The best way I’ve found to temper my panic attacks over the fact it’s already August is to revel in the bounty at the Teton Valley Farmers Market on Friday mornings in Driggs. The soft hum of local musicians, chatting with friends, and sharing a sizzling artisan wood-fired pizza with my 4-year-old son is a sweet way to slow down a summer day.
Celebrating its ninth season, the market has developed into everything its founders dreamed of — a bustling cornucopia of fresh produce, beverages, arts and crafts, kids activities, and community bonding. Running from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through the end of September, you can get everything you need for a weekend of fresh, wholesome cooking, like the summery farro and roasted beet salad I whipped up for a potluck last week (recipe follows).
From our hometown CSAs, Cosmic Apple Gardens and Snowdrift Farm, you’ll find just-picked produce that’s traveled less than 10 miles. This week look for fresh berries, bok choy, summer squashes, amazing tomatoes, basil, and garlic curls. Teton Valley master gardener Al Young brings to market whatever’s ripe from her garden, along with unique baked goods such as rhubarb muffins or zucchini brownies.
Rob Dupres, an incredible cook, home gardener, and founder of the brand Chasing Paradise, sells jams, salsas, handmade beeswax candles, and fresh smoothies made with just-picked berries. (If you catch him with his carrot salsa made with his own chilies buy at least two. It’s addicting). Produce from Green Thumb Nursery and CWT/Ashland Produce travels a bit further, but they are able to offer a larger variety of squashes, tomatoes, pies, berries, stone fruit, melons, dried herbs and honey.
And then there’s the cheese, a remarkable selection for such a small community. You can choose from Teton Valley Creamery’s buttery cow’s milk Haystack, aged Yellowstone and renowned Sapphire Blue.
Larks Meadow’s savory aged raw sheep’s cheeses are cut right off the rounds along fresh spicy curds, and, new this year, Marianne’s raw goat’s milk chèvre, feta, and yogurt. Or choose one of each—only the most lactose-intolerant can say no.
Likewise, the gluten-intolerant should beware — the baked goods are plentiful. With all proceeds benefiting the local senior center, you can’t pass up a sticky bun, whole wheat loaf or oatmeal cookie made by health-foodie Sue Cicero under the “Cicerolls” banner. She does do gluten-free though.
Kevin Kirchner, owner of the new Big Hole Bagels in Driggs, has been known to make a guest appearance with fresh bagels and cream cheese to sample, and, as mentioned before, the fresh baked artisan pizzas with a thin, crispy crust topped with local produce and cheeses baked in the portable wood-fired pizza trailer are to die for.
Oh, and don’t forget a main course. HD Dunn and Sons’ angus beef from just down the road in Tetonia sells high quality cuts, artisan sausages and ground beef.
So be sure to stop by, slow down, and fill your bag with health and happiness. You’ll be glad you did.
Recipe: Farmer’s Market Farro Salad
Summary: The nutty, wholesome flavor of farro stands up well to strong cheeses and bitter greens. The beets turn it a lovely pink color. Chopped nuts add protein. Farro is a nutty Italian grain from Tuscany that only recently has become a staple in grocery stores. Find it pre-packaged at the Jackson Whole Grocer and at Broulims in Driggs in the bulk food section. You can substitute spelt.
- 3 cups farro
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 large beets and greens, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon fennel herb, chopped and/or 1/2 cup fennel root, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves or 1/4 cup garlic curls, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, more to taste
- 4 to 6 ounces crumbled feta; I used Marianne’s raw goat milk feta
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs like basil, oregano, mint, sage, and parsley
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds or pine), toasted
- Combine the beets, greens, garlic, onion and fennel or other fresh herbs with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet, and roast in a hot oven (400 F) until beets are soft. In the meantime, bring chicken stock to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add farro and cook until soft, about 45 minutes. Let sit ten minutes to fluff, and then drain any remaining liquid.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs.
- In a serving bowl, combine the farro with the roasted beet mixture, vinaigrette and cheese. Top with roasted nuts and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Variations: Substitute kale or braising greens for the beet greens. Blue cheese, especially Sapphire Blue from Teton Valley Creamery, would also be a great addition.
Number of servings (yield): 12