This is not so much a recipe as it is a reminder of how simple it is to enjoy the fresh, delicious produce the market has to offer this time of year! Walking though the pavilion this afternoon, after an already-long day of shopping for plants at the CCE Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale, I was overcome by an overpowering craving for a vital crispy green salad. It was the perfect time and place to make my dream a reality…
I started out at Dancing Turtle, where I picked up a bag of Micro Mix and Everything Mix, which had the perfect variety of sprouts. The Everything Mix is a nutritional powerhouse, containing clover, broccoli, radish, fenugreek, and garlic. They were an inspiring beginning to the dream salad; so alive and packed with flavors.
The next stop was Bright Raven Farm & Apiary (formerly known as Red Tail Farm), where I picked up a bag of clean, ready-to-eat baby salad mix. The mild, tender leaves would clearly be a major component of my dish.
While I was at the Bright Raven stall, I impulsively picked up a bunch of beautiful and intriguing breakfast radishes, which turned out to be mild and exceptionally crunchy.
The next stop on my salad tour was the Six Circles Farm stall, where I was delighted to find pea shoots for sale. They were irresistible!
The salad seemed like it could use a bit of dimension in its flavor, which drew my eye to the pickled garlic scapes. Pickled in apple cider vinegar with sea salt and dill seeds, they were bound to be an exciting treat among all the leaves and shoots.
When all of these ingredients were added to my salad bowl, the meal was complete. But a splash of dressing can really bring out the best in an already-great salad. No store-bought dressing would be fresh enough for this delicacy.
To make a simple dressing, I combined:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 spoon full tahini (not any particular size spoon…)
1 splash red wine vinegar
1 nice amount local honey
1 dollop mustard
This is a highly improvisational dressing that tastes better than it looks, hence the lack of photographic evidence. But I recommend trying your hand at a home-made salad dressing, if you haven’t tried it yet! The mustard acts as an emulsifier (so the oil doesn’t separate out) and the sweetness of the honey does a nice job of counterbalancing the astringency of the vinegar and the slight bitterness of the tahini.
The purple asparagus from Blue Heron was originally going to be part of the salad, but was so magnificent that it was set aside to be eaten on its own at dinnertime.
One more thing:
While enjoying such a fresh, nutritious, and flavorful meal may make a person feel like a million bucks, it was actually surprisingly affordable! Here’s a breakdown of the cost of my salad:
Dancing Turtle sprout mix: $3 (a whole pound is $5)
Bright Raven salad greens: $3 ($4/bag; I didn’t use the whole thing)
Bright Raven radishes: $2 ($4/bunch; only used half in salad)
Six Circles pea shoots: $2 ($4/bag; also only used half)
Six Circles garlic scape pickles: $2 ($8/jar; only used a little bit)
Home-made salad dressing: hard to calculate, but definitely much less than the kind from the store!
So, the whole bowl cost $12, and it was easily enough to provide 8 people an abundant serving. That’s $1.50/person, for an incredible salad, straight from the market.
The Ithaca Farmers’ Market is happy to accept EBT/Food Stamps for your produce purchases. Just stop by the market office on your way in to get your tokens!