By Hope Williams, RD, CD, CDE, CLS, Health and Wellness Specialist
Ministry Medical Group Rhinelander
Memorial Day weekend unofficially kicks off summer, camping, cookouts and sunny days
The next thing that says summer to me is the opening of the farmers market. The sights, the sounds: I love getting up on a Saturday morning, making sure my reusable bags are in my car, grabbing a coffee on the way and taking in the sights and sounds. I love to see what is fresh and in season. I walk the perimeter of the market to see what all of the vendors have to offer and then I go back through and purchase my goodies. During farmers market season my weekly menu revolves around what I was able to get at the farmers market. The Hodag Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – noon at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander. Several other area communities also have terrific farmers markets.
Farmers market season means local, fresh, seasonal produce.
Locally grown foods are picked at their prime, and sometimes you can be eating food that was freshly picked that morning for dinner. Now that is fresh! Buying local helps to support local business and keeping business local is good for the entire community.
A trip to the farmers market is also a time to be out in the community, meet your neighbors and catch up with friends. If your child is a picky eater, taking them to a farmers market is a great way to introduce new foods. Farmers markets are a chance to try a fruit or vegetable that you may have not seen or tasted before as most of the vendors will have samples.
If you have children, perhaps they can play in the park while you shop. Or you could increase your physical activity by walking around the park before or after you shop.
Some of the first foods you can expect to see at the farmers market are: asparagus, green onions, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, and lettuce.
In the past the Hodag Farmers Market has had baked goods, meat, cheeses, soaps and crafts for sale also.
Here is a recipe to use up some of that asparagus in a healthy way.
1 ½ pounds asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons capers, coarsely chopped
¼ cup small basil leaves
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Place asparagus in a shallow dish. Add 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt, tossing well to coat. Place asparagus on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning after 2 minutes.
3. Combine remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, vinegar, mustard, pepper, garlic; stir with a whisk. Slowly pour remaining 2 tablespoons oil into vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in capers. Arrange asparagus on a serving platter; drizzle with vinaigrette, and sprinkle with basil.
Check out the local farmers markets and farm stands and support your local farmer. Buy fresh, buy local.