Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager

Market Newsletter ~ June 28, 2016

June 28th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Because our market is so successful, I am regularly contacted by people interested in becoming a vendor at our market. This is very different from when we first started when it was difficult getting people to join us. Most often I’m contacted by email. Sometimes they tell me in the email what it is that they have to sell, but sometimes they just want to know how to become a vendor. I always return the email or call. If we need what the person has to sell, we consider them. There are some things that everyone must have in order to become a vendor. Everyone has to have liability insurance. Also, because we are in a city park, and the city doesn’t have insurance, everyone who sells here has to have a certain amount of automobile liability coverage. Then, if they are selling any prepared, or processed food, they have to have a license from their city or town’s health department. Of course the vendors selling alcohol have to go through many more hoops.
This year our market is full, so I am taking information and keeping it for future reference. Every year is different, so it’s helpful to have a list.

Frequent Shoppers’ Card

Pick up a frequent shoppers’ card at the market table, and every time you are at the market, get it signed and dated. Right now we are giving a small gift from the market to anyone who fills up a card. We may go to collecting cards and pulling a couple of names each week for a gift if giving out gifts to everyone becomes too pricey for us. This was CISA’s idea. I wish I could say that all of the good ideas are mine, but, alas, they aren’t.

SNAP Bonus

Those of you who shopped at our market with your SNAP/EBT cards last year, as well as this past winter market, know that you received a bonus when your card was swiped for $5 or more. This year, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has raised $100,000 so that they can not only increase the bonus to $10, but also make it available in Hampshire and Franklin counties as well. They also expanded their Senior Farm Share program. That program makes produce available to senior citizens at different locations. The cut-off date for that was June 1st.

Meet the Vendors—Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen

Auntie Cathie’s Bakery & Roadside Stand was born back in 2005 when she decided it was time to start her own business doing what she loved—cooking, baking, and spending time with the people who enjoyed what she fed them.
She started with a card table, a beach umbrella and a sandwich board sign by the side of the road and grew into a farm stand after the card table blew away. The rest is history.
In 2008 Auntie Cathie’s was booming in a little barn by the side of the road in Wales, MA, but she wanted more. After landing a job with a place in Springfield, baking all of their allergy-free cakes, and upon the recommendation of a friend, she was directed to the 3 Café for breakfast which was closed, and for sale. The rest is history. She bought the café, and in relatively short order outgrew the space. After a couple more changes, she moved to 217 Elm Street in West Springfield where
she opened Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen where she serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 8AM to 2PM. She specializes in gluten-free baked goods, and does catering as well. This is her first year with us.

This ‘n’ That

Put numbers on your house that can easily be read from the street. It’s frustrating for someone trying to find your home, but extremely important for emergency personnel to find it quickly.

Turn your phone off, or put it in the back seat so you won’t be tempted to text while you’re driving. It’s obvious that many people are texting while they’re sitting at a light, and who knows, perhaps when they’re driving also.

Use your car’s ashtray. The filters aren’t biodegradable, so they make a real mess if you throw them out of your car. Also, conditions are very dry now, so you could start a grass fire.

Please take down tag sale signs when yours is over. Take them down if you see them even if they’re not yours and the sale is over. I truly don’t understand why anyone leaves this visual litter around.

In terms of regular litter, please bring a small plastic bag with you when you go out for a walk. Pick up some litter. You will be doing a good deed.

There is no band concert at Stanley Park on July 3rd.

Don’t forget to go through your cookbooks and bring the ones you don’t use anymore to the blue bin at the market table. Your discards are somebody else’s treasure.

An easy dessert using strawberries—plain yogurt or sour cream and brown sugar. Have a bowl of each, dip the berry into the yogurt and then in the brown sugar. Delicious!

