Homer Farmers Market: Liven up your salads

I have a friend visiting right now who is on a quest to make salads beautiful. It’s not hard to do at this time of the year. It’s been inspiring to remember that “salad” doesn’t have to be just a bowl of greens. And luckily, she isn’t the only one.

Walking around the Homer Farmers Market, I started noting that every booth was in on the quest for beautiful salads. Rick Steffen had bright green of lettuce staggered with the dark maroon of another variety. Dan and Luba had their bunches of dark green spinach mixed in with the brilliant purple of orach.

Then then are the flowers. Lori at Synergy Gardens has bouquets of edible flowers at her booth ready to sit on your table or go into your salad. Christina at the Snowshoe Hollow also had an impressive display of colorful flowers that just make you want to take a photo of her booth, which many do. And Colleen Powers goes beyond just rose water and all her herbs; this week she has jars and jars of different flowers from her herb garden.

So what flowers are good to put into your salad? First off, you don’t have to pluck the entire flower, like in the case of roses. Just scatter those brilliant pink petals in, around and on top. You can use marigolds, borage, violas, nasturtiums and any of the flowers from veggies and herbs that have bolted like arugula, mustards or other brassicas.

If you have a home garden that has already bolted, then you know how impressive it is to have salad available all season down at the market. Carey at Homer Hilltop Farm has a touch of advice if you would like to keep your salads coming in for the rest of the season: Aug. 1 is the last good time she has found to get salad seeds in the ground and still get a successful late season harvest of greens.

So come on down to the Market on Ocean Drive this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. and liven up your salads this week.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.