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Perfect Picnic Picks From Your Farmers Market

By Melania Gasbarrino | April 30, 2012

Photo: Alex Lang

Spring is a time for lounging around, getting your garden ready and picnicking in the park. Planning the perfect picnic is one of the loveliest things to do during the spring as with the cold winter days behind us, and long summer days ahead we all want to spend as much time outside as possible.

One of the easiest ways to plan the perfect picnic in the park is to stroll on through the Farmer’s Market, select some of the freshest fruits and vegetables available and take to your kitchen to create a few masterpieces. Of course many stick to the traditional picnicking basics of a creamy potato salad, peanut butter sandwiches, and cheese, grapes and wine, but why not expand your horizons to enjoy the fruits and vegetables harvested by local farmers? Think of this as a time to explore all the sweet spring flavors out there, all the while keeping localism in mind.

When fruits and vegetables are in season, you of course want to get your hands on them. These are just a few quick recipes you can create using fresh, locally in season fruits and vegetables that you can find in your local farmers market.

Here are a few fresh farmers market picks that can spice up your spring picnic:

Spinach: Spinach is the best when you purchase it fresh from the market. All you need to do is flash saute it with garlic, onion and ginger root, with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper for a perfect picnic side dish.

Fennel: Add a little crunch to your plate. Cut the fennel head in slices, and mix with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The licorice flavor is balanced out with these subtle seasonings.

Fiddleheads & Mushrooms with Couscous: Mixing couscous with sauteed fiddleheads, mushrooms, onion, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil is the perfect way to create a light side dish.

Mangoes: With mangoes in season you’ll want to make a quick mango salsa. Switch up the tomato base with mangos; add a Jalapeno chili, cilantro, chopped red onion, a cucumber and some fresh limejuice to give it a nice spring zest. Serve with some na’an bread or organic pita chips.

Potatoes: Instead of creating a creamy potato salad that’s loaded with calories, try this on for a change; add a few cloves of chopped garlic, fresh parsley, olive oil and sea salt to your boiled potatoes. This garlicky twist boasts a lighter tasting potato dish.

Watermelon: So technically watermelon isn’t in season until summer, although you’ll start to see some of them now in the market. If you can find a local farmer selling them than grab a melon, chop it into slices, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and chopped mint or basil, or simply eat them just as is.

What’s your favorite picnic dish?

Melaina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and as an avid environmentalist with a passion for focusing on healthy living. Having traveled the world and written about it every step of the way, she one day hopes to develop unique environmental educational programs for kids.

Photo: langalex

For more spring news and tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

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