Every weekend, my family goes to the local farmers market to stock up on fresh, organic ingredients, ogle foods we’ve never seen, and do fun crafts with the kids. Since grocery shopping is a weekly task, it’s great to make it fun and interactive for the whole family.

Here’s a pictorial diary of my family’s most recent farmers market adventure:

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The start of our day. We mean business! We come armed with our own cart!

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And of course, each week we bring our reusable bags!

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Here’s a great farmers market-inspired recipe for a casual summer brunch:

Margherita Omelet

(Makes 1 omelet)

Ingredients

2 free range eggs
2 tablespoons organic milk
Pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 roma tomato, chopped

For garnish

½ roma tomato, sliced
1 sprig basil

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper
Preheat an 8″ omelet pan over medium high heat and swirl olive oil in the pan
Pour in egg mixture, and swirl it in the pan
For a few seconds, gently stir the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, then swirl the eggs in the pan to make a nice round appearance
Reduce the heat to avoid any color or scorching
Continue cooking for about one minute – the eggs should be set on the bottom but slightly liquid on top
Flip the omelet and remove it from the heat
Sprinkle mozzarella in the center and top with chopped basil and tomatoes
Fold the omelet and plate it with tomato slices and basil for garnish

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Easy Mushroom Salad

Ingredients

1 pack or 8 ounces of fresh button or brown mushrooms
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (a couple ounces or so)
Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
Salt to taste

Instructions

Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth
Slice the mushrooms into thin slices and arrange in a shallow layer on a plate or platter
Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle on some salt, preferably sea salt, or truffle salt, my favorite!
Use more salt and oil than you think you need if you want it to taste like something you’ve had in Italy
Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel off curls of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the mushrooms
You’re done. Easy. Eat!

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Buying our organic tomatoes and strawberries. Kids love the Farmers Market, because they get samples of everything and get to try new things.

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I love smelling and collecting fresh herbs. For cooking, they beat the bottled, dried ones any day! Side note… I love this organically shaped agate ring I’m wearing in this pic. Agate an essential summer stone!

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We are a big berry family! We use them for everything! Fresh snacks, syrups, on ice cream, jams, and as a summer spritzer garnish. The possibilities are endless with this essential summer fruit! Here’s a delicious way to eat berries:

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Warm Mixed Berry Crumb Cake

Ingredients for Berry Filling

3 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (8 cups) – I used 2 pounds strawberries, 1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 1/2 tablespoons of water

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F
In a large bowl, toss the berries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch mixture and allow the berries to stand for 30 minutes, until the juices of the berries have been drawn out a bit
Pour the fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and set on a sturdy baking sheet to catch any overflowing cake batter or crumbles
Meanwhile make the crumble topping.

Ingredients for Crumb Topping

1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl
Using your fingers, break the butter and form the mixture into a coarse clumps or “crumbles”

Ingredients for Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt thoroughly in a medium bowl
In a bowl, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions
Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl
Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk
If you do not have buttermilk, you can use yogurt as a substitute!
Spread the batter over the fruit filling to the edges of the baking dish
Sprinkle generously with the crumb topping and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes
The fruit filling will be bubbling, the crumb topping should be golden and test the doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center of the cake
If it comes out clean it is done!
Allow the cake to cool on a cooling rack
You can serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream or eat it plain

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Fresh honey in amazing flavors! We use ours for an all natural sweetener to make iced tea, and it’s amazing drizzled over Dean’s homemade ice cream.

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Homemade jams, preserves, and marmalades.

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Love glass reusable milk bottles so much! The milk just tastes better and it stays super cold. And it just feels so old school. This company even has a milkman (woman) who can deliver to your doorstep weekly. And they reuse the bottles if you return them, although I like to keep mine to use as flower vases and to jar homemade sauces!

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They even have raw milk and ice cream. Dean loves! I can’t drink while pregnant, but I hear it’s delicious!

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My favorite stop… The salt table! Who can pass up a salt tasting? They have salts from all over the world, including varieties that are great for meat, fish, and veggies. If you think salt is just salt you are way wrong! My personal fave: truffle salt!