Unusual vegetable—Broccolini

Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli, but  with smaller florets, and longer, thin stalks. Often misidentified as young broccoli, it is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, both members of the brassica family. It was originally developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan in 1993. The entire vegetable is edible, including the occasional yellow flower. Common cooking methods include sautéing, steaming, boiling, and stir-frying. Its flavor is sweet, with notes of both broccoli and asparagus, although it is not closely related to the latter. Nutritionally it is high in vitamin C and contains vitamin A, calcium, folate, and iron. It is delicious.

Another vegetable is broccoli rabe. While broccoli, Chinese broccoli, and broccolini are closely related to cabbage, broccoli rabe is closer to turnips. It’s also a little bitter.

Outlook Farm Festival

Every so often Outlook Farm, located on Rte. 66 in Westhampton, has a festival where they have a pig roast and barbecue that features one of their agricultural products. On July 10th, they will have their cherry festival. They also have live music and a community tag and craft sale to browse or sell at. If you want to sell something, contact them directly. They have all the details at their stand.

Trinity Church’s A Little Night Music

Each July (this year it begins on June 30th) Trinity Church, the beautiful church right next to Forest Park, has several concerts. The music is in the sanctuary, and it is followed by supper outside on the lawn, weather permitting.
During supper there is always a carillon concert. The concert starts at 6PM. The music is free, but a $5 contribution is requested for supper. You can bring your own chair for the lawn, or sit at one of the tables that they set up. Everyone i is welcome.

Late June Gardening

When growing cucumbers (or buying them at the market) any young cucumber fruit will do for making pickles. Dill and cucumbers are like bread and butter; they go together. If you let the dill go to flower each year, the seeds will self sow. In the spring you’ll have dill all over, but it’s easy to weed them out. Dill is also an herb that is great for pollinating insects. They love the flat flower head for landing and foraging. If you’re looking for a shorter dill that doesn’t go to seed so quickly, try
“Fernleaf.”

Recently, to demonstrate the importance of pollination, a Whole Foods supermarket removed all of the pollinated produce that was in that store. Out of 452 items, 237 were removed.
A few facts I learned from a program about pollination that I went to:

• A queen bee lays up to 2,000 eggs a day
• Almonds are pollinated 100%
• 90% of blueberries depend on pollination
• Bumblebees all die
• Some flies are pollinators
Don’t clean up all of your perennials in the fall; leave some as nests for bees over the winter.

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Market Newsletter ~ June 21, 2016

June 21st, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

I read an essay recently about the power of hand written recipes. I am sure that those of you that have recipes handed down to you by a parent or grandparent, can recognize the handwriting instantly; I sure can. I might never make the recipe, but just looking at it brings back memories.
Perhaps the recipe was something you particularly liked, or perhaps it was one that was always at a family holiday dinner.
I make a cookie called Starlight Mint Surprise (capitalized because it is in the cookbook) that my grandmother used to make. Until the last several years of her life, she lived way out of town from us. She must have found the recipe in a newspaper because it was a prizewinner in the Pillsbury Best of the Bake-off contest sometime in the 50s. I know this because I have the Pillsbury Best of the Bake-off cookbook published in 1959 and that recipe is in there.
Whenever I make that recipe I think of my grandmother who was a wonderful cook. You can find the recipe online I’m sure. It is basically the chocolate chip cookie recipe with ½ cup more flour with a solid mint chocolate candy in the middle. I get the candy at Michael’s in the section that has cake pans, etc.
I sent these cookies to my grandson Evan who was in his first year at the University of Colorado this year, and I gave him the history also. Grandmas making Starlight Mint Surprise cookies. Gotta love it.
Garlic scapes are at the market now. They are the top of the garlic plant that are cut off so that the energy goes into the garlic bulb. You can use the whole thing. Sauté them with olive oil and use to complement potatoes or another vegetable.
Meet the Vendors

