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Farmers Market Fantasies = Supper Salad Solutions

June 23, 2011

It’s no secret that Oldways staff members spend a lot of lunch breaks at the local Copley Square Farmers Market. However, until recently, I rarely purchased anything there myself, simply because I spend several hours a day commuting, and would rather not lug around a large bag of vegetables (no matter how delicious they are!)

The other dilemma I have is that my commute takes up so much of my day that it feels almost impossible to cook during the week. As you can imagine, eating leftovers every night gets old fast, so needless to say, I’ve been on a quest to find healthy, fresh and easy dinner ideas.

This week, I decided to try something new. I went to the farmers’ market and actually allowed myself to buy a few things. That alone was a thrill, since there are so many wonderful options to choose from  and I also love the friendly and neighborly atmosphere – nothing says summer like an outdoor marketplace. I did not buy anything too crazy since my backpack was already weighing heavily on my mind, but I felt satisfied with my small stash of spinach, snap peas and strawberries. Sometimes even just a little fresh spinach from the market can make the difference between a dull dinner and a superb salad!

See, not too much to bring home here. Plus I figured I’d end up eating most of the peas at my desk, so they wouldn’t all make it to the bus station. I lugged the remaining goodies home in a cute little paper bag, courtesy of Siena Farms, and I have to admit, the lugging really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. On the ride home, I began to eagerly brainstorm other ingredients to toss into this salad. Thinking about food all the way home did not exactly help my empty stomach, but it was fun to mix and match anyway.

Finally, I arrived home and got working on an untossed salad for myself. Ta-da!

I ended up making just a basic salad with spinach, lettuce, carrots, broccoli and tomatoes.  Sure, it was simpler than I imagined on my commute, but it was still filling and satisfying all the same. Next time, I will have a better sense of other ingredients to purchase and how much I am able to carry. Plus, as the summer continues, different options will be available at the market, so I will be forced [twist my arm!] to try new ingredients anyway. And depending on what leftovers I can scrounge up in my fridge, I will be able to work in chicken and other tasty additions.

An innovative salad seems like a fairly obvious solution now that I think about it, but I guess I never got into the late night salad-tossing simply because I felt a pressure to be more elaborate, especially when I hear of all the time-consuming dishes my foodie colleagues whip up on a weekly basis. But the truth is, simple can be fantastic! While spending the weekend preparing meals to eat for the next week is a great idea, it’s also okay if you’re a little lazy when it comes to cooking sometimes. Dinner does not have to be the most innovative recipe on the block, as long as it is good for you and tastes delicious.

Fresh veggies and fruits from a farm stand (or even the grocery store, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a nearby market) can save a lot of time and make a nutritious and yummy snack or meal. I’m looking forward to more experimenting with vegetables and salads. So get ready Copley Square Farmer’s Market, because I’m comin’ for you.  -Chrisanne

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