Farmers’ Markets

One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday morning is to go down to the local Farmers’ Market.  It’s a hive of activity and with the spring plants and vegetables, it gets more and more colourful each week.  The food is fresh and it’s a great chance to meet some of the folks that grow and make our food.

At this time of year, you can expect to find asparagus, radishes, lettuce, spinach and green onions as well as rhubarb and soon there’ll be local strawberries.  Some markets have fresh cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes all year long.  In addition, there’s often fresh artisan breads, eggs, cheese, canola and flax oil, dried grains and pulses, jams, jellies preserves and meat products.

If you’re looking for a Farmers’ Market in your area, here are some websites you might find helpful:

In Alberta:  http://www.albertamarkets.com

In Saskatchewan:  http://www.saskfarmersmarket.com

In Manitoba:  http://fmam.ca

If you found spinach at the market, or in your garden, here’s a yummy salad to try.

Spinach Salad with Grilled and Fresh Fruit (Page 164 in  Pure Prairie Eating Plan)

Serves 4 – Serving Size:  Approximately 1 1/2 cups (375 mL)

Ingredients:

canola oil cooking spray

1/4 cup (60 mL) raspberry blush vinegar

1 Tbsp ( 15 mL) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ( 15 mL) canola oil

1-2 tsp (5-10 mL) grated fresh ginger

2 slices fresh pineapple, about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick, or 2 medium peaches, pitted and halved

4 cups (1 L) loosely packed spinach

1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly sliced onion

1 cup (250 mL) quartered strawberries

Directions:

1.  Coat grill or grill pan with canola oil cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

2.  Combine vinegar, sugar, canola oil, and ginger in a small jar, secure lid tightly, and shake vigorously until completely blended. Place pineapple slices or peach halves on plate; brush 1 Tbsp (15 mL) vinegar mixture evenly over both sides.

3.  Place pineapple or peaches on grill rack and grill for 4 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Turn and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until heated through.  Cut fruit into bite sized pieces.

4.  Place spinach and onion on a serving platter.  Top with grilled fruit, sprinkle with strawberries evenly on top, and drizzle remaining dressing over all.

About this recipe:  The vitamin C in strawberries and pineapple helps us absorb the iron in spinach!  This salad is ideal for summer barbecues, but can be enjoyed any time of year.  Make it a meal by adding feta cheese or grilled chicken.

Per serving:  124 kcal, 4 g fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 1 g protein.

 Quick Tip:  Be creative on the grill.  Try nectarines, pears, or even orange slices.  Brushing the fruits with a small amount of canola oil will prevent them from sticking to the grill.

Chef’s Tip:  No raspberry blush vinegar?  Use regular raspberry, white balsamic or rice vinegar instead.