Trinity Farm is in its 4th generation of dairy farming. The Smyth Family has produced milk and dairy products since great-grandfather Richard Smyth began farming in 1912. The original farm was on Hazard Avenue (Rte. 190) in Enfield, CT. They grew tobacco, raised poultry and housed 46 milking cows. Approached by a local physician in response to a TB outbreak, Richard was one of the first dairy farmers in the state to begin bottling pasteurized milk.
Since 1984, the present farm has been located at the southern tip of the Enfield Historic District on Oliver Road. Purchased in 1984, it includes 20 acres for pasturing and hay, along with 2 cow barns, hay/equipment storage building and the dairy processing plant.
Michael and Dale Smyth (Mike is Richard’s grandson) added the milk processing plant to the farm in 1995, and have passed the operation to their children, the 4th generation of Smyths to continue to farm.
All of the milk and milk products (yogurt, butter, etc.) that they sell are from their own milk; they don’t mix their milk with anyone else’s.
They milk mostly Holstein cows which produce a larger volume of milk compared to other breeds. The barn was built specifically to comfortably house their large frame says Anne Dugas, a Smyth daughter.
The farm sells whole, 1%, and skim milk along with half and half, and heavy cream, chocolate, coffee and strawberry milk, butter, 5 flavors of yogurt, and kefir, a creamy, fermented milk drink.
The milk is bottled in glass bottles which keeps the milk colder, and fresher. They also offer home delivery in Windsor Locks, Enfield, Ellington, Suffield, Somers, CT and Longmeadow, MA.
Two facts that I’ve learned along the way—their cows live longer than most cows in large dairy farms, and the butter is yellower in the months when the cows are outside eating fresh grass. Also, if the heavy cream is too fresh, it won’t whip well. Needs to be about 2-3 days old to whip well. Who knew?
In addition to the farmers’ markets that they go to, they have a store on the farm that is open M-F from 6 to 6, and Saturday from 6-4, closed on Sundays.

What’s Happening?
Stanley Park is having its free Sunday night concerts each week at 6PM. Bring a picnic and enjoy both.

The Armory National Park is having a few upcoming events. This Saturday, the 25th, at 2PM, a program, Backyard Pollinators, with Ranger Susan Ashman and Old Sturbridge Village garden volunteer Charlie Peters, will discuss the importance of backyard pollinators. Learn what you can plant in your own garden to help these pollinators. The park is on State Street in Springfield.

On July 9th they have a full day of programming. From 2-5 enjoy a fun packed day interacting with Armory workers and their families. There will be story telling booths, tours of the buildings and grounds, talks from the curator on preserving and protecting Armory history, and a special Armory worker exhibit full of memorabilia. From 5:30-6:30 PM there will be dance lessons, and a big band concert from 6:30-8:30. Spend the evening on their historic grounds listening to Dan Gabel and the Abletones, an 18-piece big band.

Cookbooks

If you have cookbooks you no longer use, bring them to the market to give away. We have a blue bin at the market table to put them in. Bring cooking magazines also.

EBT/CISA Bonus

Each time you use your SNAP/EBT card at our market for $10 or more, you will get a bonus of $10 plus a $2 token from us. The $2 token is only to be used for produce, nothing else. The other EBT tokens can be used for food, or for plants that will grow food. We don’t sell seeds here, but you can use EBT for food seeds also.

WIC and Elder Coupons

We accept these coupons at our market. The elder coupons are distributed through senior centers, so call the one you have in your neighborhood and find out if you can still get some. There are never enough for everyone who wants them, so it’s important to call a senior center.

Please make sure that if you have any left over from last year that you throw them away; they expire at the end of October and aren’t good the next year.

Register to Vote

We have forms at the market table that you can send in to your town/city clerk to register to vote. If you have moved since the last election, you need to change your address which you can do with this form. I know that there are people who are so cynical that they don’t think that their one vote counts; all votes count. You know that there are countries in the world where people don’t have the freedom to vote, or if they can vote, sometimes their vote isn’t really free. Don’t throw away this privilege that we have in the U.S.

