The Greens of Summer

Foraging for fresh greens at the farmers’ market.

The greens of summer are here. Locally grown greens are greening the farmers’ markets all around Maine. After a rainy late spring, early summer is blooming with leafy and nutritious vegetables that inspire a good appetite and the alchemy of fresh food. 

During the salad days of summer, I enjoy gathering greenery from my local farmers. I try to support each grower and buy a variety of organic produce that can be collaged into a super fresh meal. Eating locally in season and consuming what is grown within a 100-mile radius of where we live is one of the best things we do for our nutrition. This includes vegetables, fruits, poultry, dairy products, and meats. These indigenous foods provide the vitamins and minerals the body needs to be strong in our environment. Eating for wellness means consuming the most locally grown foods, the natural foods that are growing in the same natural environment that we are. Eating optimal foods supports optimal health.

WOW! Lettuce mandala

Walking through the farmers market my artist’s eye and chef’s imagination are moving. Inspired by a deep hunger to chew on leaves, I collect the many shades and shapes of green that will make a fresh meal. Yum and WOW! Heads of lettuce that are like flowery mandalas will be the base for a super salad made with herbs, scallions, radishes, and cucumbers. Bouquets of kale will make a crunchy chiffonade in a slaw or breakfast scramble with eggs. Beet green tops and perfect golden fruits promise a veggie stir-fry and more, maybe a golden beet sandwich with goat cheese and pea shoots. Tender asparagus spears and tasty garlic scapes will be added to a pasta verde. I like to make a light pesto using the delicate scapes with handfuls of basil and arugula. Creative wellness time in the kitchen, starring the color GREEN!  

Putting it all together and eating farm fresh delights are a peak creative experience that I look forward to every summer and into the fall growing season. What the farmer creates in the soil, I recreate in my kitchen. A locavore diet of fruits and vegetables creates the energy I need for long summer days filled with activity and builds my strength and stamina for the cooler seasons. My summer creative wellness recommendation: go foraging at a farm or market where the greens are in all their glory and create a big bowl of health. Remember, red is the complementary color of green, so don’t forget the tomatoes!