Getting to know you: Local farms can hook you up with lesser-known vegetables

Getting to know you: Local farms can hook you up with lesser-known vegetables


A stranger is just a friend you haven’t yet met, the saying goes.

The same is true for the unfamiliar vegetables that will be showing up at farmers markets and in community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes this summer.

As the national movement toward eating more fresh and local produce grows, so does the need for more variety. Other, less nutritive foods are tempting if you grow bored with a limited roster of vegetables and recipes.

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage. // TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Pick Tennessee Products has new recipes at that feature produce you may not yet have tried, including bok choy, kohlrabi, jicama, fennel bulb, and leeks.

Many vegetables that are unfamiliar at farmers markets are actually items we already enjoy at restaurants, we just don’t recognize them in a fresh, whole state. CSAs often include recipes for whatever produce is in the box. At a farmers market, the best way to explore new produce is to ask the grower. Farmers are happy to share tips for proper storage and uses for that produce.

Having fresh foods on hand makes healthy cooking and eating more likely. Take time to identify vegetables you don’t recognize and experiment with a quick and simple recipe. Using local produce leads to eating seasonally, and many people discover they enjoy eating fruits and vegetables more when they are at their tasty best.

Pick Tennessee Products connects farmers with consumers. It is a free service, offered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Find Tennessee produce and farmers markets on the Pick TN mobile app and at Follow Pick Tennessee on social media for seasonal updates.

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