Every year I wait anxiously for the opening of the Twin Cities farmers markets. There is nothing better. The smells, the crowds, the farmers and, best of all, the inspiration that comes with tables full of beautiful fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs, all make a trip to the market a must-do during the summer months.

While perfectly ripe tomatoes, raspberries and melons are definitely in our future, it’ll be many weeks before they make an appearance in our local markets. No need to wait to make the rounds, though, as early offerings are wonderful, too, especially if you’re looking for something in the greens family. Lettuces, chard, spinach and kale are all piled high on tables in June.

If you have been paying attention at all to what’s in the produce aisle in the past few years, you’ll know that kale has become the darling of the food world. Although adults are usually open to the wonders of this hardy green leaf, kids can be a bit trickier to win over. Of course, kale chips are a great way to introduce this healthy veggie to skeptical young ones (find my recipe for them at startribune.com/taste), but there are other ways to entice kids to give greens a chance. One of my family’s favorites is as a stuffing for calzones.

Mixed with flavorful turkey sausage, gooey mozzarella and creamy ricotta, the greens make a statement, but in an accessible way that will encourage a picky eater to try them again when they show up on the dinner table.

So go ahead, grab your reusable cloth shopping bags and head down to your favorite market. While the pickings may be green, they certainly aren’t slim (except in a good way).


Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.