Farmer’s Market Haul, July 9

This is Saturday’s Farmer’s Market Haul.

One of the best feelings in the world has got to be hearing a little voice insist, “I go to the Farmer’s Market, too, Mom!”  P. was more than ready to be my trusty assistant this weekend and was scrambling to get his shoes on before I’d even finished my requisite cup of coffee.  Once we were at the market itself, my little helper scampered up and down, pointing at everything he could see: “What dat, Mom?  What dat?  And what’s DIS?”  He exuberantly repeated the names of all the different items, nodding his head eagerly, running to the next stall.  “I need BROKKY, Mom!” he insisted, grabbing for the dewy green heads of broccoli in their crates.  “Ohhh.  And DIS!  I take it home,” he declared, shoving a cucumber into my reusable mesh bag as I hastily caught it and asked the vendor to add it to our tally.

Of course, P. will only willingly eat a fraction of the things we purchased, but that’s okay.  A child’s food education begins with building enthusiasm for the good stuff, and he’s definitely interested.  From talking about food (what color is it?  what’s it called?  is it big or small?)  to choosing it, purchasing it, and cooking it, he wants to be involved in every step of the process.  If he’s not quite up to the EATING part yet, I won’t sweat it.  He’ll get there.
As for the rest of us, we’re eating it all, and eating it with delight.  This week’s bounty:

6 yellow papaya squash
1 pound spinach leaves
5 pounds red potatoes
1 bunch beets
1 bag (about 3/4 pound or so) mixed lettuces
2 quarts strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 dozen tomatoes
2 heads broccoli
5 Asian eggplants

1 cucumber
Grand total: $53.

Sure, $53 seems like a lot of money…but look at the volume and the quality.  I’m just guessing here, but a rough estimate would be that we took home 15+ pounds of incredible, fresh, responsibly grown produce.  Conservatively, that means we spent about $3.50 a pound — probably somewhat less — for all that food, and it will last us the week with no problems.  Plus, it’s a matter of priorities; I’d happily spend $3.50/lb for quality meat or dairy (and in reality, I spend far MORE than that for many quality meat and dairy items), so why wouldn’t I want to invest equally in the healthy fruits and vegetables we need — and the health of the growing system that provides them?

Tonight’s dinner of potato pancakes with smoked salmon, roasted beets with garlic oil, and sliced cucumbers was the perfect platform for our new favorite way to dress up these gorgeous veggies: Quick Dill Dip.  It’s actually thinner than a dip and can be used as a salad dressing — J. and I love to keep it on hand for snacking, as well as for making lunches.  Our lunches these days often consist of nothing more than a huge assortment of whatever produce is in the fridge, drizzled with Dill Dip, and possibly rolled up in a homemade tortilla, pita, or accompanied with some fruit and cheese.  We’re practically drinking the stuff, and after watching J. literally douse every single item on his plate with it tonight — twice — I realized I ought to share the recipe.  Happy dipping!

Quick Dill Dip

2 cups plain yogurt, preferably Greek or whole-milk
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup fresh dill fronds
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz until completely smooth and creamy.  Use as a vegetable dip, salad dressing, or as a condiment for sandwiches, wraps, and grilled meats.