Summer is the best time for visitors looking to spend the weekend at my house. For one, the yard looks its best — all lush and green. There's also plenty of hiking and swimming to be done in the mountains where my husband and I live. And I have an excellent go-to hostess trick that I like to pull out.
Hint: It involves a trip to the farmers market.
The hack is just that, actually: A trip to the farmers market.
Usually, our visitors arrive on a Friday evening after work and dinner on the road on the way up from the city. We'll hang out on the porch that night, enjoying some wine and nibbles. We don't stay up too late, though, because the next morning we usually take a trip to the farmers market. We get a coffee and a scone from a local shop and then we walk around to see what's good. I almost always buy flowers. And my guests and I decide what to buy, that we can then turn into that night's dinner. (If my guests don't cook, they still usually enjoy a trip to watch me figure it out.)
I love doing this for many reasons. It helps out-of-town visitors learn the area and where their food is from, it gives us something fun to do, and it makes it easy to figure out what to make for dinner. The dinner, of course, becomes an event in and of itself.
The last time my best friend was up from the city with her husband, we found the best tomatoes we've ever seen (and I'm from Jersey!). So we decided to make our own pasta and a basic summer sauce of olive oil, garlic, and all the tomatoes. With other guests, dinner has been zucchini boats, veggie-topped pizzas, a giant salad with nearly a dozen fresh ingredients, and more.
The possibilities are endless at the farmers market and it's so much more entertaining to bring out-of-town visitors to a farmers market than, say, the local Price Chopper (no offense, Price Chopper!). Return visitors have even requested a repeat trip, which proves I'm not the only one to enjoy this little dinner-planning excursion.
Some Farmers Market Recipes to Inspire You
What do you do with out-of-town guests in the summer?