If you’re like me, you've spent your summer indulging in any and all of the juicy miracles that the fertile Athens soil has to offer. You’ve spent afternoons popping explosively ripe grape tomatoes into your mouth like movie theater popcorn, you’ve shamelessly hollowed out melon halves with a personal spoon and you’ve left only the leafy sprout hats of entire strawberry nations.
If you’re like me, your chin is still stained with the distinguished tint of violet drips from the buckets of blueberries that you slid into your mouth on afternoons in early July. If you’re like me, it’s about this time of the summer when you think to yourself, “man, I’m ready for some greens.”
Well, hold your horses, salad lovers. Greens are on the way! As the heat of the summer begins to pack its sentimental bags and the blueberry bushes wind down for a much needed hiatus, there is an equally exciting green frontier on the horizon that is sure to keep you healthy and happy as you curl up with your favorite Harry Potter during the chilly months ahead... that is, if you’re like me.
So here is just a little peak at the menu the Athens Farmer’s Market will feature: Arugula, Spinach, Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Cabbage, Pac Choi, Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Beets, Chard and Cilantro.
Now, I know there are some folks out there turning up their noses at the thought of collards and brussels. Perhaps you’re still mentally stuck in your mom’s kitchen at age 10, as she forces you to finish every last bite of a heaping pile of slimy spinach.
For those of you dreading each market that brings us one week closer to the green monsters that haunted your childhood, why don’t you try out some new recipes before you head for the hills?
One recipe that has been a game changer for me in recent years is lightly salted, perfectly crisped Kale Chips. I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant last year when my roommate told me that she uses this snack as an equal substitute for those oily potato chips that we all hate to love, but one crunch of her baked kale chips, and I swore off the Lays forever. I can’t wait until the day I can grab a bushel of fresh grown kale from the Downtown Athens Farmers Market and start the season of crunching.
Another delicacy that I’ve been dreaming about all summer is Cranberry Spinach Salad. Just a handful of fresh spinach leaves from the market tossed with some sweet dried cranberries and toasted almond slices will give you the perfect sweet and salty combo that you’ve been searching for.
For those of you already salivating at the thought of the endless salad possibilities just beyond the horizon, I have some news that will surely blow your mind: This year, the Saturday Athens Farmers Market, located at Bishop Park, will remain open until... wait for it... DECEMBER 15!!! That means we’ll be crunching away on a limitless supply of fresh greens well into the chilly Athens fall. Seasonal depression? Not this year!
So mark your calendars, Marketeers, and get ready for an extended season of luscious greens at your Athens Farmers Market that will have you feeling healthy and refreshed.