By Barry Barbe

One of my favorite summer past times is visiting the Prescott Farmer’s Market, which I never do often enough. Generally when I visit, I’m on a mission — sourcing fresh greens and vegetables for the weekend features or grabbing our weekly order of mushrooms or other items.

Lately though, I’ve tried to slow the pace and appreciate how fortunate we are to have this collection of farmers, bakeries and vendors only a couple of miles from downtown Prescott.

If you haven’t been this season, there is a huge selection of not only produce, but tamales, samosas, bagels and, yes, coffee and kombucha.

Shelli’s Sisters make what I think is the best shortbread cookie I have ever had, along with a selection of oversized gourmet cookies and super tasty granola.

One booth over, Shadow Valley Harvest offers a wide selection of mushrooms. King mushrooms are great on their own, but slice them into 1-inch-thick circles, and you have a vegan “Scallop” that can be prepared as if they were sea scallops. King mushrooms are also a great substitute for shredded pork or chicken when sautéed or roasted. Don’t miss the clusters of oyster mushrooms, shitake, and lion’s mane, which takes a little more practice to appreciate its subtle flavor. The secret item here is the dried mushroom powder; add it to stock or soup, or to ground beef when making burgers to grill out.

Everyone knows Priscillah and her Safari Samosas, a flaky crust triangle with beef, chicken or vegetable fillings. Seasoned with an array of aromatic spices including curry, cumin and turmeric, these deep-fried pockets are a great snack as you peruse the market.

There is a convenient secret to the market. The walk about breakfast buffet, noshing on fresh bagels, quiche, gluten-free pastries, Lebanese Specialties, Edible Earth Kombucha, and Camp Grounds Coffee, along with others. If ya’ get there a little later, make it brunch.

The last couple weeks, the market has yielded a plethora of root vegetables, greens and herbs. Nice and sweet baby golden beets at one of the booths on the north side, can be prepared with a quick pickle recipe of apple cider or white balsamic vinegar, a little sugar, salt, tarragon or thyme; great with goat cheese and honey.

Check out the jams at Urban Orchards — we’re using their Cherry Amaretto Jam on baguette with prosciutto and shaved parmesan with balsamic reduction.

Large, sweet blackberries are in season and can be found at Mortimer’s Farm located in the corner of the lot.

One of the best things about the market are “new finds,” ingredients you have never used or perhaps not even heard of. Take the time to talk to the farmers and learn the difference between chicken and duck eggs, or how best to prepare a new vegetable.

Ask Cory at Whipstone Farms how to prepare kohlrabi — a hearty vegetable that has hints of cabbage and jicama with a bit of turnip spice. This unassuming vegetable can be used in a variety of manners, boiled and pureed, sliced and roasted, or simply cubed and sautéed with a bit of olive oil and lemon zest.

White turnips are in abundance and make a simple summer side dish when quartered and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep the greens to add to a salad, or sauté and toss with pasta.

Broccolini, once my least favorite vegetable is finding its way onto many of our plates. Long thought as a cross between broccoli and asparagus, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Very little prep is involved with this unique looking vegetable. Trim off a bit of the larger leaves, and blanch in salted water being sure to put them in an ice bath immediately. Now you can quickly grill ’em, or sauté with brown butter, shallots and lemon. Be sure to not overcook, which is the major reason I detested it for so long. You wanna keep a bit of snap in the stalk to keep the flavor.

Fresh flowers are everywhere with everything from wild flowers, snap dragons, and calla lillies.

Not hungry? Pick up a half dozen tamales for later, or steaks from K4 Gourmet Beef, L Bell Ranch, and more.

All the while catch up with folks you haven’t seen for a while. Listen to casual live music, watch and learn from the Chef Demo, or sit under one of the shade tents provided and sip Pineapple Horchata to cool off.

I forget about the market sometimes, and then when I revisit it, I regret I don’t go more often. Social, educational and nourishing all at the same time. And breakfast along the way.

The Summer Prescott Farmers Market is every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Miller Valley Parking Lot, 900 Iron Springs Road. Visit Prescottfarmersmarket.org.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

Prespalette@gmail.com.

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