I went to my local farmers market a little before 10 last Saturday morning, and, much to my disappointment, most of the fresh-picked goods were gone.

Normally the tables don't clear until close to closing time, but, after a few folks walked by wearing numbers on their shirts, I realized what happened: A race full of runners had come by and snapped up all the fruits and vegetables. The nerve!

I Eat La.: Recipes for Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Strawberry Mint Salad

Honestly, I was excited to see so many people had shopped at the market. The more we support our markets, the more they can serve us. It’s a simple example of economics at its most basic.

I was triumphant, however, in nabbing the last two pints of strawberries for the day (I lurked behind a customer praying she wouldn't buy them all). Thankfully there will be more available on the next market day. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, strawberries are my favorite, and they are irresistibly sweet this year!

I Eat La.: Ahh, strawberries. The sweetest season of them all

For those of you who may have given up desserts for Lent, this sweet Strawberry Mint Salad will help ease your cravings. I used a few precious orbs of citrus I had left in the fridge to add a tart twist. Mixed with cool mint and silky honey, a cup of this light salad is just perfect for an after-dinner treat.

Today's column also features a recipe for Garlic Shrimp Pasta, which made a wonderful Sunday supper. The large, Gulf shrimp are sautéed in a light oil and butter sauce, then I added some fresh cherry tomatoes and flat-leaf parsley to give the dish color and depth. You’ll want to put this very quick and simple dish in your meal rotation for busy weeknights or Fridays during Lent.

I Eat La.: Farmers markets are going green with leafy vegetables

So, while a few tables emptied sooner than usual at the farmers market, I take it as a sign that the market is healthy and will be there when I come back. Maybe a little earlier next time.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.