Your 7-Day Dinner Plan: Farm Stand Recipes

Take advantage of some of the freshest, most delicious produce of the season with these dinner recipes.

Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season guarantees that they'll be at their peak freshness, and when they're that good, it's easier and more tempting to incorporate these foods into your cooking repertoire.

Stroll your local markets and farm stands to see what's ripe that day. Since the selection will depend on both Mother Nature and what time you get there, go in with an open mind. Some other tips for shopping at a farmers' market:

  1. Bring your own tote bags. When you're adding things to them, make sure the heaviest, sturdiest items are at the bottom (e.g. sweet potatoes, onions) with the more delicate, prone-to-squish things (e.g. berries, herbs) on top.
  2. Get there early for the best and biggest selection.
  3. Take one lap around the market before committing to buying anything so you have a sense of what's available and which stand has the best-looking tomato/zucchini/Swiss chard, etc. It might be a different stand for different produce.
  4. Challenge yourself to go out on a limb and try a fruit or vegetable you've never had before each time you visit the farmers' market. Ask the seller for cooking suggestions if you're not sure what to do with it.
  5. While you're at it, be sure to ask the sellers any questions you may have about their goods. No one knows the produce better than those who have helped to grow it and pick it.

Once you're home, get creative in the kitchen by turning farm-fresh nectarines and cucumbers into a lemony salad to accompany grilled scallops or by grilling juicy peaches alongside honey-mustard-glazed pork. Bountiful summer squash transforms into your favorite ultra low-carb noodle but stays satisfying thanks to a creamy tomato sauce and savory Pecorino cheese.

Whatever seasonal produce you pick up, it's guaranteed to make your cooking more colorful, nutritious, and absolutely delicious.