You might have noticed I am having a lot of fun exploring the farmer’s markets in Geneva. They are everywhere! I was walking through my favourite park on Thursday and I took a different turn than I normally do and, oh look, there’s a farmer’s market, set up at the park every Thursday from 4 am to 2 pm (I chuckled at the idea of being there at 4 am, but I suppose farmers are on a different time schedule. Also, the incredibly healthy Swiss who probably get up at 4 to go for a jog than stop at the market to grab some fresh fruit for breakfast. Will not be joining this group.)
My new mission is to try to buy and eat seasonally. You hear about this all the time and now seems like the perfect time to get into seasonal produce. The only problem is I don’t really have any clue what is actually in season. The markets offer some insight into this, but there are products shipped in from elsewhere, and I want to eat what is seasonal and local. For example, while pineapple might be in season right now, it’s not something that people are growing in their backyards. Pineapple probably better gotten at grocery store, then.
I wanted to get a solid list of what is seasonal and when, without having to do any research into this. Luckily, someone already did. I found this great blog where someone has put in the legwork for exactly what I needed: WiseBread. So, with this list in hand, I headed to my weekly Saturday excursion to the Carouge market.
This market is fantastic. It’s not just produce available, but meat and food trucks and patisseries and olives and spices and wine. Lots of wine! There are impromptu wine bars set up next to stalls as people go to buy a local bottle, then settle in to drink it there. Yesterday we passed a group eating a giant cheese fondue with bottles of wine around them. Love the Genevois.
One of our favourite stands is the cart of fromage, packed plentifully with so many types of cheeses, most of which I have never heard of. We usually spend way too much money each week as we peruse the selection. I have never seen this many types of cheeses all in one place before. Don’t let the picture fool you – the stall goes on and on!
So this week, according to my seasonal list, the appropriate fruits and veggies to get are: rhubarb, zucchini, cherries and apricots, so that’s exactly what I did. I like this seasonal list because I think it does correspond to what is in season here (although I think the original is from San Francisco?). The seasons line up from there to here. This list would not work in, say, Calgary, where nothing is local and seasonal until about August, then it’s all done a week later.
Now that I have my abundance of produce, and my little fridge is full to bursting with fresh goods, I have to work on making sure nothing spoils. I immediately cut up the rhubarb and put it in the freezer – this will come out later on in the summer as more and more fruit ripens to make crisps and such. The cherries aren’t hard – they disappear as quickly as I can bring them out of the fridge. So delicious!
My culinary needs are focused on the zucchini and the apricots. By the way, I’ve never had a fresh apricot before. I’ve only had the dried stuff, which is fine, but nothing that I’d get excited about eating. These apricots, though, with that gorgeous sunset-orange colour with just a hint of blush, are so amazingly ripe and juicy, I’ve never had anything quite like it. Excited to eat more of them.
Last night I decided to cook up some zucchini. Z is suspicious of zucchini – he’d never say it definitively out loud, but he really doesn’t like them. So to make them more palatable, I put them in a form that he does enjoy – chips!
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
2 zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup flour
tsp each of salt, pepper, oregano, other spices you’d like to include, I put in some onion salt
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450F (220C)
Mix together cheese, flour and spices
Dredge zucchini rounds in milk, then coat in cheese flour mix
Place on cookie sheet, covered in foil
Bake for 30 minutes
End result: delicious. For me, anyway. Z is still suspicious of zucchini and I ate the whole thing myself. Probably problematic, but if in the end I’m eating two zucchini, surely there must be some kind of health benefit? I’ll keep on trying to make something healthy and delicious, that even the men in my life can enjoy.