Fresh Veggies Day 2021

A bunch of radishes sits on a wood cutting board in the image on the left in the collage. The radishes are sliced up and placed in a repurposed jar for later in the photo on the right.

If you’ve been sticking around here for awhile, you’ve probably seen that I recently took this show onto Instagram. I’ve decided to make it a behind-the-scenes to the blog, sort of like a companion piece in a sense. It’s basically what Letters from Iwo Jima is to Flags of Our Fathers (both of which are great movies, btw.)

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re in late spring, and heading into summer. That means farmers’ markets, gardening, baseball games, trips to amusement parks, the fair, fireworks, car shows, festivals, pools, and of course, backyard barbecues. In my neck of the woods, triple-digit temperatures and sometimes even triple-digit heat indices to go with it.

Speaking of Instagram, I’ve posted pics of my buys from the farmers’ market in my neighborhood. My hauls are small potatoes compared to some of what I’ve seen people with at the one in my neighborhood, and the bigger one going on around the same time in another part of town.

Seriously, the last time I was at that farmers’ market was several years ago, and I saw people with literal armloads of stuff, while the cart or wagons they brought were crammed to the limits. Those hauls they walked out with had to be at least in the four figures, since some of what they bought wasn’t cheap at all.

When you think of farmers’ markets, what comes up? People selling homemade items? Baked goods? Or better yet, how about local, fresh veggies?

Today’s observance is Fresh Veggies Day, and I can’t think of a better time to talk about it than now. We’ve arrived at Hump Day, and that means we’re at the halfway checkpoint toward the weekend and neighborhood farmers’ market time.

Fresh veggies and I haven’t always been friends, as sad as it is for me to even go there. Other people, fresh veggies have always been a thing, and always will be a thing in their lives. That wasn’t me as a kid. Whenever we’d go to the store, the produce department would almost always go ignored beyond the bagged iceberg lettuce salads.

School lunches weren’t much better. I remember back in the early half of elementary school, we had the option of getting something from the salad bar instead of the two hot lunch choices, but unfortunately the Powers that Be at the time did away with it on account of budget cuts.

It’s really sad, since I got the salad bar for lunch more than once.

My family’s idea of fresh veggies were those bagged iceberg lettuce salads, always with ranch, cheese, and croutons. They’d also get salads from the store, always chef salads with those sad looking tomatoes, the hard-boiled eggs and all the other stuff.

The veggies they’d get were the Brussels sprouts from the store’s deli, and they were boiled. The result was a container that stunk up the whole bag, leaving it to reek of sharts. Just writing that brings back the memories of finding plastic bags for trash cans, smelling of those dopey deli Brussels sprouts.

As I got older, I started broadening my horizons in the fresh veggies department. Since takeout was the norm instead of the exception, Subway ended up being my way in. When I went vegetarian in high school, I started exploring other ways to prepare veggies, learning how to prepare some of them from baseline zero, and even revisiting a few others.

One of the veggies I revisited was Brussels sprouts. Instead of that barfy boiled stuff, the recipe I found told us to roast them. That was when I hit pay dirt with those, and even now, roasted is the only way I’ll have them. Seriously, they smell like popcorn when they’re roasted, and seasoned up, it’s the best, imo.

Spinach became another favorite, be it in dips, as a sandwich filling, part of homemade pesto, or a side dish. Right now, I’ve got old episodes of Popeye on the Roku as background noise, and for some reason, every time they air Popeye, I get a hankering for spinach, haha.

My run with tomatoes wasn’t great, since all I ever saw them in were those chef salads and in cheeseburgers. However, when I found some heirlooms, cherry varieties, and even those that come on the vine, having them sliced up, salted and peppered became another favorite.

Before I lost the weight, it wasn’t out of the norm for me to use up a whole package of cherry tomatoes, a log of that fresh mozzarella, and some fresh basil I kept in an indoor herb garden at the old house. It wasn’t part of meal prep at that time, it was all in one sitting.

Now, I have a goal to have at least one veggie in my dinner. If it’s not fresh, canned or frozen ones will do. I sliced up those radishes in the pic above after I got back home from the farmers’ market, and I finally finished up the last of them a couple days ago.

Over to you, readers. What are your favorite fresh veggies? Has it always been that way, or was it something new to you until however recently? Sound off below, and let’s talk.

 

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