Way back in the year 1780, Ontario hosted its first farmer’s market. Setting up shop in Kingston, this market paved the way for other markets of its kind until the 1970s, when malls and other corporate shopping centers took center stage.
However, recent years have seen an increase in interest in farmer’s markets in Ontario, and many can be found throughout the province. One of the things you can count on with farmer’s markets is being able to find fresh, high-quality produce. But what do you do with all that fresh produce?
Here are 5 ideas on what to do with deliciously fresh produce once you have snagged it from your local market.
1. Snap-Bean Corn Salad
This recipe is perfect for Ontario’s warm summer months and makes great use of corn and two different types of beans. After trimming green beans and wax beans, simply combine them with fresh corn kernels and dill fronds. This little salad body can then be tossed with your choice of dressing or vinaigrette.
2. Cabbage and Sweet Potato Slaw
Tired of traditional cole slaw? Never fear – after perusing your local market for sweet potatoes and a solid head of cabbage, this is an easy solution.
One of the best things about this dish (and many other dishes that rely heavily on fresh produce) is that there is no cooking involved. Simply grate a raw sweet potato, shred some cabbage, then mix these items with a little oil, lime juice, sesame seeds, and salt. If you want, you can also throw in some Serrano or jalapeno peppers for an extra kick.
3. Zucchini Carpaccio
What is Carpaccio, you ask? It is a dish traditionally made of raw fish or meat, thinly sliced or pounded thin. Not appetizing? Well, there’s a produce heavy alternative that’s pretty simple to whip up.
Slice up some fresh zucchini (very thin) and avocado. Place these slices on a plate or serving dish, then drizzle them with a liberal mixture of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. To finish it all off, top the whole thing with some chopped almonds or pine nuts.
4. Quinoa Salad
Maybe quinoa is not considered produce. But this dish consists mainly of produce, and good quinoa can be found at local markets. This is a nice combination of produce with a versatile grain.
Cook up some quinoa with a little salt, then spread it over a baking sheet and stick it in the refrigerator.
Mix up some lemon juice, cumin seeds, olive oil, salt, and pepper (this is your dressing).
Now here comes the produce – add the following to your dressing: black beans, bell peppers, cilantro and cocktail onions. Now add the chilled quinoa to this mixture, and you have your quinoa salad.
5. Sweet-and-Sour Green Beans
Green beans are in abundance in Ontario’s markets, and this is a simple variation on a traditional side. After steaming your green beans, add some cooked shallots, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.