I am so excited about this week’s #SundaySupper theme, Farmer’s Market and Local Foods. I’ve talked before about how critical access to fresh, affordable produce is for families who are struggling with poverty and hunger issues. In my neighborhood, most families shop at corner stores because they’re the most convenient option. Many families don’t have cars so they shop wherever they can walk. Have you shopped at a corner store lately? You usually won’t find anything green there, unless you count a pack of Double Mint Gum.
Thankfully, the community gardening movement and the rise of farmer’s markets that accept EBT cards have helped fill the gap and give families access to healthful, locally grown produce. In my zip code alone, there are at least a dozen community gardens. And, even more exciting, our neighborhood just opened a Cooperative Market where you can buy canned goods, dairy, breads, meats and fresh produce sourced from local farmers and entrepreneurs.
To me, shopping locally is a win for everyone. It supports small farmers. It boosts the local economy, encourages new business, and provides much-needed job opportunities. It has a lighter impact on the planet. You can find fun, unusual ingredients that often don’t make it to commercial grocery store shelves (pluot anyone?)
And, perhaps the best benefit of all, it tastes so darn good. You’re just not going to find a tomato that tastes better than the one that’s grown a few miles (or steps) from your house.
One of the reasons I am so thankful to live in Columbus is because we have such a vibrant local food scene. Many restaurants take care to source their ingredients from local farmers. Farmer’s markets have popped up in nearly every neighborhood in the city, and the shop local movement has taken on a life of its own with organizations like The Small Business Beanstalk leading the way.
Of course, shopping locally has it’s challenges in a city like Columbus. During the winter the selection is limited, and even though I love a good sweet potato, even I tire of them after a few months.
But the summer? The summer is a smorgasbord. Everywhere you look there are bright, juicy berries, zucchini the size of baseball bats, and corn on the cob just screaming for a pat of butter.
Summer is, in my opinion, the easiest season to cook. Dishes are simpler and cleaner, the flavors bright and unmuted by extras. Often a great dinner hinges on a single perfectly ripe vegetable. Seasonings get dialed back and are replaced with squeezes of lemon juice and sprinklings of fresh herb. Plates are bursting with colors–reds, oranges, greens, purples. No garnish is needed to make these dishes pop.
This Summer Linguine with Grilled Vegetables is one of those summer dishes I just can’t get enough of. It’s light and fresh, dressed simply with lemon juice, good quality olive oil, and a dusting of Parmesan cheese. The flavor stars here are the vegetables–charred on the edges, grilled just long enough to coax out their sweet undertones. Each bite has a slightly different feel in your mouth– a burst of tomato juice, the slight crunch of a red pepper, a silky noodle. You’ll want to slurp this pasta up, then go back for more.
The other great thing about this? It is endlessly adaptable. Add whatever tidbits are growing in your garden, experiment with different herbs. Use bowties or angel hair pasta. Go to the farmer’s market and pick the most beautiful vegetables you can find. Don’t forget to grab a school-bus yellow lemon and a block of Parmesan. That’s all you’ll need for one heck of a summer dinner.
Check out all the other ways you can make the most out of your local farmer’s market finds!
Garlic Scape Dip from The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen
Onion Bacon Jam with Bread n’ Brie from Gotta Get Baked
Kale & Pepita Pesto from girlichef
Garden Quinoa Salad from The Urban Mrs
Grilled Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad from Pescetarian Journal
Watermelon-Feta Salad with Pomegranate Drizzle from The Weekend Gourmet
Soups & Sides
Watermelon Gazpacho from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Classic Gazpacho from Curious Cuisiniere
Pea Soup from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Pickled Garlic Scapes from kimchi MOM
Cheesy Zucchini Hodge Podge from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Succotash from Magnolia Days
3 Easy Japanese Spinach Recipes from NinjaBaking.com
Michigan-Made Meal with Seasoned Potato Chips from Foxes Love Lemons
Summer Veggie Pizza from Country Girl In The Village
Tomato Pie from The Hand That Rocks The Ladle
Kitchen Sink Vegetable Curry from What Smells So Good?
Margherita Pizza from Growing Up Gabel
Cheesy Zucchini Fritters from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Three Sauces with Summer Herbs to Transform a Simple Grilled Dinner from Cook the Story
Vegetable Quesadillas from Cookin’ Mimi
Mushroom Scallion Risotto from Vintage Kitchen Notes
Lemony Summer Linguine with Grilled Vegetables from Neighborfood
Pasta alla Norma Nuda from Juanita’s Cocina
Arugula Pizza from Family Foodie
Peach Cobbler from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Coconut Cherry Bars from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Lightened Up Peach and Blueberry Cobbler from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Cherry Brandy Cobbler from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Peach Maple Ice Cream from Pies and Plots
Cherry Clafoutis from Food Lust People Love
Roasted Figs with Caramel, Honey Ice Cream and Aged Balsamic from Crazy Foodie Stunts
Peach Ice Cream Paletas from Basic N Delicious
Gluten Free Sour Cherry Cake from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter today! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.