Salads
Almost anything can go into a salad. Try combining some vegetables like cooked beets with carrots, some goat cheese (a very popular combination), a little bit of lettuce or other green like arugula, scallions, a homemade vinaigrette dressing, and you are good to go. It’s pretty, you have different textures, and in a fine restaurant you would pay $10 or more for it. Toasted walnuts or pecans are also nice. You can dip the nuts in a simple syrup solution (boiled water and sugar), let them dry and voila, now your salad is $12.50.

Put some fruit in a salad. I like nectarines when they’re in season. Strawberries and blueberries are always good. They hold their shape, and they’re a little sweet which is a nice complement to the non-sweet ingredients. Use oranges in the winter.

When tomatoes are in season, use different colored ones. You don’t need more than that although some scallions are always good with tomatoes. Mix up your greens also. If you look around our market you will see many types of lettuce, far more than you will find in a grocery store. Use radicchio also. The maroon and white looks so pretty in the mixture.

Consider a Farm Vacation

There are many farms that have accommodations for overnight stays. This is a great type of vacation to take with children. Go online and you should find many places through`out the country. I took my children to Rockhouse Mountain Farm in Eaton Center, NH. FUN!

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Market News ~ June 14, 2016

June 14th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

This past weekend I attended what probably is the last high school reunion that my class will have. I graduated from Longmeadow High School in 1959. Ours was the first class to go all the way through the school. Because none of the classes were large in those days, we combined our classes (’57-’60) for reunion purposes a few reunions ago. A few of us from each class have been meeting a few times a year in between reunions. It’s been nice to keep in touch. Longmeadow was a small town, and many of my classmates had lived there since they were very young, myself included.

We didn’t have a 50th reunion so we also billed this one as a collective 75th birthday party.

It was most enjoyable. By this time of life any baggage we’ve been carrying around should be gone.

Our class had a book of essays from most of the classmates that are still alive, and information about some of the ones who have died. Almost everyone has had some difficulty in their lives. That certainly isn’t a surprise.

The father of one of my classmates died while my classmate was in high school. I hadn’t known that. My classmate became a doctor so he could help others not to go through what his dad did. Another classmate had a
second career as a minister. Lots of us have grandchildren which gives us great pleasure. It was nice to catch up.

It’s strawberry season. I hope that if you have never made jam that you will try it this year. It’s easy. If you have enough freezer space, you don’t even have to can the jam after it’s made; you can keep it in the freezer.There are different brands of pectin; I like the Ball pectin best. Make sure that you follow the directions exactly, otherwise it may not jell.

Get some heavy cream from Trinity Farm for your strawberry shortcake. Why not use the very best you can for such a fabulous dessert? Make your own shortcake also.

Cookbooks

If you have cookbooks you no longer use, bring them to the market to give away. We have a blue bin at the market table to put them in. Bring cooking magazines also.

EBT/CISA Bonus

Each time you use your SNAP/EBT card at our market for $10 or more, you will get a bonus of $10 plus a $2 token from us. The $2 token is only to be used for produce,nothing else. The other EBT tokens can be used for food, or for plants that will grow food. We don’t sell seeds here, but you can use EBT for food seeds also.

Kohlrabi

This vegetable is very popular in Europe, less so here. It is a member of the brassicas family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage, etc. It is eaten raw or cooked. It is very crisp so it’s terrific on a vegetable platter to be used with a dip. The flavor is a combination of broccoli stems and a mild turnip. You peel it and then go from there.

KOHLRABI FRIES
1 ½ to 2 pounds kohlrabi
1 T all-purpose or gluten-free flour
salt to taste
2-4 T. neutral oil
chili powder, curry powder, ground cumin, or paprika to taste.
1. Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick sticks, about
1/3rd to ½” wide and about 2” long.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. Meanwhile, plate the flour in a large bowl, season with salt and quickly toss the kohlrabi sticks in the flour so that they are lightly coated.
3. When the oil is rippling, carefully add the kohlrabi to the pan in batches so that the pan isn’t crowded. Cook on one side until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the pieces over to brown on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. The procedure should take only about 5 minutes if there is enough oil in the pan. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle right away with the seasoning of your choice. Serve hot.

