I love our local Farmer’s Market, located under the pavilion at King Jack Park in Webb City. The sights and scents of the market always inspire me to eat healthier. And the general busyness, the vendors showing off their fresh produce and homemade goodies, and the live music near the front of the pavilion creates a fun and lively atmosphere.
The Farmer’s Market is open three days a week: Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00, Friday 11:00 – 2:00 and Saturday 9:00 – noon. This is the third week the market has been in spring/summer operational mode and yet today was the first opportunity I’ve had to make it by. My first for today, since I’ve visited the market many times, was to purchase and prepare something new…something I’d never tried before.
I enjoyed wandering up and down the aisles on either side of the pavilion, looking over the spring produce and searching for a vegetable I’ve not purchased or eaten before. I saw a variety of lettuces, spinach, kale and onions. One vendor was selling strawberries. Another had greenhouse tomatoes. I stopped to admire hanging baskets full of petunias but decided not to purchase any plants today.
At last I stopped before a table with the usual spring produce. However, a couple of not so usual vegetables had caught my eye. The Chinese broccoli, with its long stalks and yellow flowers, looked more like an herb than a vegetable. Also called Gai Lan or Chinese Kale, this dark green veggie is high in dietary fiber and potassium and a serving contains 41% of our daily recommended vitamin C and 28% of vitamin A. It also contains iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6. This is one healthy food!
I had heard of bok choy, but I had never bought it, prepared it or eaten it before. Also called Chinese cabbage, a serving of bok choy provides a whopping 62% of the daily suggested amount of vitamin A and 52% of vitamin C. It is also high in dietary fiber, potassium, calcium and vitamin B-6. As I stood there, I was imagining the health benefits of preparing these two powerful vegetables together.
I asked the friendly young woman behind the table how to best cook these vegetables. She suggested several methods but when she said “stir fry”, I said, “I’ll take some of each!” I also purchased a couple of red tomatoes and then headed home to try my new veggies. After washing and chopping the bok choy and Chinese broccoli, I stir fried them together in a little olive oil. Seasoned with salt and pepper, I added them to my dinner plate along with the sliced tomato and cold left over chicken.
I was hoping I liked these healthy veggies. After a careful forkful the verdict is….I do! The bok choy reminded me of brussel sprouts, which I also happen to like, and the Chinese broccoli had a mild broccoli like flavor. The Chinese broccoli was especially fun to cook, flowers, leaves and all and even more fun to eat! And I swear, I felt healthier immediately! I will be a frequent visitor to the Webb City Farmer’s Market. With my new emphasis on eating whole foods, this is the perfect place for me to shop. Here’s to a healthy, bountiful summer!