This week is National Farmers Market Week and communities across the country are celebrating their local farmers markets. Now more than ever, farmers markets serve as anchors across American cities, positively influencing the communities they serve. They do this by increasing access to fresh nutritious food, stimulating local economies and preserving America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide communities with a healthy food environment. They’re places where farmers and neighbors come together to educate each other about cooking, nutrition and farming. With abundant fruit and vegetables, farmers markets help increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
The 3rd & Curry St. Farmers Market is in its ninth year of serving Carson City in the parking lot that transforms itself every Saturday. Instead of being filled with cars, it’s filled with people; vendors getting there early and setting up, customers and friends who come to shop at the market, grab a cup of coffee and a beignet while they peruse what they’re going to buy, bikers checking in their bikes at the Muscle Powered Bike Valet, walkers, shoppers and kids with their parents. The bounce house, Sparkie the clown and the new Splash Pad at the Bob McFadden Plaza right across from the farmers market add to an enjoyable experience for our little shoppers. You can try most all the fruits before you buy, talk to the farmers who grow it and get some advice on cooking and storing.
Local musicians are a big draw and we have chairs right in front of where they play that are always full of people enjoying the music. Our many nonprofits are at the market getting the word out about their organizations and upcoming events. We have 10 local businesses who participate each week.
The 3rd & Curry St. Farmers Market has 10 Nevada farmers, all members of Nevada Grown, and four California farmers who drive a considerable distance to bring their produce to our market. This would be a good week to thank them and tell them you appreciate what they do. I’ll leave you with this quote from Wendell Berry, “Eating is an agricultural act.”
The recipe I’m going to share with you today comes from the Nevada Grown cookbook, A Year in Local Food, available at Holley’s Farms booth at the farmers market and also Greenhouse Garden Center and Butler Meats. Pick one up, it’s a great little cookbook. This original recipe was submitted by Lara Ritchie of Nothing to It Culinary Center, but I’ve switched it up a bit using figs and an assortment of cherry tomatoes from the market this week.
Kale and Mixed Greens Salad
Ingredients for the salad
2 cups kale, I like the tender curly kale (Holley, Lattin and Pleasant Valley Farms)
1 cups mixed greens or more (same farms as above)
2 tablespoons chiffonade basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced (Holley Farms)
1 cup sunflower shoots or any that you prefer (Tahoe Living Greens sells quite a variety at the market)
1 small wedge aged Gouda, cut into small diced pieces
1/4 cup toasted seeds of your choice, she used sunflower seeds, I used pumpkin seeds
Around 5 figs, (Chuck Vue Farms) halved and roasted, or you can use a variety of halved tricolored cherry tomatoes (Holley, Lattin and Chuck Vue Farms). When figs and tomatoes are out of season I used dried cherries or cranberries.
Ingredients for the dressing
2 tablespoons balsamic dressing
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together. In a bowl, mix all the salad ingredients together. Toss with dressing, add the seeds. Serves 4-6.
Linda Marrone, a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is the director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.