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Chocolate and Almond Croissants

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Fruit and cheese Danishes

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Here’s a pretty cool trick: to keep a crusty loaf of bread fresh overnight, store it cut-side down on a wooden cutting board. The bread’s natural crust will keep the exposed bread fresh, while the cutting board will protect the side that’s been cut.
I’ve found that this only works really well a max of 2 nights – anything past that, you can toast the bread for use as crostini or croutons. Also, if you don’t want to cut the bread, place a stalk of celery in the package or bag the bread is in to keep it soft. Odd but works!

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It’s great to discover new healthy oils to cook with.

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They even have the freshest fish, and a great selection!

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Liam’s favorite stop! He loves cheese and loves the cheese man’s samples even more!

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Want to be sneaky about getting your kids to eat their veggies? Try this treat:

Candied Carrots

Ingredients

1 lb carrots, cut into two inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, diced
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Place carrots in a pot of salted water
Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to a high simmer, and cook about 20-30 minutes (don’t let the carrots get mushy!)
Drain the carrots, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and return carrots to the pan
Stir in butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper
Cook for 3-5 minutes until sugar is bubbly

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Delicious with this dressing:

Frisée With Warm Bacon Dressing

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large or 2 small heads frisée, washed and dried, trimmed and torn into bite sized pieces (about 6 cups)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp and fat has rendered Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet
Reduce heat to low; add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar
Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and dressing is well combined
Toss frisée with dressing and reserved bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper
Serve immediately

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Golden green summer plums

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Pink lemons…perfect for pink lemonade!

Old-Fashioned Pink Lemonade

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
9 cups filtered water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice, chilled
Mint and lemon slices, for garnish

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher
Stir to dissolve the sugar
Serve in tumblers over ice
Garnish with mint and a lemon slice

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Discovered these cactus corn tortilla chips – so fresh and healthy. They make tortillas too! Liam likes them because he says they look like “incredible hulk chips!”

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They even have sea sponges in all shapes, sizes, and textures. They come from a sea sponge farm and can be used from the kitchen to the bath! Real sea sponges can last up to a year in your kitchen and are naturally anti-bacterial.

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Amazing fresh flowers that last so much longer than those bought at a regular market or flower shop. Here’s a trick to make your flowers last: always cut the stem at an angle, and add a pinch of sugar to their water!

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A Promenade Rose! Unbelievable!

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Liam giving Baby Bump its daily kiss! Makes my heart melt.

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I love lavender! I use it for decor, baking, cocktails, crafting, bath, gift-wrapping, oils/lotions, or to making our drawers smell nice.

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These organic homemade soaps are so great! Made with goat’s milk, they’re gentle enough to use on sensitive skin and kids or babies. They even make a “my boyfriend’s soap” scented ever so slightly masculine but yummy enough for us girls! They’ll cut the soap right there for you.

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They even have organic treats for your pooch! Our dogs love the dehydrated sweet potato sticks!

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Amazing selection of nuts. We love all the flavored almonds! Lemon ones are yummy in a salad, or you can try them this way:

Lemon Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients

3 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs green beans
1 onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
6 sprigs of fresh marjoram
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup lemon almonds, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 F
Coat two baking sheets with olive oil
Combine green beans, onion wedges, and marjoram in a bowl
Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
Toss green bean mixture and divide between the two baking sheets
Roast for 15 minutes
Reverse position of the baking sheets, then continue to roast until beans are tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 10 more minutes (25 minutes total)
Transfer veggies to a bowl
Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and half of the chopped almonds
Toss to coat, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle with remaining almonds and serve

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Farmers Markets also have a section for prepared meals. After a hard day of local marketing we love to get some grilled sausages and fresh squeezed lemonade for lunch.

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Ours even has an occasional crafting station for kids. At this one, the kids get to paint a pot and then plant a plant in it. And all proceeds go to charity.

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The kids painting their pots

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Liam picking out his plant

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He planted it – now he’s adding decorative rocks

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Dad gets in on the planting

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Stella is our little artist. My mini me crafting muse! She is a true perfectionist. Wonder who she gets that from?

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Finished masterpieces

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Here’s our cart all loaded up at the end of a great day at our local farmers market!

I love how farmers markets encourage people to go organic and eat local while bringing together everyone as a community. I also find that it gets the kids involved. They love picking out fresh fruits and vegetables and then coming home and cooking in the kitchen with us. It makes the whole experience interactive from start to finish.

What do you shop for at your local farmers market? Share your favorite farmers market recipe in the comments below, and I may feature it here on ediTORIal!

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