Hooray! The Rochester Downtown Farmers Market is back for the summer season! Every May-October I look forward to Saturday mornings – strolling around the vendors with a coffee in hand and picking out a haul of fresh, local foods. It’s my favorite way to spend a sunny morning.
With 50-70 vendors peddling their goods each week, the market is definitely not lacking when it comes to variety. At any given market you’ll be surprised at what you can find. From the traditional fruits, veggies, flowers, meats, and cheeses to the surprises like soup bones, lip balm, sheep skins, and lefse, you’ll never encounter the “same old, same old”. Adding to the variety are musicians, food stalls, and coffee carts. All of the vendors are located within a 50 miles radius. They’re friendly, eager to chat, and so knowledgable about all-things produce.
I have to go in with plan, otherwise my eyes are bigger than my fridge capacity and I lug home a small fortune worth of produce for my mini family of three. I stick with ingredients needed for the next week’s meal plans and then also grab one or two items with which I’m not all that familiar to try a few new recipes. Here are some ideas for what to do with this week’s basket:
What I Bought this Week: rhubarb, asparagus, herb plants, and ramps (wild leeks).
Asparagus: my favorite way to enjoy asparagus is simply roasted in tinfoil on the grill with olive oil, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a dash of lemon. This creamy asparagus + leek soup (double duty!) looks perfect for the rainy few days we have ahead, or asparagus pairs really well with eggs like mixed into an egg frittata.
Herb Plants (like rosemary, basil cilantro, dill, etc.): Now is the best time to buy these. They’re small and have a lot of growing left to do, so a little less expensive than if you buy them in a few weeks. Plus it’s kinda like an investment – buy now for herbs for the whole summer!
MY UNFAMILIAR ITEM: Ramps (they’re hot right now): a ramp is a wild onion mixed with the taste of garlic. you could easily replace either of those ingredients with ramps in your familiar recipes, but also this: spaghetti with ramps, creamy asparagus + leek soup (double duty!), or for Friday pizza night with this ramp green pesto pizza.
The Rochester Downtown Farmers Market is located at 4th St SE & 4th Ave SE and is open every Saturday, May-October, from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon. They strive to provide local access to quality farm products and strength the ties between family farms and the community.
Get down there next week and stay tuned for more ideas of what to do with your famers market goods!