KOHLRABI SALAD

Kohlrabi, carrots, scallions, cider or rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil, soya sauce or salt.
1. Peel kohlrabi and carrots, shred. Add scallions. Mix vinegar and sesame oil together, add soya sauce to taste. Mix with vegetables. Don’t drown the vegetables.

Gift Certificates

We have printed up some gift certificates that you can purchase. We don’t have the amount printed on them, so you can get one or more and we’ll write in the amount when you get one. You can also buy tokens and give those instead.

Summer Entertainment

New Century Theatre begins its 26th season this week on the 16th. They have 4 adult plays and one kids’ play. The plays are held at Smith College at the end of Green Street. Go to newcenturytheatre.org for details.

Stanley Park in Westfield has begun its Sunday summer concert series. They are held at 6PM in the new Beveridge Pavilion and are free. The park has many other programs also, so go to their website for their details—stanleypark.org.

The Majestic Theater in West Springfield also has a full summer schedule. Their schedule includes 3 plays for children. They have a café, so you can grab lunch or a light supper before the performance. Their website is majestictheater.com.

WIC and Elder Coupons

We accept these coupons at our market. The elder coupons are distributed through senior centers, so call the one you have in your neighborhood and find out if you can still get some. There are never enough for everyone who wants them, so it’s important to call a senior center.

Please make sure that if you have any left over from last year that you throw them away; they expire at the end of October and aren’t good the next year.
A Poem—What Will Matter?

By Jerry Van Voorhis, Class of ’59, LHS

Our wealth, fame, and temporal power will one day vanish.

It will not matter what we owned, or what we are owed.

Anything we harbor or yet need to make good will finally disappear.

So, too, hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists Expire.

Wins and losses that once seemed so vital—they will pass away.

It won’t matter from where we came, or on what side of the tracks we lived.

It won’t matter whether we were beautiful or brilliant, or our gender, or skin color.

What will matter are our days—their value will be measured

Not by what we bought, but what we built, not what we got, but what we gave.

Not by our success, but our significance.

Not what we learned, but what we taught.

Not our competence, but our character.

Not our memories, but those others have of us.

Not our circumstances, but our choices.Not our sacrifices, but our every act of integrity.

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Alfred Lloyd Tennyson

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Market News ~ June 7, 2016

June 7th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Don’t you just love this time of year with all of the colors, and fresh fruit and vegetables coming to the market?
For the most part here in Western Mass, we don’t get lots of severe weather. Our droughts aren’t as severe or long-lasting as those in other parts of the country, we tend not to get 10+” of rain in one day, blizzards are few and far between, and while we get heat waves, they aren’t weeks long, etc.

The several day extreme (for us) cold that we had in February killed most of the peach tree buds, so we will have a very slight peach crop this year. For sure there are repercussions to the weather that we do have such as this, but for the most part that isn’t an every year type of thing.

We humans are good about complaining about weather, but for most of us too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry is just an inconvenience. But, for a farmer, it is way more than that. I know that there is such a thing as crop insurance. It is a program that protects against crops ruined due to weather, or due to revenue decline for commodities. The weather part we can understand. The revenue part works this way—if a wheat farmer has sold their crop for $3 a bushel, and the next year’s crop drops to $2 a bushel, they can receive an insurance payment to make up the difference. Crop insurance is sold through private companies with a portion of the premium, as well as the administrative and operating expenses of the private companies, subsidized by the federal government.

Welcome to two new vendors, Crooked Stick Pops and Holyoke Hummus. Crooked Stick will be here every other week, and Holyoke Hummus will be here every week.

