This is the time of year when we do less “cooking” and more “not screwing up beautiful ingredients”. My mind is starting to wander towards little composed salads, whatever looks good piled onto crusty grilled crostini and golden fruit galettes. We heeded the call of the farmers’ market this weekend and nabbed our first juicy tomatoes of the season, deep red pluots, the last cherries (short season — we even missed our U-Pick tradition), and lots and lots of apricots. My kids go especially nuts for apricots and the good ones can be hard to find — so many of them can be mealy, bruised, or flavorless. I feel like when you come across truly great apricots you should always buy twice the amount that you think you should and throw in a little happy dance to celebrate your good luck.
My Favorite Farmers’ Market Tip…..
After years of buying gorgeous (and sometimes expensive, but worth it) summer fruit at the farmers’ market only to come home to find it squashed and bruised from transport, now I always bring a flat cardboard box to transport delicate items. My favorite fruit box is one that came with a flat of peaches I bought at Trader Joe’s. This one has been saved from the recycling bin numerous times, but it keeps on ticking. (Perhaps we should give it a facelift inspired by Ria’s Fruit Box). What’s great about it is that it’s super sturdy, has a plastic insert which cups each fruit, a loosely fitting plastic cover, and high enough sides that allow you to stack another box on top. In this box, your fruit will travel in the lap of luxury and will arrive home as beautiful as when you bought it. While this is perhaps the Mercedes of recycled fruit boxes, any shallow, study box will do and be sure to tuck in some scrunched up paper towels to provide a little cushion for your fruit. Also in my farmers’ market essentials kit is a small paring knife (tucked into an edge guard which totally worth the couple dollar investment) and plenty of napkins. It’s impossible not to want to dig into a big juicy peach when you have one in hand and it’s so much nicer/easier/neater to share when you can hand out slices to your hungry fruit lovers.