Keeping up a healthy gluten-free lifestyle can be quite easy by shopping your local Farmers Market.
Fresh fruits and veggies are naturally gluten-free. (Just watch that they are not covered with some shiny coating, which can either be gluten or corn contaminated, a practice typically found in the grocery stores over the Farmers Markets). Kicking up your health, increasing the healthy foods on your plate, can easily be done by shopping these Markets. Finding an abundance of produce this time of the year is so easy. And, as the summer progresses the choices become even more abundant. We have even scored big at Farmers Markets while we were on vacation.
Last week we found some incredible cherry tomatoes. As I bit into one it took me right back to standing in a garden and picking it off the vine. As I dropped it into my mouth the flavor just burst! Definitely a taste of Summer!
Shopping your Farmers Markets can help bring health to you and your family. “Eat the Rainbow” to kick up your health. In other words, fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies, which you can certainly do at your local Market. Eating organic and locally grown foods also adds to a healthy lifestyle. You will be able to find familiar fruits and veggies, along with many new treasures.
Look into your local Farmers Market and you can find:
Salad and lettuce greens, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cucumbers, zucchini, chives and scallions, peppers, fennel, and garlic scapes. Of course there are also an abundance of fresh herbs to add flavor and health to your dishes.
Yellow summer squash and yellow peppers
carrots of course, as well as beautiful orange peppers, and peaches
strawberries, raspberries, beets, sweet red cherries, sweet red peppers, rhubarb and tomatoes in all varieties
blueberries and blackberries
That is all just a starter! As you look around you can find so many vegetables. Of course there are the typical ones we are most familiar with like tomatoes and cucumbers. Some, you may have no idea what they are, much like the garlic scapes, which are the bright green flower stems that shoot up from the bulbs and can be used in any dish as you would garlic. Look for something new – have you tried jicama, fresh beets (not from the can!), radishes or even kale? Try something new and see how you like it.
Last week we had our dinner straight from our Farmers Market. We mixed some deliciously fresh tomatoes, along with chives and cucumbers with some brown rice pasta. Then we added some shredded carrots and threw together a quick Italian style dressing over the top. We paired it with the gluten-free BBQ Chicken, also found at the Farmers Market. Spicy, tender and delicious. Dinner in a flash. Honestly, you can get very creative with all the great finds you can purchase at the Farmers Market.
This weekend we put together, one of my favorite summer dishes: fresh, thickly sliced, tomato sandwiches!
Of course, fruits and veggies are not the only fabulous finds at the Farmers Markets. Check out all the other booths and you are bound to find different prepared foods such as pickles, guacamole, salsa, jams and jellies, hummus, candies and even wines. Bakeries offer delicious, and even sometimes gluten-free, baked goods such as breads, rolls, muffins and cookies. One may even find soaps, jewelry and even local honey. Don’t forget your local grass fed beef and dairy. Depending on the market, you can find a lot of fabulous things.
Not sure where to find a Farmers Market? Check out www.localharvest.org for listings of markets in your area.