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Picnic Season Recipes

by | Jun 29, 2023

Tommy Barbee Barbee Farms at the Davidson Farmers’ Market (Bill Giduz photo)


It’s picnic season! What better way to enjoy summer days and evenings than shopping at the Davidson Farmers Market (DFM) on Saturday, later preparing a casual meal for your friends and family, and then sharing time together. Picnics are easy and fun for the cook because everything is prepared ahead of time. For everyone else, the good food and casual conversations make for an enjoyable time.

At the Davidson FM try the new vendor, Street Farm. Both Ben Street and Mr. Barbee, at Barbee Farms, offer many choices along with many other vendors. Many shoppers have enjoyed Barbee watermelons for many years, and watermelon makes a great addition to any picnic.

Here’s a menu, perfect for the Fourth of July:


Farmers Market Past Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing 

Pickled Eggs

Sliced watermelon wedges

Blueberry Muffins


Farmers Market Pasta Salad

For the salad, toss together:

2 Cups cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes cut into wedges

2 small zucchinis, in thin slices

1 small red pepper, in thin slices

1 or 2 ears of corn cut off cob (no cooking necessary)

2 medium ripe peaches, peeled and diced

1/2 Cup sliced scallions


You have your choice of pasta, either 8 oz. of cooked penne pasta or 10 oz. of cheese-filled tortellini. If you would like to add protein, stir in 10 oz. shredded, cooked chicken, or slices of Lamb Salami from Sun Raised Foods at DFM.

Add warm pasta to the salad ingredients along with the added protein if desired.

Garnish with 1/3 Cup torn fresh basil plus 1 Cup torn cilantro or other greens.

Drizzle salad dressing lightly over the vegetables and let sit about 10 min.


Choose one of these two dressings:

Lemon Basil Dressing

Mix the following ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Fresh lemon juice, equaling a scant 1/2 cup

1/2 Cup basil leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 Cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt plus pepper to taste.

Add more salt if needed.

Leftovers can also be used as a marinade for cooking swordfish or other protein.


Parmesan Vinaigrette

Whisk together:

1/3 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon sugar.

Refrigerate any leftovers.


Another fun option for a picnic is pickled eggs that can be purchased or prepared several days prior to your event.

Pickled eggs with beets: Add to your hard boiled peeled 6 to 8 eggs , I jar of pickled beets, plus one cup of vinegar in a plastic container or large jar and let marinate in refrigerator for about 3 days. Serve egg halves & beets on a bed of sprouts.


Pickled Eggs with Beets

To 6-8 hard boiled, peeled eggs


1 jar of pickled beets plus one cup vinegar in a plastic container or a large jar. Let the eggs and beets marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Serve the egg halves and beets on a bed of sprouts.


Blueberry Muffins

1 Cup blueberries, coated with 2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Cups all-purpose flour

3½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ Cup sugar

1 egg

1 Cup milk

6 Tablespoons cooking oil

½  teaspoon vanilla


Whisk together egg, milk, and oil, then stir in dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 375˚ for about 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.


Paula Bell

Paula’s passion for foods began in Tennessee, where she and her family enjoyed entertaining friends and spending time together in the kitchen. Living in New Jersey for many years broadened her interest in ethnic foods and markets. It was while living there that she formed her own business, Creative Catering. She continues to find joy in cooking in her Davidson kitchen.

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