Good For Nature, Good For You
With summer just around the corner, what better way to start off the months of picnics and barbeques with a bang that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown right here in North Carolina? You can get your summer produce fix and support your local farmers in one fell swoop by visiting the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, located at 1201 Agriculture Street (click here for a map.)
This market boasts bountiful nutritious options, and there is something for everyone, as the market has many more goods other than just fruits and vegetables. You can also currently find a large variety of plants and flowers, bakery items, meat, salsa and other condiments, herbs and spices, soaps, wine, house decorations, and so much more. As seasons change, a variety of options become available. There is even a small restaurant to sit down and eat at if you find yourself worn out from all of your shopping!
As you can see on the website, the State Farmer’s Market is open every day of the week which makes visiting the market extremely convenient. The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 5:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday 8:00am to 6:00pm. Although you will find that it is buzzing with customers at all hours of the day, there is ample parking and the building is extremely easy to see from the road—with a large burnt orange colored roof and ample signage, you can’t miss it (and you won’t want to). A great time to check out the market is around holidays, as stands will run holiday specials on certain items; there was just a large sale on flowers for Mother’s Day.
With stands from around the state—Mt. Olive, Johnston, Dunn, Meadow etc., you can find vendors who represent their respective towns proudly and you can expect extremely friendly service and fantastic, fresh products from all. As if there are not already enough reasons to visit the market, check out the gazpacho recipe below. You can find all of the ingredients you need to make this summer treat at the market, and you can feel great while you eat it for supporting local farmers and eating a tasty, healthful meal. Bon Appétit!
SIMPLE SUMMER GAZPACHO RECIPE (adapted from food.com)
Preparation: 15 minutes
6-8 tomatoes, chopped (Roma or plum are best)
1 large red or white onion, chopped into varying sized pieces
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, chopped
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juice of
1 bunch fresh basil or cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
Pour olive oil and lemon juice into blender or food processor. Add vegetables on top, then herbs, salt and pepper.
Use “chop” or “grate” function and pulse blender to begin blending ingredients together. If needed, use spoon to scrape vegetables off sides to blend more, or add more lemon juice or a bit of water to help blend 1 Tbsp at a time. Blend to be as chunky or as fluid as you like.
Taste, then add more salt, pepper, oil or basil to your preference.
Best served chilled. Can be served with tabasco and parmesan with some bread or on a toasted crostini.
Optional: add other ingredients such as bell peppers, green onion, jalapeno, celery, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, etc. You can customize it in so many different ways, so don’t be afraid to play! Enjoy