This spring farmers market salad highlights the best of May’s produce, including beets, strawberries, and sugar snap peas, plus local goat cheese and quail eggs.
After suggesting the other day that you roast a bunch of chicken and potatoes, I’m here with something truly seasonal: this spring farmers market salad. All of the produce and the quail eggs are from Big Sycamore Farm in Decatur, TN and the goat cheese is from Rafting Goat Cheese in Old Fort, TN, so everything except the dressing is a local ingredient that I got at the farmers market or at the farm itself.
Getting my produce from nearby makes a huge difference for me in several different ways. First of all, let’s talk taste. The flavor of local fruits and vegetables is so much better. Pretty much every time I try something new from my CSA box, I say to myself, “These are the best _____ I’ve ever eaten,”. It’s happened with carrots, squash, beets, strawberries, and countless other things. When you’re thinking about vegetables that were picked today or yesterday at a farm in your area and produce from the grocery store that’s already traveled across the country or even the world before getting to you, there’s really no comparison. Fresher fruits and vegetables taste so much better.
Also, when you get your goods from nearby, you have the opportunity to go see exactly how everything works at the farm, or at least hear all about it directly from a farmer at the market. You won’t have to wonder just exactly how free-range the chickens are or what the crops have been sprayed with.
If you read my blog often, you’ve probably heard me talk about my Big Sycamore Farm CSA. (Wondering what a CSA is? It stands for community-supported agriculture and is also known as a farm share. Find out more and search for one near you here.) Right after moving down to Chattanooga in September, I met Initia and Bertus at the farmers market and bought a leftover box from their summer CSA. I was hooked by how amazing everything tasted, the wide variety of produce they included, and how convenient it was to get one big box of fruits and vegetables for the week in one fell swoop. I soon after signed up for their winter CSA, which has a short season running from October to December. It’s like a breath of fresh air during the colder months, and the vegetables in my boxes led me to create things like this winter vegetable gratin that I never would have made otherwise.