Farmer’s Market Shopping Tips with Caprese Salad Skewers
This Caprese Salad Skewers recipe is a light and fresh summertime treat to serve out by the pool, or as an appetizer for a casual dinner party!
When I know company is coming, I like to prepare my menu with the best, freshest ingredients, and make sure that my pantry and fridge stocked. The last thing I want to do is run to the store, so I keep several grocery lists. One is for my Costco run, one for a regular grocery store, and the last one is for the farmer’s market. I have my favorite local markets that I like to visit, because I know that I’m playing a vital role in supporting our local farms in the area, and then, of course, I go home with the freshest produce, direct from the source. This makes me happy, and it also makes me nostalgic, thinking of my grandparents’ farm that existed on Vilas Road (in Central Point). It’s sad when I drive by now, because it’s completely gone. The garden that used to be there … the garden … so lush and full of every fruit and vegetable known to man (that could grow on southern Oregon soil).
Anyway, life goes on, and now we have our humble city garden, but we have taught our kids about the freshest of the fresh!
Shopping the Farmer’s Market.
Here are a few tips for shopping that I’ve picked up, that help me with my cooking, in making good healthy food for our guests:
1. Boxes and bags. I try to bring my own boxes, or I keep extra tote bags in the car.
2. Shop early. I shop earlier in the morning to get the best, freshest pick of the day!
3. Linger and experience the senses. A farmer’s market reminds me of my grandparents’ farm. I experience the sights and smells of the fresh produce, and always take an extra “sniff” of the dill. In fact, I just brought home a large bunch and put it in a very tall vase next to my kitchen sink!
4. Know your prices. Sometimes you’ll get a better deal in the grocery store, but you need to weigh the difference in where the food is coming from. A few dollars makes a difference to everyone these days.
5. Ask questions. I’ve started asking questions about the fruits and vegetables, because I want to learn more about what we are eating. Or, there might be something new that I have no idea what it is, or I may know what it is, but I’ll ask, “how would you cook with this?” Sometimes I’ve walked away with a new recipe to try!
6. Beyond produce. I love the extra food items that are at the markets nowadays, such as jams, honey, maple syrup, chutneys and baked goods. The other day I was at a small stand in a driveway, back in the garage was a refrigerator filled with local cheeses, raw juice, meats, and specialty sandwiches. Oh, and did I mention the garden flowers? So pretty!
Caprese Salad Skewers.
I recently bought some cocktail tomatoes. I really love the size! They are bigger than cherry tomatoes, and not as big as a Roma or a Compari on the vine. They are the perfect bite, and this time I used small wood skewers to make Caprese Salad Skewers.
My favorite bread to use is a focaccia bread. It’s so soft and yummy!
And instead of basil, use romaine lettuce! Nice and crunchy!
This recipe is awesome to make ahead of time, pull it out of the fridge, and serve!
Don’t forget the final ingredient … a drizzle of balsamic glaze!
Perfect for a pool party … and everyone loves ranch dressing!
Do you have a favorite farmer’s market nearby that you like to shop?
Caprese Salad Skewers
- 1 loaf focaccia bread
- 12 cocktail tomatoes
- 12 small fresh mozzarella ciliegine balls
- 1 cup romaine lettuce leaves
- 12 small wood skewers
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Balsamic glaze (I use DeLallo brand)
- Greek yogurt ranch dressing (I used OPA brand)
- Using a serrated knife, cut focaccia into 1 x 1-inch pieces. Drain the mozzarella balls.
- To assemble skewers, stack a piece of bread, a mozzarella ball, a folded piece of Romaine lettuce, and a cocktail (or cherry) tomato. Repeat for 12 skewers. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Before serving, drizzle balsamic glaze on top.
- Serve chilled with a side of Greek yogurt ranch dressing.
- Optional to grill on high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, or until bread is light brown and cheese is melted.
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