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Three summer sides you can make with farmer’s market produce

By Michelle Rogers, CPT | August 6, 2020 | 5 min read | Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition

Box of produce

One of the pleasures of living in North Carolina is our access to fresh, locally grown food. And by shopping at a farmer’s market, not only are you getting the freshest possible produce and goods, you are supporting local family farms by buying directly from the grower.

Shopping at a farmer’s market or produce stand may help you save money as well, since there is no distributor markup or importing costs that add to a product’s price at a grocery store. Some farmer’s markets even accept SNAP benefits.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has a website where you can search for farmer’s markets and produce stands in your area.

Here are three easy-to-make recipes your whole family is sure to enjoy. They are made from summer vegetables and fruits that are typically plentiful at farmer’s markets in our state.

Even after these items are out of season locally, or if you don’t live near a farmer’s market, you can still make these recipes. The ingredients can be found year-round at the grocery store.

Yogurt parfait with raspberries, blueberries, and granola

Berry Parfait with Yogurt and Granola

This delicious berry parfait is perfect in the summer when your favorite berries are fresh-picked in season. But it can also be enjoyed year-round, with frozen fruit that’s thawed.

A parfait looks fancy, but is simple to make. You really can’t go wrong with a berry parfait!


  • Berries or any fruit of your choice. Try with blueberries, raspberries or cherries; or cut-up peaches, pears, bananas, or pineapple. You could use just one fruit or a combination.
  • Vanilla yogurt. Make it healthier and save calories by using a low-fat, low-sugar yogurt.
  • Granola


In a bowl or glass, layer some berries, then two spoon fulls of yogurt, then a layer of granola.  Continue adding layers until your bowl or glass is filled. Sprinkle granola on top.

Yogurt parfait with raspberries, blueberries, and granola

Country Style Green Beans with Bacon and Onions

Honestly, is there anything that bacon doesn’t make even better? If your family typically shuns vegetables, give this flavorful version a try.


  • 1 to 1.5 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 bacon strips, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized sweet onion, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
chopped green beans


  1. Wash beans.
  2. Cut off the ends with a knife, or snap them off by hand.
  3. Cook the beans. Steaming method: In a pot, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Place beans in a steamer basket on top. Cover with lid. Steam for 7-8 minutes or until beans are tender but still a little crisp. When done cooking, remove lid and set beans aside.

    Or, you can use a boiling method: Add beans to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook uncovered for about 8 minutes or until beans are tender but still a little crisp. Drain, and set aside.

  4. In a large skillet, cook bacon until it is about half way done. Add the onion and sauté until bacon is crisp and onion is tender.
  5. Add beans to the skillet with the bacon and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.
Cooked and seasoned green beans

Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

Tasty on their own or in a salad, cucumbers are one of the lowest calorie foods there is. There are just 15 calories in a cup of cucumber. Nutritionally it provides 4 percent of your recommended daily potassium, 3 percent of fiber and 4 percent of vitamin C.

A version of this recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law, who’s a fabulous country cook, and we’ve made it every summer for as long as I can remember. It makes a great side dish for any summer dinner.

With this simple recipe, you can use the other half of the onion you used for making the green beans.

Cucumber and tomato salad


  • 3 medium-sized cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ of a medium-sized sweet onion, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


In a bowl, combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add cucumbers, onions and tomatoes; stir to coat. For the best flavor, make it a least one hour ahead then chill in the refrigerator.