Market Happenings: Thursday, the Lafayette Farmers Market is hosting its second Live Street Art Chalk-Off where featured local artists Elaine Waterman, Shelly Losness and Jessica Quintanilla will create chalk art that highlights the theme of #whatmakeslafayettegreat. Each artist will face-off to win a spot in the final competition of the season. The grand prize is $700 and a chance to have their artwork displayed permanently on Public Road in Lafayette. June’s winner was Eric Matelski.

And in Longmont, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, the Longmont Farmers Market will host its July Artisan Show, which will feature 20 artisans selling jewelry, pottery, housewares, apparel and more.

Fresh at market: In season now are apricots, arugula,  basil, beef, beets, bison, broccoli, carrots, cheese, cherries, chicken, collard greens, cucumbers, eggs, fava beans, green beans, flowers, honey, kale, kohlrabi, lamb, lettuce, pea shoots, peaches, pork, micro-greens, mizuna, mushrooms, radicchio, radishes, scallions, snap peas, spinach, spicy greens, spring onions, summer squash, swiss chard, tatsoi, turnips and tomatoes.

Lots of this, please: Stock up on that dependable, flavorful herb, basil.

Farmer says: As summer crops arrive daily, it’s always good to have a versatile go-to herb to help tie all the flavors together. Basil is your “huckleberry” for both flavor and health benefits.

Aside from its tasty disposition, it’s also touted to have helpful healing properties. Basil is known to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and an adaptogen, which has been known to help the body reduce stress.

Brown’s Farm manager Catherine Blackwell said she appreciates basil the most for its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

“It’s a natural dose from mother nature,” Blackwell said.

With basil having more than dozens of different varieties, the most prolific healing variety of the herb is holy basil, a Tulsi species. Then there’s the most common, sweet basil — one you might find at the market — which also possess some of the beneficial qualities. Blackwell grows both sweet basil and Tulsi varieties at Brown’s Farm.

Aside from the medicinal factor, she loves the floral scent Tulsi adds to flower arrangements. This will be the first week that Brown’s Farm has the Tulsi variety at its Longmont booth. Brown’s Farm has had basil at its stand for two weeks now and expects to carry it through the first frost. Blackwell harvests only the top node of the plant, allowing it to produce continually throughout the season.

Basil is readily available at all of our markets this time of year and can be found at most vegetable farm booths.

How to prepare: Garnish with fresh basil, or whip it up into a pesto with some olive oil, Parmesan and garlic. Blackwell said she likes to freeze pesto, without the cheese, and she can add the cheese in when she uses it during the winter months. You can even make your own oil extract if you’re feeling most adventurous.

Goes with: Basil pairs well with peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, summer squash, garlic and chicken.

How to store: Trim the dry ends off the stems of the basil and stick them in small glass water with the leaves up.

Boulder Farmers Market

13th Street and Canyon Boulevard

4-8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 2

8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Lafayette Farmers Market

400 Block of East Simpson Street

4-8 p.m. Thursdays through Sep. 26

Longmont Farmers Market

Boulder County Fairgrounds

8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Union Station Farmers Market

Denver’s Union Station

9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26

Basil Pesto

1 pound Basil (leaves only)

2 cloves fresh garlic

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: In a food processor place the basil leaves and garlic cloves. Start blending and add lemon juice. As the processor is still going, slowly add olive oil.

Once all of those ingredients are pureed to a paste, add in the cheese and pine nuts. Run until thoroughly mixed. Finish with salt and pepper.

Place pesto in a container and refrigerate. Once cooled, use on/in anything that you love with pesto.

You can leave out nuts, which makes it a pistou.

— Chef Matt Ochs, The Post Lafayette,


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