. I told him that lettuce season was just about over, but we have these microgreens over here, these edible flowers, there may still be some kale or chard. I pointed out the vendors, gave him a lot of options and even encouraged him to consider something outside the traditional lettuce salad. He made a comment and suggested that he might have to go to the local grocery store to get what he wanted. At least I tried.
This evening my salad included a few small, first of the season peaches, a variety of tomatoes, some chopped cucumber, a little sliced onion and chopped basil leaves.
Cut the peaches and tomatoes over the salad bowl to catch the juices, add a bit of finely chopped burpless cucumber, thinly sliced young onion, add the basil, a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of balsamic vinegar. Pick up some of the Baetje Feta or Ludwig Creamery Kickapoo cheese to add to the mix.
Other great salad additions would be some Missouri pecans from Three Girls and a Tractor. Enjoy a variety of berries, peaches and melon from many of our vendors. Make your salad dressing with some local honey from SeedGeeks or Weidner Farms. A poached egg or finely grated, hard boiled egg is always a bonus.
Stay tuned for more seasonal, summer recipe ideas and inspiration for sides and salads.
Let’s Welcome the MAPLEWOOD RICHMOND HEIGHTS MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO THE MARKET THIS WEEK.
THEY WILL BE WITH US FOR THE NEXT SIX WEEKS. WE ARE CALLING IT “UBER LOCAL” PRODUCE, SEEDS AND PLANTS.
Very local produce, as well as a lot of flowers, and some seeds saved by the 8th grade students.
Proceeds do go to support the Seed to Table program at Maplewood Richmond Heights high school and middle school. This year, they used last years proceeds to install a harvest station with a sink in the garden to clean their produce more effectively before they brought it into the cafeteria.
We will continue to host the University of Missouri Extension Nutrition department. They will be visiting with us throughout the market season sharing information about local, seasonal, food, healthy and nutritious food options, recipes and more. Visit the site Family Nutrition Education Program
We will try to keep you updated and posted on who will be at the market from week to week. Visit the website or Facebook page for updates.
Alpacas of Troy– alpaca meat, yarn and alpaca fiber items
Baetje Cheese- Award Winning, Artisan Goat Cheese
Bee Simple– a unique variety of locally grown sprouts and microgreens
Biver Farms- a variety of seasonal, local, certified organic produce
Buila Family Farm– a variety of local, seasonal produce
Cham Bakery– locally made pita breads, traditional Mid Eastern dips and pastries
Eckenfels Family Farm– locally raised, pastured beef and pork cuts, farm fresh eggs
El Chico Bakery- fruit filled emapanadas and cookies
Farrar Out Farm– locally raised, pastured beef, pork and lamb cuts, organically raised produce
Flower Hill and Rosy Buck Farms– salad mix, sprouts, pea shoots, radishes, eggs, bedding plants, edible flowers, bouquets
Grand Army Farm– a variety of locally, pastured eggs, produce and Angora fiber crafts
iScream– a unique variety of locally made ice cream treats including Cake-Kebabs, Drumsticks (vegan and gluten free options), Cookie and Brownie Sammiches
Ivan– a variety of local, seasonal produce
Ludwig Farms Creamery– a variety of cows milk cheese
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School and High School- a variety locally grown produce (from the school garden)
Ozark Forest Mushrooms– a variety of unique locally cultivated mushrooms, dried mushrooms and other related delicies
Red Guitar– a variety of locally crafted, artisan breads
Riverbend Roots Farm-a variety of local, seasonal produce
Seed Geeks– a large variety of non GMO seeds, handmade soaps and a unique variety of local, raw honey “goodness”
Three Girls and a Tractor– a variety of local, seasonal produce including sweet corn, tomatoes as well as sweet Missouri pecans
Tamale Man– a variety of fresh, handmade tamales with unique sauces
Three Rivers Community Farm– a variety of local, seasonal produce
Urban Sprouts- a variety of locally grown, seasonal produce
Weidner Farms– locally produced, raw honey
Non Food Vendors this week include
ReNu (locally created, handmade, bodycare products)
Don’t forget to thank Schlafly Bottleworks for sharing the space and supporting the market, local small businesses and family farms. Enjoy a complimentary Schlafly beer sample and live music each week.
Please visit the website, check out the Facebook, Twitter andInstagram market pages. Please “Like”, “Share”, “Retweet” and whatever else you do to make the market shine on social media
Thank you for your support.
See you at the Market,
René Sackett, Market Manager