I love a good farmers market and am fortunate to have several near me. My favorite is the Nelson County Farmers Market. Open from April through October and involving a short drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints. The trick is to get there early and score a delicious chocolate croissant or blueberry muffin. The pastries are mouthwatering and range from muffins to pies, cookies, and artisanal breads. Locally raised meats, cheeses, vinegars, and vegetables round out the offerings. Produce is seasonal. In the fall squash, apples and pumpkins are plentiful. In the summer, berries, melons, tomatoes, and greens stock the stalls. My greatest challenge is to exercise self control over selecting the delicacies I have time to cook over the upcoming week. I often fall into the trap of my eyes being bigger than my appetite and time in a busy schedule.
On my most recent visit, I found blueberries for a snack, onions, kale, spring onions, and squash. Oh, and I scored my blueberry muffin! I was too late for the chocolate croissant. The larger squash I decided to serve as stuffed squash for dinner that night.
There are so many good reasons to shop your local farmer’s market. Fresh, locally grown produce and supporting the local business community are two, but my favorite reason is social. I always run into someone I’ve not seen for a time and get the opportunity catch up with a brief, or not so brief, visit.
This recipe may serve as the main entree or a side dish. At cook’s choice, you may include, or not, genoa salami, applewood smoked bacon, or prosciutto ham. When I add meat I use this as the main entree rather than a side dish.
large zucchini or yellow squash sliced in half length wise;
pecorino romano cheese;
salt, black pepper, basil, and oregano to taste;
panko breadcrumbs (Italian preferably); and
Scoop out the center of the squash and place in a bowl. I use a grapefruit spoon to do this. Make certain this is broken up. For larger chunks you may want to dice with a knife. In the bowl add the diced tomatoes, diced onion, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt pepper, basil, and oregano. Mix thoroughly and stuff back into the squash shell. Drizzle the now stuffed squash shells with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If you wish to add salami, ham, or bacon, cook, drain, and crumble into the bowl to be mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.
For me, this receipe gets added points for being both tasty and healthy.