Despite recent rivers repeatedly running where unwelcome, farmers continue to bring food to our tables. They deserve a standing ovation and a slow, purposeful round of applause. Let’s celebrate them with a visit to the farmers market.

Now is the time for one-stop shopping — farmers markets still have herbs, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies from cooler days past, but they also have tomatoes, squash and peppers, which have been thriving in the recent heat. And that’s just the tip of the grocery list iceberg.

Here in the Four-State Area, we’re in the sweet spot, the time of year when nearly everything that can be grown locally can be found at the same time. In other words, there is no better time to visit your local farmers market. Tables are piled high with all there is to offer.

Berries are booming, so take advantage. Find blueberries aplenty, blackberries (they go fast), and even black raspberries and gooseberries. While rhubarb is clearly not a berry, it is delicious in jams, jellies and pies. Grab a few stalks to chop and mix in with your cooked berries. While you’re there, pick up some local honey to drizzle on top. Simple pleasures.

The Webb City farmers market is open on the Fourth of July, so stroll through from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to pick up all you’ll need for the day’s festivities. There will be beef, lamb, chicken and pork available for backyard grilling, as well as all the veggies to go with them. Corn is a summer must, and it should be piled high at the market, but I hear it goes pretty fast. Arrive early.

Skewer chunks of meat with onions, new potatoes, zucchini and cherry tomatoes for grilling to really do your farmers market haul justice. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on fresh corn, throw that on the grill too.

You may as well pick up a bouquet of flowers and some baked goods to help set the scene. Herbed vinegar is a nice touch for the salad you’re sure to make.

And the quail eggs they have available will make the cutest deviled eggs ever.

Celebrate Independence Day by supporting our local farmers. Try these recipes with all the goodies available at farmers markets now.

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Elote grilled Mexican corn salad

6 ears of corn, husked

1/3 cup crema (or a mixture of half mayonnaise, half sour cream)

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1/2 red onion, minced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat grill to medium heat. Add the corn, turning occasionally until slightly charred on each side. Remove from grill and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Holding the corn by the small end, cut off all of the kernels. Place the kernels in a big bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Fold gently with a rubber spatula, seasoning with additional salt as needed. Serve slightly warm, room temperature or cold.

Recipe adapted from www.ohsweetbasil.com.

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Garlicky chard pasta with toasted bread crumbs

4 ounces dry pasta: linguini, spaghetti, etc.

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped

1 shallot, finely sliced

1 bunch chard, chopped, stems separated

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

Lemon zest from one lemon

Optional toppings: chili flakes, toasted pine nuts, pecorino cheese

Toasted bread crumbs:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup bread, crumbled and torn

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and saute for 3 minutes, stirring, until fragrant and golden. Add chard stems and saute for 2 minutes, then add rest of chard, gently wilting. Turn heat off.

To make the toasted bread crumbs, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add torn and crumbled bread crumbs and gently toast, stirring often. For extra garlic flavor, add another clove of sliced garlic to the toasting crumbs. Cook until golden and crisp. Set aside. Drain the pasta, and add to the skillet of wilted chard along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper, heating gently.

Toss well, adding a little more olive oil if necessary, just enough to lightly coat the noodles. Taste, add a squeeze of lemon juice and adjust salt. Divide among two bowls and sprinkle with optional chili flakes, toasted breadcrumbs and pecorino.

Recipe adapted from www.feastingathome.com.

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Summer chicken Parmesan

2 pounds thin-sliced (1/4-inch-thick) boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided

9 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

2 zucchini

10 ounces red cherry tomatoes

10 ounces yellow cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 lemon

1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes. Lightly whisk eggs. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour; dip in egg, and then dredge in bread crumbs. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of the breaded chicken, cook 2 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Transfer browned chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with remaining chicken, adding oil to the skillet if needed.

Top browned chicken with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese and transfer baking sheet to the oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese has melted.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to clean skillet and add zucchini. Saute for about 1 minute, or until slightly fork tender. Add tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and saute for 3 or 4 minutes, until tomatoes have softened and zucchini is tender. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked vegetables and toss to combine. To serve, spoon the vegetables over the chicken, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and top with fresh basil.

Recipe adapted from www.valerieskitchen.com.

Amanda Stone works in educational services, marketing and special features at the Globe. Contact her at 417-627-7288 or email her at astone@joplinglobe.com.

Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to amandastone31@gmail.com or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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