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Local Greens start off the Spring Farmers Market Season

Natalie Root

I am so excited! Farmers Market Season is here!

It is finally Spring and Memphis Farmers Market is open. We are downtown at Central Station 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.”

 

When Allison Cook, director of the Memphis Farmers Market, told me opening day was April 4, I got so excited.

 

Our local Farmers Markets are one of my favorite sources for ingredients. Not only are the produce and meats as fresh and tasty as they can possibly be, a visit at the market almost always inspires me to try something new.

 

Spring is really the time for greens and we will have lots of hearty greens at the market like kale and chard to give you really something unique and interesting for the green on your plate.”

 

With its bright green leaves and stems of yellow, orange, and red, rainbow Swiss chard is by far the prettiest green around and one of my favorite market discoveries. A tip I learned from a farmer is to be sure not to overcook the chard because its flavor is best when it is just lightly sautéed. Don’t be shy about asking the grower for tips and recipes!

 

The cooler spring weather is perfect for all types of greens and leafy vegetables.

 

If you are ready to jump start your healthy eating, we will have tons of salad fixins this Spring … with lots of arugula, and fresh lettuces, and radishes and carrots.”

 

We have five amazing farmers markets in Memphis. Both the Memphis Farmers Market and the Cooper-Young Farmers Market are now officially open for the Spring season. The Memphis Botanic Garden opens on April 29 and the Agricenter Farmers Market is slated to open at the beginning of May. The Farm Park Farmers Market in Germantown opens in early June.

 

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Eat Local!

 

For more information about our local Farmers Markets, visit:

 

Memphis Farmers Market: http://memphisfarmersmarket.org/

Cooper-Young Farmers Market: http://www.cycfarmersmarket.org/

Memphis Botanic Garden Market: http://www.memphisbotanicgarden.com/farmersmarket

Agricenter Farmers Market: http://www.agricenter.org/farmers-market

Farm Park Farmers Market: http://www.germantown-tn.gov/index.aspx?page=1258

 

 

Lemony Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely-diced shallots
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped rainbow Swiss chard leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when

carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft, about 2 minutes.

 

Add the chard and cook, stirring, until the leaves just begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and raisins. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Serves 4.

 

Cooking Tip: I prefer rainbow Swiss chard due to its brightly colored veins, but varieties with only white or red veins are equally delicious.

 

Variation: For more texture and color use the stems in this dish as well. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces, add to the pan before adding the leaves and cook until the stems are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the leaves and continue with the recipe.

 

Recipe reprinted with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Jennifer Chandler graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris at the top of her class. She is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks.