|Photographs by Mette Nielsen, from Minnesota's Bounty.|
BY BETH DOOLEY
Has covered the local food scene in the Northern Heartland for 25 years; author of, most recently, Minnesota's Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook
Opening days at local farmers markets are the most exciting of the year! Here’s our payoff for winter’s patience. Cooks can kick back a bit, because food this fresh practically cooks itself, needing little more than a sprinkle of this or drizzle of that and a lot of aromatic herbs. The markets are living calendars as brilliant flavorful vegetables appear, all different and at their peak, week after week.
Here’s a guide to what you may find each month with tips on how best to use it. Of course, there’s no accounting for the weather, and not everything arrives on schedule. All of these recipes are highly adaptable. Feel free to substitute one for another. Shop, cook, and eat!
(Recipes from Minnesota's Bounty by Beth Dooley. Click each one for a full-screen version.)
What you'll find in season: Lettuces, watercress, and asparagus.
Recommended recipe: Grilled Asparagus with Shallots and Orange Slices
What you'll find in season: Most definitely PEAS! Also radishes and rhubarb.
Recommended recipe: Radish and Pea Salad
What you'll find in season: Peppers! Corn! Green Beans! Eggplant! Strawberries!
Recommended recipe: Eggplant and Tomato Sandwiches
What you'll find in season: More peppers, corn, green beans, eggplant, TOMATOES, and blueberries.
Recommended recipe: Tomato Potato Gratin
What you'll find in season: Early apples, raspberries, pears, kale, collards, arugula, and late-season tomatoes.
Recommended recipe: Apple Mint Salsa
Feeling adventurous this summer? Here are some specialties you'll find at markets around the state.
-Fresh Ginger from Winona – White Water Farms (later in the season)
-Heirloom Apples – look for these at the Duluth Market
-Tomatoes – Mill City Market
-Fresh Herbs – Minneapolis Farmers Market (Lyndale)
-Cheeses – At the St. Paul Market, find Mary Falk of Love Tree Farms (sheeps milk, goats, milk and cows milk cheeses)
-Fresh shell beans at the Fulton Market
Minnesota's Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook; The Northern Heartland Kitchen; and coauthor with Lucia Watson of Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three sons.
"Beth Dooley has written much more than a cookbook. This valuable resource and guide to Minnesota’s farmers markets is sure to inspire and nourish you with connection to your food, your farmers, and Minnesota’s rich sustainable-agriculture tradition."
—Terry Walters, author of Clean Food
"Beth’s love for farmers markets and delicious food go hand in hand. She will inspire you to shop the markets in the Heartland and get into your kitchen to cook scrumptious meals that nourish bodies and souls."
—Brenda Langton, author of The Spoonriver Cookbook