By Allyson Gardner, Access to Local Food Program Coordinator & Rachel Pettit, Farm to School Program Coordinator at Food Roots
As the days become warmer and the sun shines more often, local farmers are busy getting ready for farmers market season! All of the farmer’s markets in Tillamook County are a great place to do some grocery shopping and connect with local growers. One of the best things about shopping at a farmer’s market is knowing that the produce for sale is often picked earlier that day so it is at the peak of freshness (and flavor)!
Choosing fresh produce at the grocery store or at the farmer’s market can be challenging sometimes, but there are things you can keep in mind to ensure that the fruits and vegetables you buy will taste great and store well if you don’t use them right away.
When shopping for produce look for firm, deeply colored fruits and vegetables. Avoid items that are wilted or bruised. These are signs that the produce isn’t very fresh or hasn’t been carefully handled. If you buy produce that is wilted or bruised, it may not taste as good and it definitely won’t last very long in your refrigerator before rotting.
Once you’ve brought your produce home there are a variety of ways to keep fruits and vegetables fresh until you want to use them. Some vegetables can be treated a lot like fresh flowers! Trim the bottoms of celery, heads of lettuce, and bunches of chard, kale, collard greens and chives. Place the trimmed produce in a bowl or cup with two inches of water and keep in the refrigerator. Rinsed plastic yogurt or sour cream containers are great for this.
Root vegetables like potatoes, onions and garlic need to be stored in a cool, dry space like the bottom of a kitchen cabinet or pantry. If you buy these vegetables at a farmer’s market, they might still have some dirt on them. Don’t rinse these vegetables until you’re ready to use them! Other root vegetables for sale at farmer’s markets like carrots, beets and radishes will often have the tops still attached. These greens are edible and make a great addition to salads, but if left on for too long the vegetables will rot much faster. Cut the tops off where they join the root and store them separately.
There are four farmer’s markets in Tillamook:
Manzanita: Laneda Ave & 5th Ave, Fridays 5:00pm-8:00pm starting June 9.
Tillamook: Laurel St and 2nd St, Saturdays 9:00am-2:00pm starting June 17.
Neskowin: Neskowin Beach Wayside, Saturdays 9:00am-1:00pm starting May 20.
Pacific City: Pacific City Library, Sundays 10:00am-2:00pm starting June 18.
A surprising item that you may find at market this summer is garlic scapes. They’re the curly tops that garlic sprout before they flower. Farmers harvest these to encourage the garlic to put more energy into their roots. A delicious way to uses these is to make Garlic Scape Pesto.
All of the markets accept EBT or Oregon Trail Card and participate in the SNAP at Market Program, which lets markets match a person’s SNAP benefits up to $10. This means someone who uses SNAP can get $20 worth of produce for only $10! If you want to learn more about this program or volunteer at one of the markets please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 593-815-2800.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Recipe Source: Allyson Gardener
Number of servings: 8
Time for preparation (including preparation and cooking): 15 minutes
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cups chopped garlic scapes (Not a garlic lover? Try adding a little less)
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts or almonds (or use your favorite nut)
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
Put the basil and garlic scapes in a blender. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil, and blend basil and garlic into a paste. Add the nuts, Parmesan cheese, salt, and remaining oil. Blend until smooth. Serve with cooked pasta.
Are you wondering what else you can do with pesto besides as a sauce for pasta? Try spreading pesto on sandwiches and wraps.Â Make a quesadilla with mozzarella cheese, pesto, and slices of fresh tomatoes. Pesto can also be a great sauce with grilled fish, poultry, and meats.