The farmers market is a place where great ideas meet great fresh food. You can make one trip to the farmers market and gather enough ingredients to make a full five-course meal. Allow me to get your creative juices flowing as well as your taste buds jumping as we walk through a sample of what you might find to create your very own farmers market feast.
You want to give your guests something to snack on while they are waiting to see what’s coming next. Look for a loaf of homemade french bread, some fresh dill, goat cheese or other soft cheese, and red bell peppers for roasting. Cut the bread into thin slices and toast them over the grill while you are roasting your red peppers.
Combine the dill and goat cheese, spread on the toasted bread and top with thin slices of the roasted pepper. The idea is to look around the farmers market for inspiration as well as ingredients for the first course as well as for the main event.
Your salad options are as long and varied as the rows upon rows of displays at the market. Look for complimentary produce like fresh fruit or fresh baby bitter greens and berries.
For the soup course you can’t do much better than starting with potatoes. One soup that should come to mind is potato leek soup. Other vegetables that work well for pureed soups are squash, pumpkin, rutabaga, parsnips, and turnips. Apple juice and cider make excellent soup bases as well.
A main course can feature something as simple as a sandwich. Pile seasonal cheeses on top of homemade multi-grain bread with herbed butter, then topped with a mix of ingredients for crunch. This can include sliced apples, greens, or a thin slice of sweet onion, or everything. Something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich becomes inspired when you layer market fresh specialty cheeses with fresh herbs, greens, vegetables, and fruit, and then grill between slices of hearty homemade bread.
You might also find fresh and smoked meats at your market. Many farmers raise meat for the table as well as produce. During the fall, the farmers market is also a great place to find a variety of fresh beans. You will notice a big difference when you cook with fresh beans as opposed to dried beans. The fresh beans are easier to cook and are very tender.
Nothing says farmers market dessert like fresh peach cobbler topped off with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. Of course, apples are a big hit at many farmers markets during the fall season. Apple pie or Apple crisp are the obvious desserts, but don’t forget to think about applesauce, apple dumplings, or apple turnovers. You can also go for a more simple desert like sliced apples, pears, or other fruit combined with a variety of cheeses.