Sonoma County Farmer’s Market report: Get your zucchini recipes ready!
July is the month we feel patriotic, thinking of red, white and blue; just loving being a down home American! Nothing says America more than farmers, mom and pop businesses and well of course, farmers' markets. If you're a farmers market junkie you know that July is the month when the aisles are full of brightly colored vegetables and the smell of sweet fruit. You'll find that the markets are bubbling with activity each week. In Sonoma County you can find a market every day of the week except Mondays.
Mondays are considered the farmers market workers' holy day. The day isn't used as a day of rest or worship but a day of prep for the week ahead. For those of us who work farmers markets during the summer, the schedule has a rhythm that is both exhausting and exhilarating. Some of us are going to two markets in a day, getting home late only to jump back up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the next one.
July is a time Farmers' Markets are celebrated preluding the big National Farmers' Market Week which starts the second week in August. Right now you can vote for your favorite farmers market anywhere in America at America's Farmland Trust's website https://markets.farmland.org/ The prize for being the best market in the U.S. is a whopping $10,000 to support the market organization and the vendors who come to market each week. There are other prizes from $5,000 to $250. You have until September 19 to cast your vote for your favorite. Since almost all farmers' markets in California are non profits that extra money for a market organization can be a goldmine of support for advertising, low income incentives programs such as market match, signage, staffing or even swag for the market customers to show off their love of their local marketplace.
The World Farmers Market Coalition is highlighting World Localization Day. Now through July 15th join the Eat Local Challenge by committing to purchasing 100% of any meal you're eating then sharing a photo on Instagram. Tag @worldfarmersmarketcoalition and use the hashtag #eatlocalchallenge. We're really fortunate to live in such a vibrant community. In the summertime it really isn't much of a challenge to eat most if not all of our food from our local farms and ranches grown right here in Sonoma County. We see the result of supporting our local community of growers and creators everyday. The money you spend locally goes back into the community and reappears through donations to nonprofits, jobs for residents in our county but I also want to point out supporting local farms helps with our environment and food supply. Of course shorter vehicle trips means less emissions plus having more small farms will mean more open land and fresh air for all of us to enjoy. Everything thrives!
More important than showing your love through social media platforms and online voting is the daily act of showing up for your farmers market vendors to support their passion for local food and agriculture. Taking the time to smell that ripe tomato or melon. Slowing down to chat with the farmer that grew your summer squash. Stopping to ask questions like what's your favorite summer time recipe of the market staff in the information booth. Engaging with another customer while waiting in line for those sweet strawberries that were picked less than 24 hours before arriving to the market and in some cases that morning. It really is about the community we live in and supporting its vital essence. I look forward to seeing you in the aisles at the farmers' market this summer!
Easy zucchini salad
Because we're all looking for ways to use the abundance of zucchini in the summer!
4 medium zucchini
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 small finely garlic cloves
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise then slice into thin strips.
Heat up a large, non-stick griddle on medium-high heat. Fry the zucchini without oil for about 3 minutes on each side until there are brown grill marks and they are starting to soften. This can also be done on the grill outdoors.
Prepare the dressing by whisking the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper together.
Pour the dressing over the grilled zucchini and toss until coated. Serve warm or cold.
Kelly Smith, ilovefarmersmarkets.com