Without question, Summer is my favorite season. I love the heat, sunshine, even the humidity. Being able to be outside and enjoy a picnic in the park, a day at the lake or an outdoor meal makes my heart sing. Running in the heat, feeling the sun on my skin, my muscles warm and flexible - it's a feeling like no other. Then there is the Farmer's Market, a little slice of heaven in our neighborhood. Since the market opened, we have been going weekly and I have been so impressed by the variety available. Baby lettuces, a variety of greens including Bok Choy, Mustard, Dandelion and Kale, hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers, mushrooms, beets, zucchini, rhubarb, asparagus, garlic scapes, strawberries and cherries are all abundant right now. And the taste... this produce is fresh and flavorful. I am especially blown away by how good the tomatoes have been! Fresh tomatoes, in June, what a gift.
Our market is small, but the options are plentiful. We begin by perusing the entire market, walking from one end to the other, getting a sense of what is available. Then we head to our favorite farmer's booth and load up on everything that looks good including a variety of greens, lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers and what else is new this week. Chatting with the farmer, we learn about the growth cycle of the baby lettuces and that a strange fungus took out the recent crop so he won't have them again for a few weeks. His cucumbers are delicious, but he doesn't have any this week and shares that cucumbers have a very disappointing yield - the plant grows about 12 feet high but produces only a few cucumbers, I had no idea. We continue onto other booths, picking up a fresh bouquet of flowers, some mushrooms, a vegan/gluten free pizza crust, we sample tofu and pickles. I learn about composting and purchase a bucket to take home with me and I'm pleased to report we are off to a solid start, it's easy, it doesn't stink and we have less garbage - win, win, win.
When I arrive at the market, I don't have a plan to buy particular items. I buy what looks fresh, I taste items I haven't tried before and bring them home to experiment. Each day, I assess what I have on hand and pull together different combinations of ingredients. Some of my favorites so far include:
I'm looking forward to what this week will bring. What are your favorite items to pick up at the Farmer's Market?
Over the last two weeks, I have been focusing on eating mindfully and being present with my meal. No working, no multitasking, no upsetting conversations while eating. I sit quietly and focus on my food. I enjoy each bite and chew my food thoroughly. I find putting my fork down in between bites helps me focus on chewing. I notice that I'm breathing - full, deep breaths. Some days are more challenging than others and I want to look at my phone, or email or even flip through a cookbook, but for the most part, I stay present. This practice is teaching me how often I reach for a distraction and how much I hurry to get to the next thing - for what?
After my meal, I sit or lie down for 5 minutes and then walk or move mindfully for another 5 minutes. Sitting after eating has been the hardest part, but setting my timer helps, as does focusing on my breath. Interestingly, this practice is creating more space in my life.
It's prompting me to slow down and become more aware.
I tend to reach for my phone and listen to a podcast or manta music whenever I go for a run or walk. Yesterday, I left my phone at home and walked for an hour with my pup, Ollie. I felt more connected, more at ease and less hurried. Ollie seemed more relaxed too. It was a refreshing and peaceful experience.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.