Mess O' Greens

At the local farmers market on weekends truck farmers from around the area show up with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh from the field, great quality, even better prices.

This first weekend in September we bought a weighty bunch of beets for $2.00. For some reason many of the customers were not taking the beet greens, so we got a big bagful extra just for the taking. A quick blanching and now there are three quart packages of beet greens in the freezer. Plus a whole big bowl of stems for juicing. And, 2 and a half pounds of beet roots.

Basil is at the end of its season and we got two big bunches for $1.00 each. Yield: 3 one cup packages of pesto base* in the freezer for later on.

When our friend David Wronski was a boy he recalls going with his parents to shop at the farmers market every weekend. The drill was a preliminary quick stroll around to get a fix on what was available, what was good, and the prices.

As regular customers there would inevitably be some sellers who were favored just out of the quality of the interactions. Nevertheless, the farmers market meant fresh quality at a good price. Sometimes your favorite stop would not have the quality and you then would go to another.

This summer we found one farmer whose produce we liked. It didn't hurt that his pretty daughter was friendly and treated us with kindness. But for the basil she didn't have such a good offering, so we went elsewhere.

But, we did buy most of our things from her. It's the farmer's daughter after all.


The food value of beets downgrades with long cooking, so be quick about it. Boil or steam whole beets in their skins (in thier skins if medium or small; if large, peel and cut into pieces). Serve cooked beets in bite size pieces with melted butter and tamari/soy sauce. A few grains of salt at the table for a little lift on the palate. The marriage of the flavors of beets and butter and tamari is ambrosial.

* Pesto Base: Basil leaves pureed in olive oil, a little salt. In the last wash of the leaves add some citric acid to preserve color. Later, thaw the frozen pesto base and blend with grated cheese and nutmeat, maybe some roasted garlic. Pepper to taste.