Let’s go to a local coastal Maine farmers market! Then join me in my kitchen to cook up some simple and fresh dishes using summer’s bounty!

Our Local Farmers Market

Farmers Market season is here and I couldn’t be happier! As a vegetarian, I can’t get enough of all that fresh local produce! Our farmers market is not large but, wow, it sure has a great view! (And live music!)

Let’s do some shopping!

My Shopping Technique

The smallish size of our market works to my advantage, though. When I get there, I take a quick trip around to see who is there and which fruits and vegetables are in season. As I take in what is available, I start to figure in my mind which flavors will work together. Sometimes I go looking for something specific, but most of the time I am open to see what is freshest at the moment.

So what did I come home with this week?!

Farmers Market Bounty

Growing season starts late here, so we are still seeing spring fruits and vegetables at the market. I was immediately drawn to the garlic scapes and the squash blossoms, because their season will be coming to an end soon. Have you ever cooked with either of these unique parts of the garlic and squash plants?! I will tell you more about each of them when we get cooking below! I also loved the variety of squash that was available. Strawberries have just come into season, so they were a must. And I couldn’t resist the fennel bulb, so beautiful with its long wispy fronds. Farmers markets always have a great variety of lettuces. I went with peppery arugula and lovely variegated radicchio. The stronger the lettuce, the more I like it! And, oh yes to radishes! I also picked up some goats milk feta and kale/parsley pesto.

One Last Stop

Before I go, I always like to stop and get a wood-fired pizza or bialy egg sandwich, depending on the time of day. Today’s pizza had beets, gorgonzola, and arugula. I also got a couple bialys to bring home for breakfast sandwiches. Have you ever had a bialy? They are sort of like bagels, except they are not boiled before baking and instead of a hole in the middle, they have a depression that is often filled with onions. So yummy!

Let’s Get Cooking!

Before we get started, let’s just pause a moment to take in all this beauty! Oh my, Mother Nature, you are miraculous!

Now, what to do with all this?!

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t usually go to the farmers market with a shopping list or specific recipe in mind. Instead, I decide what I am going to make once I see what is available. I thought the garlic scapes, squash blossoms, and squash would be delicious with pasta (or on top of a pizza too!). A salad of arugula, radicchio, strawberries, green onions, and feta on the side. For breakfast, I was thinking the bialy would be good with an egg, kale parsley pesto and arugula. And another salad for lunch with arugula, peaches a friend sent me, fennel, and more of the feta.

For simple summer meals like these, fresh fruits and vegetables are the key. These dishes come together quickly and really allow the ingredients to shine!

Squash Blossom and Garlic Scape Pasta

Back to the garlic scapes and squash blossoms…..

Better Homes and Gardens describes garlic scapes like this: “Garlic scapes are the tender stem and flower bud of the hardneck garlic plant that also produces the garlic bulbs with many cloves. Scapes grow out of the top of each garlic bulb, then coil into long, skinny, green stems that look somewhat like tender, twirly green beans or green onions. Their texture is akin to fresh, slim asparagus stalks. ” You can use the entire stalk to make pesto, but the bud and portion above it can be tough, so I did not use them for this dish.

I just learned that squash blossoms come in male and female genders. Only the female blossoms mature into a squash. Before you cook with them you must remove the stamens/pistils. Just reach inside the blossom and pull or cut it out.

I don’t really use a recipe when cooking simple summer dishes full of fresh ingredients. I will often do a quick search in Pinterest for general ideas, and then improvise on my own. Here is how I prepared today’s ingredients:

Garlic Scape and Squash Blossom Pasta 
7 squash blossoms, stamens/pistils removed, and cut in half lengthwise
2 small or 7 baby squash -- different varieties are visually pleasing, cut in diagonal slices
8 long garlic scapes, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
2T butter
6-8 oz of pasta (I used whole wheat linguini)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C grated parmigiano reggiano
grated lemon peel

Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid
Melt butter and cook until it starts to brown slightly
Sautee squash and garlic scapes in the butter until almost tender
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Add the parmesan and some of the reserved pasta water. Start with a little and add more as necessary. Stir vigorously as the water evaporates and leaves a light creamy sauce.  
Gently fold in the squash blossoms and allow to wilt slightly.  
Grate some lemon zest on top.
Place pasta on a dish and top with vegetables.
Sprinkle with additional parmesan and a dollop of olive oil.

Full disclosure:  This is the first time I have ever written a recipe!  I cook to some extent by feel, and you should do the same! 


Our family is all about salad! Using my farmers market bounty, I made one salad as a side for dinner and another for lunch. Here is the general formula I use to make a simple salad and what I used for these two farmers market salads (dinner/lunch) :

A good hearty lettuce or green as the base: radicchio and arugula/arugula

Something crunchy: radishes/fennel

A fruit: strawberries/peaches

Cheese: feta/feta

Extra flavor: thinly sliced green onion/chopped fennel fronds

Nuts: chopped pistachios/chopped pecans

I get requests for my salad dressing “recipe”, but it is really just something I toss together. It is important to use good olive oil and vinegars, especially if you are using balsamic. Lemon juice instead of vinegar makes a lovely light dressing. And l love the robust flavor of sherry vinegar.

Start with a 1:1.5 vinegar to oil ratio. The dressing should have some bite, but it shouldn’t bring tears to your eyes! Add more olive oil as needed. Be liberal with the salt and pepper! I often like to add mustard or Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. Keep in mind that the salad dressing is supposed to complement the ingredients in the salad, not overwhelm or stand on its own!

You’ve got this, I know!

Dinner and my working lunch were both delicious!

Breakfast Sammy

It is time to wrap things up here, but I did want to share my scrumptious bialy egg sandwich with you — fried egg, kale parsley pesto, a little parm, and tomato on a toasted bialy. I have a formula for egg sandwiches too, but that is for another day!

Thanks for joining me on my trip to the farmers market and at home in the kitchen! I hope I have inspired you to eat fresh and local!

Have a vegilicious day!


Highlighting coastal decor and lifestyle, Maddie and Cisco, and the way life should be...