As we anxiously await the arrival of Spring and the bounty of early season produce, let’s not forget some of the local ingredients we can incorporate into meals right now.

One of the sweetest seasonal treats available now at the Athens Farmers Market is pure maple syrup. Not only does the sticky concoction taste delightful, but it also offers health benefits. Maple trees soak up goodness from Mother Nature, which stays in the tree’s sugars. Real maple syrup is high in antioxidants and is packed with nutrients like riboflavin, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium.

Don’t limit your maple syrup use to your morning pancakes or waffles! Syrup can be added to a savory dinner entree for a new flavor. Try adding maple syrup to make a new sauce for your batch of chicken wings, or an apple-maple glaze for some grilled chicken breasts. Add some extra sweetness to your pumpkin pie or create a new festive drink recipe with this sugary substance.

Roasted maple-mustard glazed Brussels sprouts

Ingredients:

1-½ tablespoons lemon juice

2-½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-½ tablespoons of real maple syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bow, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix in the Brussels sprouts until they are fully coated. Pour the Brussels sprouts in an even layer on the baking sheet, drizzling any remaining glaze on top.

Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brussels sprouts should be tender and carmelized to your desired doneness.

This Athens Farmers Market Café is a collaboration between the Athens Farmers Market, OU COMCorps, a local Americorps program, and Athens County Children Services. Athens Farmers Market hours are Wednesdays (April-December) and Saturdays (year round), 9 a.m. to noon at the Market on State St. Parking Lot, 1000 E. State St., Athens. To help increase fresh food consumption the Athens Farmers Market vendors proudly participate in the following social service programs: The USDA Food Assistance Program, SNAP/EBT (food stamps), WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Participants can stop by the table at the Southeast corner of the market to get SNAP tokens to spend at the market.

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