Farmers' Market Field Trip Article -
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Farmers' Market Field Trip

They grow it. We eat it. Let's track down the ingredients for a fresh seasonal cook-off.

These recipes are a nice starting point, but be open to inspiration from all the field-fresh goodness you discover. If you find something you don't know how to prepare, ask the grower for ideas.

California Grilled Veggie Sandwich: Hearty focaccia is slathered with creamy aioli and layered with sweet and smoky grilled vegetables for big, bright bites of flavor.

Garlic Asparagus with Lime: A splash of lime lends zesty freshness to this early spring favorite.

Summer Berry Compote: Fresh, juicy berries are sprinkled with fennel for a simply sensational dessert.

Rico's Passionate Pink Honey Lemonade: Cool off with an old-fashioned strawberry lemonade.

Farm Fresh Party Tips

Round up your most adventurous friends and turn them loose on your local farmers' market. The challenge? Create a seasonal menu using only ingredients found on your field trip. Up the ante by choosing only what's produced within 100 miles of your front door.

  • Divide into teams of three or four. Each team must come up with an appetizer, main dish, and dessert to share with the group. If fresh juices are in season, add a cocktail/mocktail category to the mix. Set a spending limit for each team and tell them to bring cash in small bills.
  • Early arrivals get the pick of the crop, so plan your trip accordingly. Depending on the size of the market, set a reasonable time limit for strolling and sampling and shopping. Then head back home and let the cooking commence! 
  • Ask your friends to bring their own kitchen hardware if you don’t have enough to go around. Be sure to have plenty of sharp knives, cutting boards, bowls, pots and pans, and so on. Got a grill? Get it ready.

    More Fresh Tips

    • Have everyone bring big, sturdy tote bags for shopping.
    • Driving to the market? Throw a cooler in the car with plenty of ice to keep your bounty fresh.
    • Supply basics like salt, pepper, and olive oil from your pantry. If the market offers meat and fish, decide as a group whether or not they're on the menu.
    • As the host, you can either join a team or be responsible for fueling the competition with nibbles and drinks.
    • Before you chow down, let the teams talk about their dishes. Where were those perfect peaches picked? Is there a cool backstory about the grower/baker/cheese maker?
    • The rewards are right there on your plates, but go ahead and hand out blue ribbons for most colorful dish, most inventive use of an ingredient, weirdest-looking produce, and so on.

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