The PG Farmer’s Market and Carrot Top Pesto

I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday in PG and it was sad. It was not the bustling market of times past where I can’t walk five feet without bumping into someone I know, a high school teacher, a colleague, or someone from church. Where my 15-minute produce procuring errand takes an hour and often results in a beer with a friend. Anyways, I needed vegetables and really didn’t want to glove and mask up to go to Trader Joe’s. Or be indoors. And I like to support the farmers and get fresh, local produce.

I bought carrots, radishes, and beets, three of my favorite vegetables. I came home to clean and store them. The thing with fresh produce is it needs proper storage so it doesn’t wilt. I learned this the hard way but that’s a story for another time.

I steamed the beets and cleaned the beet greens and stalks. I soaked the radishes and separated the carrots from the carrot tops. I hate throwing food away. This includes lemon rinds, imagine what I could add those to…scones, walnut cake, cocktails; or egg shells, a dear friend of mine uses them to deter snails from her garden; or, in this case, carrot tops for carrot top pesto.

I laid out all the parts of my produce to dry and settled in for the evening with a gimlet and a writing project.

In the morning, after finding a trapped rat and calling the exterminator who was here within ten minutes…what a guy! I decided to make carrot top pesto before work. I fussed quite a bit with my food processor. It wouldn’t turn on and of course I discovered this after I had loaded it up with almost all of the ingredients. So I thought I would do it in batches in the small food processor I have but that was annoying and inefficient so I played some more with the big food processor and got it to work. Sometimes you just have to hit your kitchen equipment.

This recipe is heavy on the garlic. I like it that way but feel free to adjust if you want a less intense garlic flavor. When we’re eating a lot of garlic my mom always says, no kissing anybody today. Well, it’s a good thing I’m sheltering in place and not kissing anybody. Well it’s not a good thing but you understand what I’m saying. You can also use walnuts instead of cashews. I used cashews because I have a two pound bag I’m trying to work through. Also, I used radish greens because I had them. They add a peppery taste, which you may or may not like. You can substitute spinach if you prefer a milder taste or simply use carrot tops.

Carrot Top Pesto

Ingredients

  • tops of 1 bunch of carrots, about a cup
  • tops of 1 bunch of radishes, about a cup
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Make sure the carrot and radish tops are cleaned very well, they often have dirt lodged in the stalks. Also, make sure you dry them off.

Place the cleaned and dried carrot and radish tops in a (functioning) food processor with the garlic, salt, and cashews. Pulse for a few seconds. Scrape the sides down and pulse a bit more. With the food processor on, slowly add the oil until you reach the desired consistency. You will probably have to scrape down the sides a couple more times and re-pulse to get an even blend and consistency.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of carrot top pesto, which is great for dipping carrots or radishes in or spread on a thick slab of toasted good bread.

Enjoy!

carrot tops, radish tops, and garlic halves…don’t they look so happy together?
carrot top pesto

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