I’m far from a morning person, but real food and chickens have changed this pull-the-covers-over-my-head gal. My favorite moments come from early morning rises. The chickens clucking demanding food, the sweet song of the birds hanging out in the tree watching the crazy hens, warm coffee in my hand. I love the quietness inside my home, alone in my kitchen making breakfast with fresh eggs, sipping my coffee in between whisks. Sweet morning moments.
Saturday mornings are very much the same. I rise early, caring for the chickens, cooking breakfast, and loading my bags in the car for the Saturday Morning Market. The excitement of the veggies stacked ever so perfectly keeps me going. My favorite stand, Worden Farm, serves the most beautiful displays of veggies, some common others more foreign. The desire always overtakes to fill my bags with multiples of everything–good thing I bring cash, limits! Have you seen my food budget? Let’s be honest, we all know I need limits. Thanks to the market, we’ve gone from a broccoli and noodles family, to one that experiments with new food, tastes, and textures.
After years of visiting Worden Farm at the market, I decided it was time to pay a visit, to the actual farm. Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to head two hours south to Punta Gorda. The beauty of the farm, rows of color edible flowers attracting bees, shoots of green kale, and sunflowers about to bloom. All I imagined and more. Wednesday was CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) day which meant a mini-market, games for the kids, fresh local seafood, cheese, and a sampling of delicious food made with produce from the farm. Beet and Goat cheese salad was on the menu, carefully spooned into little cups for guests to sample.
I’ll admit, the thought of beets in salad turned my stomach. (Recovering beet-hater. Remember? That’s me.) But the thought of crumbled cheese and freshly-picked greens called my name. I picked up a cup and took a bite. The glorious flavors of roasted, caramelized beets, crumbled cheese, and homemade dressing mixed together perfectly. Oh, I needed more of that. Forget the cups, just pass the bowl!
I’ll be sharing much more of my visit with Worden Farm and information on organics and farming, but to start, I must share salad. It would be a crime to not share such a delightful creation. A recipe that perfectly captures seasonal produce in a bowl, topped with a simple, versatile homemade dressing. I’ve added strawberries since Florida is overflowing with the sweet red goodness of berries. Strawberries and beets make the perfect combo. A salad even the beet-haters (or recovering haters) will love. I highly recommend big bowls, skip the little cups.
- 3 medium beets, peeled, roasted and diced
- 1 TB olive oil (where to buy)
- pinch good-quality salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 5 packed cups mixed lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup strawberries, diced
- Balsamic Mustard Dressing (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup olive oil (where to buy)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (where to buy)
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard (Honey Mustard can be subbed)
- 1 TB fresh chopped herbs: I used thyme, dill, and parsley (use any combo)
- good-quality salt and pepper, to taste
- Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 450F. Wash, peel, and dice the beets. Toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. In a medium-sized pan, roast the beets uncovered, for 20 minutes, until soft.
- While the beets roast, combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar (or container with lid). Shake the ingredients for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Remove the beets from the oven, pour 1/4 cup of the dressing over the beets and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the salad greens. Pour in the beets (with any extra dressing from the pan). Toss the beets and greens together. Top with cheese, walnuts, and strawberries. Add in extra dressing, if desired.
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