by Ellen Olack, Green Student Intern | June 30, 2015
With two farmers’ markets and the Farmers’ Market Store in Oxford, it is easy to access delicious local food this summer. One warm weather staple available at the markets right now is basil. Pick up a bunch and try making pesto, a real summer delight.
Pesto has more uses than just a pasta topping. Use it as a dip, a substitute for mayo or other sandwich spreads, a topping for fish, poultry or even a baked potato – the possibilities are endless!
During the winter when basil is not in season, make pesto with parsley or fava bean leaves. Pesto also freezes well, but never heat it! Defrost it in the fridge or let it come to room temperature naturally. The color will darken as it ages and is exposed to air. You might miss the vibrant green color, but the taste will remain consistent. If you purchase basil before you’re ready to make pesto, be sure to store it in a cup of water on your kitchen counter. The coolness of your refrigerator will quickly wilt the leaves.
Summer Basil Pesto
2 1/2 – 3 cups fresh basil leaves (packed down)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 to 2 tsp. chopped garlic (2-3 large cloves)
2 Tbsp. pine nuts (can substitute any nut)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups olive oil
Directions: Blend by pulsing the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add the oil in a slow stream (you can add it through hole on the top of the blender) until consistency is smooth. Enjoy!
If you are someone who sticks to the same five or 10 recipes, consider incorporating a few new recipes into your meal plan. Wake up your long subdued taste buds with these delicious summer treats!
For simple, quick fix snacks, try these combinations that incorporate local, seasonal produce.
- A bowl of blueberries in the sweetness of vanilla almond milk
- Cucumber slices with a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seed
- Combine fresh fruit and juice then place in the freezer to beat the summer heat
- Slice veggie favorites, toss in olive oil and sea salt, and bake until tender
Mid-Town Farmers’ Market
Open Saturdays (7 a.m. – 11 a.m.) & Wednesdays (8 a.m.- 1 p.m.) May-October
From the Oxford Square, drive (or walk or bike!) north on North Lamar about ½ mile and look for the market on the left in the parking lot of the Mid-Town Shopping Plaza. Alternatively, you can take the bus, utilizing the Oxford University Transit Red Route, which passes Mid-Town once per hour on Saturday mornings beginning at 8 am during the summer and Monday thru Friday beginning at 6:15am.
Oxford City Market
Open Tuesdays (3pm – 6:30pm) through November 24
2650 West Oxford Loop, Oxford
Coming from Highway 6, take the Jackson Avenue exit on the west side of Oxford. Turn left onto West Oxford Loop at the first set of traffic lights and proceed until you see the big white tent.
Coming from central Oxford or Ole Miss, turn right off of Jackson Avenue onto West Oxford Loop at the Chevron station before you get to the Highway 6-Jackson Avenue interchange and proceed until you see the big white tent. Alternatively, you can take the bus, utilizing the Oxford University Transit Yellow Line, which will operate until 5:30pm during the summer with one bus running every 30 minutes.
UPDATE: Starting November 10, 2015 the Oxford City Market will take place at the pavilion (Old Armory) off University Avenue. Alternatively, you can use the Oxford University Transit Blue (towards Brittany Woods) or Red (towards S. Lamar).
Farmer’s Market Store
274 County Road 101
Open Monday – Saturday (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Sunday ( 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
From the Oxford Square, drive north on North Lamar for 2.5 miles. The Farmer’s Market Store will be on your right.