By Jordan Cox
The Peninsula Club’s Executive Sous Chef
Finally! It’s my favorite season Spring! Amazing produce is starting to show up in the markets. I love stepping back and looking at the huge food transition from heartier dishes to the light refreshing ones. The weather is warming up so grilling and eating on the patio are inevitable.
I have said it before and will keep on saying it: shop local!
The best place for local produce is the farmer’s market. Now that it is Spring-time, you have a good selection of markets to choose from in the Lake Norman region and beyond. The Huntersville farmer’s market is located at 200 Gilead Rd., in Huntersville. The Davidson farmer’s market is located between Main and Jackson Streets, downtown. The Mooresville farmer’s market is located at West Iredell and Church Streets in Mooresville. We have already featured Josh’s Farmer’s Market in Mooresville and the Bradford Farm in Huntersville.
Find the farmer’s market nearest you or make a special trip
While many people like to shop at the nearest farmer’s market, you can look up North Carolina farmer’s markets in the directory website. I like to shop within a few miles of where I live, which is at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market in Concord, NC. If I had to pick my favorite farmer, it would be Shelly Stamper of Shell-Belle Farm. She has been working with the Peninsula Club. Last year, she provided awesome produce that we turned into delicious features. Not only does she know how to grow plants, but she is also educated in the culinary world. So, if you have any questions on how to cook the vegetables, don’t hesitate to ask.
Plants for your vegetable garden
At this time of year, you can find “starts” for your vegetable garden, in addition to great early produce. While we can start our vegetables from seed, it is much easier to buy plants from your local nursery or farmer’s market. The farmers know what varieties thrive in our area and they can save you a lot of work!
How can I tell what’s in season?
Now, you can easily tell what’s in season by attending your farmer’s market every Saturday. However, if you’d like to plan ahead, you can use this handy online guide to seasonal foods by state. With that in mind, fresh raspberries are ripe locally in early June, but you can always make this delicious vinaigrette to pair with the greens that are available now.
2 pints raspberries
¼ cup honey
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cup salad oil
salt and pepper to taste
To make using a blender:
- If using a blender combine all ingredients in the blender except for the oil.
- On medium speed drizzle oil slowly into the mixture, this will help emulsify the oil and the vinegar together. Don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste!
To make by hand:
- If you do not have a blender doing it by hand with a whisk is just as fine.
- Muddle the raspberries with the garlic and honey until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk all together except for the oil.
- Drizzle in your oil, while continuing to whisk. Note: if you are not using immediately, be sure to whisk again just before using.