Sadly, I have never really been a runner. My knees rebelled at an early age, around 14, and by the time I was 30, they made a clicking sound with every step. (I can never sneak up on anyone, dang it.) The good news is that there's no real pain, just occasional stiffness in those now mid-century joints, and I'm able to walk, both literally and hopefully, to my heart's content. I don't take that privilege for granted.
I walk with two dear friends almost every weekday morning. We walk when it's dark, and we walk when it's cold. We think we're tough because unless it's below 18 degrees or raining hard, we walk. We walk for a scant hour, about three and a half miles. Our feet work hard to keep up with our mouths as we solve the world's problems, admonish one another to let some stuff go, commiserate, and encourage one another.
We don't always get to walk on weekends, but about once a month, we meet on Saturday morning, changing our regular route to head to downtown Greenville. It's a beautiful walk through Cleveland Park along a bit of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and into Falls Park, crossing the Reedy River via the Liberty Bridge, with a view of the waterfalls.
It's pretty quiet in the early morning, although plenty of dog walkers, runners, and other folks are about starting their day. All the coffee shops do a brisk business, and we always reward ourselves at the West End Starbucks. This past Saturday, we headed on up Main Street to the Saturday Market. It was busy with local vendors selling everything from salad greens and strawberries to cheese, bread, and sausage. Open from May through October, the Saturday Market is one of my favorite summertime treats.
Fresh flowers, local honey, homemade cakes, herbs, and ornamental trees rounded out the offerings. I was sad that I only brought my coffee card. My walking buddy generously treated me to a pint of Beechwood Farms strawberries before we headed home.
The berries were so fragrant; I knew I needed to do something with them right away, so I concocted my own recipe for strawberry salsa.
I looked up recipes online, but they were all so different, I decided to just make up my own version. That make-up-my-own-version hasn't always worked out for me, but this time it turned out rather well.
Town and Country Strawberry Salsa
one pint ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
one-half pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved
five green onions, chopped whites and green parts
one-half red onion, diced
one-half red pepper, diced
4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or Stevia
Mix all ingredients together and let sit in refrigerator overnight or for at least eight hours. Serve with tortilla or pita chips or as a condiment for chicken or pork.
We enjoyed the salsa the first night with chips, but the second night I served it as a relish for pork tenderloin medallions, and that combination earned two thumbs up from the whole gang.
Do you shop at your local farmers' market? Have you ever made your own salsa? Did you watch the Mad Men finale? (Sorry, I just can't believe that show is over.)