Wasn’t Zoo on the Go fun last week? The rabbit they brought was bigger than many of the babies that were at the market.

It seems that some weeks we have lots of babies, and some weeks we have lots of dogs. All beautiful and welcome.

Meet the Vendors—Crooked Stick Pops

Crooked Stick Pops began when founder Julie Tuman thought of bringing the creativity and healthy fun of The Hyppo—a gourmet ice pop shop in Saint Augustine, Florida—to western Massachusetts. “When we go to Florida to stay with our close family friend, we literally go to The Hyppo every single day. Sometimes twice!” The Valley has plenty of amazing places to eat and drink. But it didn’t have ice pops. . . until now!

Her vision for Crooked Stick is to use fresh healthy ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, to make brilliant flavors that are fun for families and creative and surprising enough to fascinate adults. Julie loves that her ice pops are as healthy as they are exciting. Welcome!

For the Garden

Basil is a versatile herb; it’s used all over the world. There are many varieties. Italian Genovese basil is the classic that’s used for Italian cooking and pesto making. Thai basil has an anise flavor, lemon basil tastes like citrus, cinnamon basil has purple flowers and a spicy taste, and spicy globe stays small and compact, perfect for a container.

Plant basil now that the soil is warm, either directly sowing seeds, or transplants. Thin plants so they are at least one foot apart. Pinch the tops when they’re young to stimulate the plant to branch out and get bushy. Eventually your basil will want to flower. You and our bee friends can enjoy the colorful blooms, or pinch the flowers out so the plant produces more leaves.
Harvest branches of basil rather than leaves. This will stimulate fewer, but bigger leaves to form.
Pesto freezes perfectly. Use a little pesto in a dressing for macaroni salad. Nice combination.

Frequent Shopper Cards

If you don’t have one, come to the market table and get one. Each time you’re at the market, stop by the market table and get it signed. After 6 trips to the market you’ll get a gift from the market.

Cookbooks

If you have cookbooks you no longer use, bring them to the market to give away. We have a blue bin at the market table to put them in.

EBT/CISA Bonus

Each time you use your SNAP/EBT card at our market for $10 or more, you will get a bonus of $10 plus a $2 token from us. The $2 token is only to be used for produce, nothing else. The other EBT tokens can be used for food, or for plants that will grow food. We don’t sell seeds here, but you can use EBT for food seeds also.

This ‘n’ That

Did you know that beets and Swiss chard are from the same botanical family—silverbeet? Use the leafy part of chard the same way you would use spinach. Cook the stems a little first before adding the leaves. The beet greens can also be cooked. You can make a combination of them and cook together along with turnip greens and collards although collards take a lot longer to cook.

We have voter registration forms at the market table. Please register if you are old enough. You can also put in an address change on these forms. It is a privilege to vote; don’t throw yours away.

I’ve noticed that sweet corn is about a foot high in the fields. Soon, soon.

Make ice cubes with coffee or tea; your beverage won’t get diluted if you do that.

How Much do you Spend on Food?

The U.S. has one of the lowest percentage of family food costs in the world. I’m reading a book called “Material World, a Global Family Portrait” that features families from all over the world. One of the things they list for many families is the percentage of their income that they spend on food. Some listed are; Uzbekistan, 70%, Brazil, 55%, Japan, 30%, Guatemala, 66%, Argentina, 25%, Mexico 57%, and U.S. 11%.
We are talking about food, not all groceries. Take a look at your own basket when you go grocery shopping. How much of it is food, and how much of it is paper goods, cleaners, and all sorts of things that aren’t food.
Our farmers are excellent at providing good food for us. So, please don’t complain if you think your food bill is too high; it’s the rest of what you purchase that probably is.

Recipe—Spinach Pie

You can put this into a pre-baked pie shell, or no pie shell at all.

