The Farmer's Market Warms Up

....June roots and greens...for salads and more.

Is it Summer yet?

Most of us tend to think of June as a summer month…. And it is…kind of.  The meteorologists tell us that June 1 is the start “meteorological summer” (which I think mostly means that it feels like summer). ”True” astronomical summer is still about a week away. The market is in this “in-between” state as well. Many of the things we think of as summer produce aren’t yet ready for the market. In June, cool season crops are maturing and by and large what you will find when you visit the market. 

The June market is FILLED with greens of all kinds (spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens, cabbages, etc). If you have ever been a member of a CSA, you know this. The onslaught can be exhausting for the cook who is just trying to figure out what to do with all of it. Braised greens, wilted greens, stir fried greens, lots of salads, slaw… You begin to put cooked greens in things (quiche, frittata, pasta sauces, pestos, dumplings and raviolis…).  Mercifully “greens” also includes things like broccoli and kohlrabi…for days when you want something just a bit different.

The other crop of June that many don’t think of so often is roots. Radishes are drawing to a close, but in late May beets, carrots, and young turnips begin to arrive. There is of course a second crop of all of these in the fall that then become our winter storage roots.  But June roots are special and fleeting. They are tender and mild because they must be harvested young and small before the summer heat causes them to bolt and become tough and bitter. 

Some June market produce

Beets…love them or hate them…

Over the years—in my classes…and private dinner service—I have discovered that beets elicit a fairly strong reaction from people. People generally love them…or hate them. Since I’m writing about them, I obviously love them…and want others to as well. I didn’t always love beets. But I have learned to love so many foods that at one time I truly disliked. I have discovered that many food aversions are the result of some kind of break down in the trip from the field to the table. If a food is well-grown…fresh…properly prepared…and served with good flavor partners, it is most often delicious.

So, if you dislike beets…this newsletter is for you. And if you love beets, this newsletter is for you too!

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