photograph by Johnny Autry

Visiting a farmers market packed with the bounty of a North Carolina summer is enough to motivate even the reluctant cook to head for the kitchen. If you’re not sure what to make with your market finds, talk to the farmers. They know their produce and are happy to share great recipes and tips. Another good place to start would be with these four recipes.

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pepper, Peach, and Sweet Onion Toppings
Yields: 4 servings.

For pork:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pound (approx.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

For topping:
1 large red bell pepper, core removed and quartered
2 medium ripe peaches, halved and pit removed
1 small sweet onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon

Preheat outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-hot.

Prep the pork: Spread olive oil over tenderloins, and rub with brown sugar and cumin; season liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, toss pepper, peach, and onion segments together with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Carefully place the dressed segments on the hot grill. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until all segments are slightly charred and just softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool on cutting board.

While the topping ingredients cool, carefully place prepared tenderloins on grill and cook, turning occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until done to your liking. Remove from grill, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest while finishing the topping.

Dice the charred and cooled pepper, peach, and onion, and transfer to a medium-size bowl. Toss with lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

Slice cooked pork, and serve with prepared topping and fresh greens such as arugula.

Tomato Gazpacho
Yields: 4 servings. 

4 large tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 medium mild pepper or bell pepper, cored and diced
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cups tomato juice
1 cups water
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder

Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

Sauteed Zucchini and Squash with Basil and Cheese
Yields: 4 servings. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large zucchini, cut into 1/3-inch slices
2 large yellow squash, cut into 1/3-inch slices
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and squash slices. Season with salt and pepper; stir. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice and basil. Transfer to serving platter, and top with cheese; serve.

Sauteed Corn with Greens
Yields: 4 to 6 servings. 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
about 4 cups fresh corn kernels
about 5 cups fresh delicate greens, like arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or basil
juice of 1 lemon

Melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add corn; season with salt and pepper, and let cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add greens, and cook about 1 to 2 minutes to wilt. Remove pan from heat, and stir in mint and lemon juice. Season again with salt and pepper; serve.