I. Love. Farmers’ Markets. They are, in my opinion, the absolute best way to get fresh produce. In the square outside my office, there’s a farmers’ market every Tuesday and Friday with offerings from a few local farms. Buying produce there is better because:
1// It supports small business
2// The produce is mostly non-GMO
3// Local, seasonsal produce just tastes better
4// The food did not have to travel very far to get to the market, reducing its carbon footprint and reducing costs for the producer.
I remember the very first time I became aware of the difference between seasonal, local food and store-bought GMO foods – it was the summer, and my mom had gotten some generic-brand strawberries from Chile at the grocery store. And while that sounds very exotic, the amount of resources required to get those strawberries from Chile to Connecticut (about 5,300 miles) is quite a lot. These Chilean strawberries were huge and blemish-free, and tasted as much as I would expect a strawberry to taste. But the next day, I remember my mom took my sister and I strawberry picking at a farm down the road, and we got a huge basket of farm-fresh strawberries. They were a lot smaller than the ones from the store, and less uniform in size, but they were so deliciously ripe and bursting with flavor that I wondered at that moment why anyone would want to buy strawberries from anywhere else.
Other than the amazing flavor of local, seasonal produce, I love farmers’ markets because it supports small businesses. My dad is a small-business owner, and from an early age I was taught to appreciate the difference between small and large companies. It’s ironic now that I work for a huge, Fortune-500 company, but in a way it has strengthened the lessons of my childhood. Growing up, I always saw how hard my dad worked to run his company and provide for our family. The thing about owning a small business is that it’s all on you – if you mess up, or something goes wrong, it can put your entire company in jeopardy (whereas it would take a lot more to put a multimillion-dollar insurance company out of business). In addition, when you own a small business, you see the direct result of your efforts – it’s not like you’re sitting in a cubicle, one of thousands, completely disassociated with the success or failure of your company.
So it may be super nerdy (and possibly a bit hippie) of me, but I get filled with an immense pride when I support small farmers and businesses. To me, it represents a tribute to my dad – the most hardest-working person I have ever met- and the values he has instilled in me.
Some of my favorite offerings at the markets this time of year are the beautiful zucchini and squash. Every year I seem to end up with way more zucchini in my fridge than I can possibly cook or eat. So this recipe is dedicated to my family – not just to my dad, but to my (Italian) mom and sister, who are both pesto fanatics and my biggest culinary supporters. To my family – you are everything to me.
Zucchini Noodles w/ Simple Basil Pesto
- 2 Zucchini
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Cup Basil Packed
- Juice from 1/2 Lemon
- 1/3 Cup Pistachios
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pinch Salt + Pepper
- Kale for garnish
Chop the ends off of the zucchini.
Spiralize the zucchini with whichever extension you prefer.
Combine basil, garlic, lemon, pistachios, olive oil, and salt + pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (Pistachios can be subbed for nut of your choosing!)
Putting It All Together
In a bowl, combine zucchini noodles coat evenly with pesto. For garnish, chop kale finely and sprinkle on the top.
Song of the Day:
A Place to Start (Downtown) – White Denim