Farmers' Market Share: Haricots Verts Salad

Alissa Nelson
I'm such a superficial produce buyer. If something is even remotely colorful or eye-catching or cute, I go nuts. (No, seriously, don't even get me started on cute.) So when I walked up to the Deep Mud Farm stand at the Maplewood Farmers' Market this past week, I was a goner. I mean, there were color coordinated outfits, the most vibrant -- almost luminous -- beans piled high and A DOG EATING THE BEANS. My dog eats green beans, so it was serendipitous.

Naturally I picked up two pounds of mixed haricots verts and jaunes. (That means green and yellow beans, if you're like me and didn't take French in high school). Haricots verts are slim, delicate beans, with almost none of the tendency towards woodiness of normal green beans. These specimens in particular were snappy and flavorful and just plain cute to look at. See, there I go again.

Alissa Nelson
Eat your heart out, Kingsolver.
Much like my food shopping, my seed shopping this winter was a study in optimism and superficiality. Of course, I could grow five different kinds of weird heirloom beans in one of my newly weeded beds. Thanks to Iowa's Seed Savers, I found the gorgeous Christmas lima beans featured on the cover of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Despite some early success this spring, the early heat wave did a number on my bean plants, and my only significant yield came from the lima beans: all of one cup. Small victories, you know? So I wasn't going to make any great dents in world hunger -- or really even household hunger -- with these beans, but at least I could use them.

Between the beans and September's French New Wave film series at Webster, I was on a roll. I was thinking shallots and lemon juice and adorable songs and bike rides through the country. Somehow, I managed to fulfill three and a half out of four, since my bike rides didn't take me any further out of the city than Maplewood. This also makes me wonder what will happen if I get inspired to cook by District 9...paella?

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