Wednesday June 20, 2012 | 08:28 AM

Today's first day of summer coincides with the Wednesday farmers market in Portland's Monument Square, and the stands are beginning to plump up and overflow with produce. The summer market always starts up with lots of greens and plenty of seedlings, but little else in the way of farm-fresh produce. Now even if the calendar didn't tell us it's summer, the market proclaims it loud and clear.

Of course strawberries are the flashy star of the moment. Shoppers have been able to pick them up for the last couple weeks, and there are many vendors offering them at today's market. These conventionally grown ones are selling for $3.50.

For $3 more, you can pick up these organically-grown beauties.

The market is also bursting with tempting vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, all kinds of cabbages, fennel, garlic scapes, scallions, turnips, radishes and all manner of greens from kale to red lettuce.

Of course, all the winter and early spring staples can still be found at the market. These include eggs (both chicken and duck), cheeses (both goat and cow), lots of varieties of frozen meat, greenhouse tomatoes and even this Maine-grown and milled whole wheat flour and rolled oats.

The market runs until 2 p.m. today and then sets up again from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday in Deering Oaks Park. Since the Time & Temperature building is already telling us it's over 80, you might want to head out sooner rather than later to celebrate this first day of summer at the market.

About the Author

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

Meredith can be contacted at 791-6332 or
On Twitter: @meredithgoad

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