By Julia Howard
Our responsibility, by direction, is to stay at home and only head out for essentials when absolutely necessary. As we settle in safely for the weeks to come, many are looking to foods that store well, foods that are easy to prepare, and, most importantly, foods that are available right now.
While food bloggers hail smart and savvy ‘pantry meals’ that utilize canned goods, rice, and beans, the farmers’ market offers an expanded palette of foods that are easy to store and last longer than most produce found at grocery stores.
Vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots are often at the core of savory, hearty meals. They are durable and have a good shelf life, and these vegetables work well in diverse meals depending on preparation methods and seasonings. Please note that garlic is currently unavailable at market.
Milk, butter, cheese, and eggs are staples that most of us keep in constant rotation in the refrigerator. These binding ingredients are often what pulls the meal together. Milk may be used to create a creamy finish to soups and sauces like a classic roux – which is made from butter, flour, and milk. Eggs can be used to create satisfying omelettes and frittatas with endless possibilities for fillings. Cheese is essential for homemade pizza, quesadillas, baked ziti, and numerous other dishes.
Shelf-stable vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, and turnips can last for several weeks when kept in a cool, dry place. These vegetables can be the main stars of any meal, soup, or salad, and they are high in nutritional value. Even fruits like apples can keep for 2-3 weeks. Having a variety of these long-lasting fruits and vegetables inspires cooking that’s creative, comforting, and simple.
Meat and poultry are necessities for most, and they can be bought directly from farmers. Ground beef, whole chickens, and steaks and roasts can be kept frozen and thawed under refrigeration once you are ready to prepare them. Leftovers from a large roast or a whole roasted chicken may be used in a variety of dishes and soups as well.
While shopping at the farmers’ market, please remember to follow universal precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please try to send one member of the household to shop and give 6’ space while shopping. Only touch products that you commit to buy and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after shopping.
If you plan to shop for something specific, please check our website and social media pages for updates. These are changeable times and we are working to keep you up to date with vendor and product availability each week.
This week’s recipe: Pantry Pot Pie