Chilled cucumber soup

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Chilled cucumber soup

People regularly ask me about the cost of food at farmers' markets. In many instances, the prices of comparable fruits and vegetables from a grocery store are more expensive. Organically grown heads of red leaf lettuce may cost $2.99 at the store and $1.50 at the farmers' market. Organically grown heirloom tomatoes are less than $3 per pound at the market but $5.99 at a grocery store near me. Peaches may cost 40% more at the store.

You rarely know which farmer grew the food you buy at a store. You can often meet and talk with the farmer at the market. The food at the market was probably picked the day before you get it so it even lasts longer in your refrigerator. You don't have to pay for marketing, packaging, and transport of the food from thousands of miles away.

Clearly, farmers' market food may not be able to compete pound for pound with the food you can buy at fast food outlets. The buns, the beef, even the high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup in those convenient little packages —  many of which get discarded unopened — all benefit from the Farm Bill subsidies. The cost is kept down because of the government payments and the food is cheap.

The price you pay, however, is not reflective of the true cost of the food. Long term, we all have to at least consider how the food was grown as well as the broader effects on the environment. Organically grown local food reduces harm to the planet. And it is good for you and your children.

So go to your local market and bring home a bag of cucumbers. Most of the varieties I have seen at the local markets are not shiny and waxed. You can eat them without peeling. Now, get ready to enjoy a chilled cucumber soup.

This one is good for when you have company as it feels special.

Servings: 4


  • 2 big cucumbers, about 24 ounces total
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt


  • Diced tomato
  • Diced cucumber
  • Chopped mint

Optional curry oil (this is a great addition but the soup is fine without it)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper


  1. Puree the first 6 ingredients. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
  2. Combine tomato, cucumber, and mint and set aside to use as garnish..
  3. If you decide to try the curry oil, heat the oil, curry powder, cumin, and red pepper in a small skillet over low heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Strain it. Garnish the soup as desired and drizzle a little of the curry oil artistically over the garnish.