Kansas Citians are very fortunate to live in a community so rife with amazing farmers’ markets. No matter where you live in the city, there’s sure to be a market nearby where you can pick up beautiful, home-grown fruits and vegetables. This is also a wonderful way to support local growers and the community at large. Here are a few ways you can make the most out of your farmers’ market experience.
Choose a recipe
Although the Midwest heat can be a bit oppressive this time of year, I love all the fresh fruits and veggies that come with it! When I hit a farmers’ market, I go with a recipe in mind and a mission for what to pick up while there. I love veggie lasagnas and casseroles, grilled veggie sides, and fresh fruit pies or cobblers for dessert. I even like to throw veggies into sandwiches or wraps during the work week, or assemble hearty BLTs for dinner. These dishes are SO much better with fresh produce straight from the garden! Freeze what you don’t use for soups and stews later in the year.
Get into canning
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Canning is a lost art, but luckily it’s making a trendy comeback. Fresh green beans, carrots, peppers and all sorts of other veggies can easily be preserved with a little vinegar and some herbs for flavors. Jellies and jams also store well using fresh fruit with sugar and lemon juice. Your kids will love being a part of this process, and kicking their PB&J sandwiches or morning toast up a notch with the “fruits” of their labor.
Make a day of it
Farmer’s markets don’t have to be a one-stop shop. To avoid spending a ton, I give my 6-year-old some cash of his own to choose a few things to purchase and enjoy at home. We also usually spend the day enjoying the area. If you visit our beloved City Market downtown, take the street car across town. We love the Downtown Overland Park Market, where you can pop into Penzey’s Spices or The Tasteful Olive to enhance your fresh recipes. Parkville also has a fabulous market on its River Walk, perfect for picnicking by the water after you shop. Dogs are welcome, too!
To find the closest market to you, check out this directory from the USDA: https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets. Bon appetit!
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.