Visiting my favorite farm stand is not just about the overflowing bins of corn, green beans, squash and tomatoes. There is another reason I enjoy going there. When I was a kid, I had an inherent trust of people who lived and worked in my neighborhood. Perhaps this was a result of living in a safe place or perhaps it was just a blissful ignorance that is characteristic of youth. Now, don't get me wrong - I wasn't climbing into a car without my parents' consent or setting off to help a random neighbor find their lost cat or dog down a deserted alleyway. I did, however, believe that most people were fundamentally good and well-meaning.
During the peak of the summer growing season, I visit the farm stand about once a week. Sometimes the owner, Mrs. Jensen is tending the stand. Other times it's her daughter or young grandson. As much as I enjoy chatting with them and seeing their eyes light up when they talk about their favorite blue potatoes or their award-winning bread and butter pickles, my favorite time to visit is when the stand is left purposefully untended. I slowly walk from bin to bin, gently running my hand over the smooth skin of the eggplants and the crimson tomatoes, fresh from the garden and covered in a fine layer of dirt.
With my bag filled with enough vegetables to last my family for a few days, I dig out my wallet and move to the little shelf at the back of the farm stand, where those childhood memories of blind trust flood back. Perched precariously on a wooden slat is a large coffee tin, covered in a hand-written sign that says, "We use the honor system. Please put in your money and take your change." Why I am so sentimental about this, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's the Jensen family's deep trust in the friends, neighbors and complete strangers that stop by their farm stand. Perhaps it's the unspoken hope that everyone has more good than bad in them and, when push comes to shove, they will ultimately do the right thing. Whatever it is, I can't help but smile as I peel off the plastic lid and slip in my money.
The last time I visited the farm stand, Mrs. Jensen emptied the last of her green beans into my bag, along with several ears of corn, several zucchini, jalapeno peppers and a container filled with cherry tomatoes. As I drove home with my bounty, I set my mind to coming up with a new green bean recipe. Typically, I like to blanch green beans and dress them simply with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt. That day, I was in the mood for something a little different. Once again, I blanched the green beans and then plunged into cold water to stop the cooking. This time, however, I tossed them with some of the sweet cherry tomatoes and dressed the salad with a light vinaigrette that included lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil. While fragrant and nutty, the dressing didn't take away from the fresh taste of the vegetables, but rather highlighted their natural sweetness.
For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
For the greens beans, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.
Drain and immediately plunge the green beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and maintain the color of the beans.
In a large bowl, gently combine the green beans and tomatoes. Add dressing to taste (you may not need all of the dressing).
Serve or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
Other green bean recipes:
Cookin' Canuck's Green Beans with Balsamic Roasted Shallots
Kalyn's Kitchen's Green Bean, Tomato & Feta Salad Oreganato
Love & Olive Oil's Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing
Lisa's Kitchen's Creamy Potato & Green Bean Salad
Sesame Green Bean Tomato Salad
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound green beans trimmed
- ½ pound cherry tomatoes cut in halves or quarters
- For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
- For the greens beans, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Drain and immediately plunge the green beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and maintain the color of the beans.
- In a large bowl, gently combine the green beans and tomatoes.
- Add dressing to taste (you may not need all of the dressing).
- Serve or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
Brilliant summery recipe! It looks so refreshing.
Beautiful pictures. I love the colors of fresh produce. We've had an overwhelming number of tomatoes this summer in our CSA box, and this recipe look perfect! Will try it this week!
What a beautiful looking farm stand! And this green bean salad sounds awesome! I loooove me some green beans.
Barbara | Creative Culinary
I have to find a market in the area that is open tomorrow. Missed my chance today and just seeing these fresh veggies has me a little sad. I could almost become a vegetarian in the summer...well, except for burgers and ribeye and grilled chicken and...well obviously I struggle with that concept! But I love fresh from the garden veggies and fruit...these two look so beautiful.
very nice veggies... must be a great growing season up there... and nice bean recipe too, very similar to a tomato/green bean I do sometimes, will use yours next time...
Love the combination of flavors in this recipe. It sounds so delicious. Also love the pictures and story about your favorite farm stand. The veggies and homemade food look so fresh.
Wow....the Jensens's sound like a generous bunch. I love the 'honor system.' So rare in present times. I'm not a fan of green beans but I'll certainly be using this awesome dressing recipe for my normal salad!
Wonderful post. Lovely pictures.
I love the sound of this recipe. My first experience with a farmstand on the honor system was in California, and I felt just like you describe.
This looks so ridiculously yummy!
Hi Dara- sounds like a perfect summer recipe. Love the photos, as usual.
The lime and sesame dressing sounds lush! Will have to try this at home
Love the presentation. Looks simple yet great for a quick meal. Nice pics.
My mother-in-law just dropped off a big bag of green beans today - I think I'll be making these tomorrow night!!
This is summer in a salad. The green beans look so fresh and beautiful.
Chris @ TheKeenanCookbook
Another delicious and healthy summery recipe. I love it!
Where is that farm stand? I must pay a visit. The pictures are drool worthy as always.
Dara (Cookin' Canuck)
Thanks, Kelley! The Jensen farm stand is on 700 West in Draper, between 114th and 123th South, on the east side of the street. It's a great little find.
Dee @ Cocktails with Mom
Green beans are my favorite. I will have to try out this recipe. Great photo also.
Beautiful recipe with my fav dressing! Stunning photos too:)
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme
Such a sweet story, Dara. Back at my childhood home, we still have a tomato grower who uses the honor system, too. She puts her fresh tomatoes out with a can for the money and has faith and trust that her customers will do the right thing. And they do.
This recipe really spoke to me today. All of a sudden I'm feeling summer starting to slip away and I want to grab ever mouthful of farm fresh goodness before it's gone. I'd like a big bowl of these beans with a hunk of french bread and a bottle of wine for dinner, please 🙂