Our local farmer’s market opened this weekend. I’ve been counting down for weeks. There is little I love more than going to the farmer’s market. Walking the aisles, soaking in the morning sun, talking with vendors as they share the fruits of their labors, purchasing food that is local and fresh.
Last year, as I was strolling the line of vendors, empty bag swinging on my arm, I stopped to admire the flowers at one particular stand. (I should stop here and add that I am a huge sucker for fresh flowers. There is rarely a week I do not come home from the market with a small, colorful bouquet to grace my table.) As I was talking to the vendor she brought to my attention the other items they were selling that day. Looking down the table I saw large baskets, full of beautiful, leafy greens. Arugula, spinach, bok choy, mixed greens, it seemed every color of the green spectrum was covered. I purchased a large bag of mixed salad greens and headed on my way.
Later that day, I pulled out the bag of greens to make a salad for Bret and I to have for lunch. I filled large salad bowls for each of us using the mixed greens, a few spring onions that I had also gotten at the market, some toasted, slivered almonds and slices of avocado. I drizzled a bit of our favorite vinaigrette on top and we sat down to eat.
Now, I know this may sound a bit dramatic, but taking the first bite of that salad changed the way I ate for the rest of the summer. Seriously. The taste was amazing. I had never had such flavorful, light, beautiful greens before. From that Saturday, for the rest of the summer, I stopped at that vendor and got the same bag of mixed greens. We had every kind of salad you can imagine and never tired of eating them. I actually started to crave the leafy mix on days when I went without.
Yesterday, opening Sunday for the farmer’s market, I was back in line at my favorite vendor, getting a bag of their lovely greens. After a winter of store bought salad mixes, that first bite of freshness could not have been more welcome. Bring on salad season!
Out of all the salads we made last summer this was one of our favorites. Very simple, very green. Make sure you toast the almonds, it brings out a wonderful flavor.
Mixed Greens Salad
A few handfuls of mixed salad greens
3-4 spring onions, chopped
handful of slivered almonds, toasted
Vinaigrette of your choice
In a large bowl place 2-3 handfuls of mixed greens. Add chopped onions. In a dry skillet, over medium heat toast slivered almonds for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. You’ll know they are done when they turn golden brown. Slice avocado and add to salad, top with toasted almonds. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with vinaigrette of your choice.
For the local folks reading here is a list, compiled by the University of Nebraska, listing local CSAs and Farmer’s Markets. For everyone else, go to www.localharvest.org to look for markets in your area.
Make sure you stop out to support and buy local. It is worth every penny!