The farmers market is a true community treasure. Where else can you purchase fresh, local produce and talk to the people that planted, raised and harvested it? Farmers markets give you access to food at its peak of freshness and target the people that care most about it. For me, every visit is an opportunity to learn, so I always come armed with questions, from “what’s the freshest thing on the table?” to “what’s the best way to cook that?” The farmers are an incredible resource and I never hesitate to hit them with a barrage of questions.
This salad is a reflection of the simple goodness of the foods that can be found at the market. Fresh mixed baby lettuces, summer squash, cucumber and cherry tomatoes are truly signs of the summer and now is when they taste best. Top these vitamin-rich veggies with a homemade salad dressing made with market-fresh herbs and you’ve got a dish that not only tastes good, but is good for you, too.
Food safety tip: While you may know that fresh fruits and veggies can benefit from a rinse under cool, running tap water, you may not know the best and safest way to clean all your delicious farmers market finds. For hard rough vegetables like the cucumbers, use a scrubbing brush to remove dirt from the skin. Scrub all of the surfaces well with the brush and then pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Even delicate, leafy produce and herbs like the lettuce, parsley and chives need a good washing. Rinse them gently under cool tap water or place in a bowl filled with clean water, swish them around, then remove and pat dry, repeating this process as needed.
Farmers Market Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cucumber, quartered and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- 4 large hard-boiled eggs, quartered and lightly salted
- 6 cups mixed lettuce greens
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Wash all produce.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and continue whisking until well combined. Stir in the parsley and chives and season to taste with pepper.
- To a large serving bowl add the lettuce, cucumber, squash and tomatoes. Pour dressing over the top and toss gently.
- Portion lettuce mixture into individual salad bowls or plates and garnish with egg and goat cheese. Serve immediately.