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Vegan 101: How to Try a Wider Variety of Vegetables

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The vegetables in the accompanying photo came from the Historic Downtown Overland Park Farmers Market earlier this month. You are likely familiar with all of them and already include them in your vegan meals.

The asparagus, beets, and leaf lettuce shown in the photo are from the Samyn Farm in Mound City, owned and farmed by Ed and Debbie Samyn. Their asparagus, both green and purple, is absolutely delicious. If you have no idea what to do with fresh asparagus, many easy, delicious vegan recipes are available, such as those that have appeared here over the years, spring asparagus risotto, asparagus tofu soup, and grilled asparagus pesto (this recipe is not gluten-free). The Samyns expect the asparagus crop to be done by the end of June, so now would be the time to try it out. The beets in the photo were scrumptious, simply boiled according to Debbie Samyn’s explicit instructions years ago, cooled, peeled, sliced, and added to a fresh salad made with the leaf lettuce.

The zucchini and the summer squash are from Jarred Juhl’s farm in Wathena, KS, which also grows some of the best heirloom tomatoes. They will likely be available later in the summer. They may look strange, but they are worth taking a risk and trying them.

If you are near a farmers market, make it a point to find out when it is open and go every time to see what new produce is in season. And make it a habit to try at least one new fruit or vegetable each week or so while you are increasing your repertoire of vegan recipes. When you walk past a farmers market stand and see an intriguing vegetable, stop and ask the farmer to explain how to prepare it and serve it. You will be very glad that you did.

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