Monday, June 28, 2010

The Farmers' Market: A Foodie Field Trip

My goal for this week is to encourage people to visit local farms and farmers’ markets. I know farmers’ markets are pretty easy to find in the city, with rows and rows of fresh artisanal products to choose from. For some reason, they’re a little harder to locate out in the suburbs. I find this puzzling. Don’t I live closer to the farms than the city folks? I guess the country bumpkins are expected to drive right out to the farm’s front door. This isn’t terribly practical.

Northport Village does host a farmers’ market on Saturdays, so I took a field trip this weekend to scope out the scene. Although it was a small group of vendors, the produce was straight-from-the-ground fresh. In a perfect world, we’d skip the supermarket all together and buy meat from local butchers and veggies from local farms. But, our world is far from perfect and life is far too fast-paced to be spending all day food shopping. It was over 90 degrees in New York this weekend and the beach was calling me!

If you do have the time, I highly encourage going the extra mile on occasion to find local produce. Not only are you supporting the local farmers instead of giant supermarket chains, but you’re getting the best possible product. I picked up some carrots that were literally the tastiest carrots I’ve ever had. They actually tasted like carrots instead of some orange-colored carrot impersonators. The farmer said they were just harvested the day before. You can’t beat it.

If you don’t have access to local farm stands, have no fear. Maybe plant a little veggie or herb garden at home. I live in a one bedroom apartment with a tiny railing outside that gets sun. I squeezed a planter box on the ledge with some cilantro, basil, thyme and chives. It’s neat to be able to snip off a little sprig when you need it. You don’t have to buy a whole bunch of herbs at the supermarket to use 3 basil leaves.

After the market trip I needed to come up with dinner. The carrots were so sweet on their own; I didn’t want to mask the flavor. I just tossed them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Simple. While the carrots were cooking, I grilled up a MARINATED SKIRT STEAK.

I came up with this marinade from ingredients I already had in the house. Marinating meat is a great way to pack in a lot of flavor without adding too many additional calories. Be sure to cut skirt steak against the grain for tender slices. Since it’s a fairly fatty cut, serving this with the simple roasted carrots kept the meal light and summery. So, hit the farmers’ market, turn your grill on and cook up some local deliciousness!

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Skirt Steak on Foodista

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