Try these summer-ready recipes with fresh produce from the farmers' market.
A trip to the farmers’ market — and a couple of hours in the kitchen — is all you need to create the perfect summertime meal. Pictured below are fresh vegetables, eggs, bread and even flowers available from various vendors at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market.
The most delicious recipes begin with the freshest, most flavorful ingredients. We should all be so lucky to be able to grow them ourselves, but for most of us, yard and time constraints put a damper on urban farming. Thank goodness for our local farmers’ markets! We can enjoy the fruit of our local farmers’ labors — the next best thing to growing it ourselves.
From a distance, the bustling activity during the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market — which is open from 7-11 a.m., Saturdays, starting the first Saturday in April through October — might seem more like a larger city’s street fair, but upon closer inspection, you see neighbors actually talking to the farmers who grow the food they are purchasing.
I thought it would be nice to create an entire summer’s eve meal based on items available at our wonderful market, and to gather a little insight about a day in the lives of these vendors.
Mark and Erin Parman
Redbird Ranch, Warner, Okla.
Mark and Erin Parman have got the goods, but you have to be an early bird to get them. Virtually every Saturday morning during market season, I arrive just a few minutes too late for the farm-fresh eggs, right from their own chickens. It is worth it to get there early, for these eggs have the telltale signs of farm freshness — bright golden yolks, firm whites and irregular shapes and colors. Perfect for poaching, frying or whipping into a decadent batch of deviled eggs. In addition to eggs, Redbird Ranch sells beef, pork and chicken, all raised on the Parmans’ farm in Muskogee County.
Egg salad deviled eggs
Makes 2 dozen
Using farm-fresh eggs yields a bright yellow filling, as well as a delicious flavor. These eggs are the perfect snack for a picnic, brunch or to merely grab while passing by the refrigerator.
- 1 dozen farm-fresh eggs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 dill pickle, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Smoked paprika, for serving
1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Cover pan, remove from heat and let sit for 13 minutes. Drain and rinse eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle.
2. Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Transfer yolks to a bowl and set whites aside on a serving platter. Mash yolks with a fork until finely crumbled. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, celery, pickle and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into a zip-top bag and seal. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze mixture into reserved egg yolks. Sprinkle with paprika and serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator. Eggs can be made up to a day ahead of serving.
Emily Oakley and Mike Appel
Three Springs Farm, Oaks, Okla.
Emily Oakley and Mike Appel have been popular fixtures in the southwest corner of the Cherry Street Market for years, and when you make it to the front of the crowd, you’ll see why. In the early spring, their gorgeous salad greens, pea shoots and tender spinach sell out in minutes. During the summer months, people fight over their juicy heirloom tomatoes and squat okra.
In addition to beautiful produce, Oakley and Appel offer something that no one else at the market does — a share in their community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA lets customers pre-pay at the beginning of the season and have their purchases deducted weekly (or bi-weekly, if you also visit them at the Wednesday market in Brookside) from their balance, with any share balances at the end being donated in produce to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Three-bean Okie succotash
Serves 4 to 6
Succotash comes from the Narragansett “msickquatash,” meaning boiled corn kernels. It is a Native American and now classic Southern side dish consisting always of corn sautéed in butter with any combination of other veggies, including green beans, shell beans, lima beans, onion and sometimes tomato. It is best prepared in the summer, when corn, beans and tomatoes are in season, but my favorite NYC restaurant, Prune, keeps it on the menu all year long.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or bacon fat)
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 pound fresh black-eyed peas or shelled peas
- 3 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/2 pound fresh yellow wax beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add peas, corn and chicken stock and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add green and yellow beans and sauté until all vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in parsley and chives and season with salt and pepper.
Shanks Farm, Leonard, Okla.
Bacon, lettuce and tomato are perhaps one of the world’s greatest food combinations. Why limit it to smushy white bread? This recipe gives potatoes — straight from the farm of Debbie Shanks — a kick with crisp bacon, peppery arugula and juicy heirloom tomatoes. Just throw some meat on the grill and dinner’s ready to go!
BLT potato salad
Fingerling potatoes and fresh basil add a different twist to this traditional recipe.
- 3 pounds assorted fingerling potatoes
- 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
- 1 small red onion, diced or thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted cherry and heirloom tomatoes
- A few generous handfuls of fresh arugula
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside to cool.
2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until golden and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and set aside.
3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk together mayonnaise and vinegar and add to potatoes, tossing to combine. Stir in crumbled bacon, onion, tomatoes, arugula and basil. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Jeff and Chris Emerson
Natural Farms, Tulsa, Okla.
Jeff and Chris Emerson have been cattle farmers for years but recently got into the retail world when they opened the original Natural Farms Organic Market at East Fourth Street and South Utica Avenue several years ago. More recently, Natural Farms opened its own USDA-inspected processing facility, which lets them direct-market their own beef “from the pasture to the plate.”
All of Natural Farms’ products are either all-natural or organic. They also strive to offer chemical-free, hormone- free, antibiotic-free and toxin-free meat that still tastes great. With the processing facility at the Utica location, they can cut their own steaks, roasts and chops; stuff their own sausages; and smoke their own hams, briskets and jerky.
The Emersons also offer their own all-natural chicken and rabbit, as well as naturally raised hogs from another local producer, which they process in their own plant.
Natural Farms’ two retail locations also offer fish, dairy and produce. The new store at East 91st Street and South Sheridan Road also includes a deli and restaurant.
Serves 6 to 8
Don’t be scared of braising a rabbit. Rabbit has been stewed, braised and roasted for centuries in Europe and “lapin a la moutarde” — rabbit with mustard sauce — appears on many a Michelin-starred menu in France. If you can get past the cute furriness of it all, rabbit is best cooked as is chicken — roasted or slow cooked in a stew or braise.
- 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 spring onions or shallots, cut into quarters
- 6 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
- 8 ounces mushrooms, such as crimini or shiitake
- 2 carrots, cut into thick rounds
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks trimmed, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Pat rabbit pieces dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a deep, large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Brown rabbit pieces on all sides in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to skillet along with onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half. Add rabbit back to skillet along with mushrooms, carrots, fennel, herbs and chicken stock. Simmer, covered, until rabbit and vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup pan juices with mustard and whisk back into sauce. In the same bowl, stir cornstarch into 1 tablespoon cold water and whisk into sauce. Simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkled with additional parsley.
Chiartano’s Orchard, Collinsville, Okla.
I have been looking forward to Don Chiartano’s peaches since last summer, when I bought dozens of them to eat on the step of the back porch, juice dripping down my arm. Unfortunately, Chiartano’s peach trees (as well as those of most peach growers in the state) took a hard freeze this winter, and therefore we won’t get to enjoy his amazingly ripe and juicy peaches this summer. He will, however, offer delicious, crisp and juicy apples come mid-July and fresh figs in August.
Grilled peaches and cinnamon toast
To make this a purely local treat, we picked up fresh brioche from Luna bread of Tulsa and homemade ricotta from Wagon Wheel Creamery in Helena.
- 4 ripe peaches
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 thick slices brioche or sourdough bread
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
1. Cut peaches in half and remove the pit. Toss halves in a bowl with vanilla extract and honey. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate while heating a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
2. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar. Add butter and stir until smooth and incorporated. Spread half the butter on one side of bread slices. Place buttered side on parchment or wax paper and butter second sides; set aside.
3. Grill peaches skin-side down until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Turn and grill cut-side down until peaches have softened slightly and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes longer.
4. Grill toast on one side until golden, flip and repeat on second side. Serve peaches and toast with a dollop of fresh ricotta and a drizzle of honey.