Wednesday August 01, 2012 | 12:47 PM

Here at the height of the summer, Maine's farmers markets present a rainbow of the freshest, tastiest fruits and vegetables. This was the view of one of the stands at the Portland Farmers Market this morning.

At this time of year, I always feel sad for people who continue to buy their produce from the supermarket. In most cases, the supermarket fruits and vegetables were picked days, and too often weeks, ago and then shipped across the country or around the world.

That's why it tends to rot so quickly once you bring it home. In contrast, the vegetables and fruits at the farmers market were typically picked the day before. This is why when a green pepper from the farmers market gets lost at the back of my refrigerator, it's still fresh and perky when I discover it three weeks later.

Sure, if you're looking for avocados or lemons you'll only find them at a supermarket. And supermarket produce can be convenient in the winter. But at this time of year, it doesn't make sense not to take advantage of the bounty and unrivaled taste of all this homegrown goodness, whether you choose to shop at a farmers market or farm stand.

Today's market offered heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn (both organic and not), artichokes, green (yellow & purple) beans, celery, fresh herbs, red (green & yellow) peppers, onions, garlic, eggplants, summer squash and so, so much more.

One of my favorite things from the the mid-summer markets is the new potatoes. These tubers contain some of the best potato flavor and because they're so fresh and tender they cook up in a flash and are perfect for the grill.

I also spotted lots of blueberries (both native and cultivated), raspberries, cherries, and blackberries at the market.

The Portland Farmers Market takes place on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Monument Square and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon in Deering Oaks Park. You can find a list of other farmers markets in Southern Maine here.

I hope you'll take advantage of this Maine-grown adundance while you can.

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 mgoad@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @meredithgoad


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