1# fresh spinach, cooked, squeezed dry
1 12 oz. carton cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar or mozzarella or Swiss cheese
3 eggs
2 T. oil
1 tsp. onion or garlic salt
ground pepper
Combine all ingredients and pour into a lightly oiled 9” pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Cream of Swiss Chard Soup

1 ¾ quarts hot chicken stock,
¾# chopped chard
3 oz. diced onion, 1 bay leaf, 3 oz. butter
3 oz. flour,
1 pint hot milk
½ pint hot light cream or half and half
salt and pepper to taste, ¼ tsp. nutmeg
Heat stock add chard, bay leaf & onion, simmer ½ hr.
Make roux with butter and flour, don’t brown.
Add stock (remove bay leaf) to roux gradually, stirring until slightly thickened and smooth. Simmer 30 minutes. Blend. Add heated milk and cream. Season & serve.

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Market News ~ May 31

May 31st, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Outside the window where I sit at my computer, is one of my deep pink rhododendrons. I know that they are going to bloom each spring, but every year I find it to be almost miraculous that Mother Nature does “her” thing each year right on time. This year we had an odd winter, and spring has been cooler than normal. Yet, these shrubs started blooming on the same day as they did 3 years ago. I know this because Facebook often puts up a memory from previous postings on your page, and they put up a picture of one of the shrubs just beginning to bloom; the date was the exact date that I noticed that the buds were opening.

Asparagus and rhubarb are perennials, so our farmers don’t have to plant them more than once. But, most everything else needs to be planted each year. Did you know that garlic is planted in the fall? One clove is planted and then a bulb grows from that.

Think of the tiny seeds that ultimately become food that we enjoy. A lettuce seed is miniscule. I often wonder how someone way back when knew to plant something, or that something found in the wild was edible. I have a weed in my yard that has berries that look like blueberries. How did someone know that these weren’t edible, but blueberries were? I know, someone probably got sick after eating the weed berries. But still, I wonder.

What you can and Can’t Recycle

NO: plastic bags (collect and put into special containers at grocery stores), clothing, pots or pans, dishes, leaves, wood, food waste, Styrofoam, hazardous waste, trash, beverage carriers.

YES: paperbacks and phone books, junk mail (windowed envelopes are ok), boxboard (cereal, shoe, cracker boxes, etc.) No waxed paper. Newspapers, inserts, magazines, catalogs, brown paper bags, white and colored paper, computer paper, corrugated cardboard (no waxed cardboard.) Shredded paper—place in paper bags. Glass bottles, jars, all colors and sizes, (discard all caps). No broken or other glass such as light bulbs, window or auto glass, dishes, glasses, Pyrex, ceramics. Aluminum, tin/steel cans and lids, aerosol cans and clean aluminum foil. No paint cans or other metal items. All plastic bottles, jars, tubs and plastic microwave trays/containers. No containers over 2 gallons, motor oil, chemical or foam containers, or flower pots. Milk & juice cartons (tent top) drink boxes.

If you have furniture in good condition, contact Jewish Family Service or Ascentria Care. Both are refugee resettlement agencies. They can use good furniture to help newcomers to our area furnish their new homes.

Meet the Vendors—Outlook Farm

In 1781, Eliza Norton, at the age of 19, built the Norton Tavern at the top of the hill on Rte. 66 in Westhampton. He reportedly built the inn for his bride. The front upstairs was an open dance hall. There was a fiddler’s step built in the middle of the hall from where the music emanated.

The Tavern was on the route of an old stage coach route that guests would use for their travels. The top of the hill was a good spot for the horse to stop for a rest and water.

In 1860 Warner Bartlett bought the Norton Tavern and renamed it Outlook Farm. He ran the farm until 1920 when Will Fiske bought the homestead.

Will Fiske started peddling his farm products through the valley in the 1930s and 40s. He became well known for his chickens, produce and Outlook Farm sausage.

In 1962 Dave and Mary Lee Morse bought the farm from Fiske work the land, and raise their family. Dave had worked summers on a dairy farm while growing up and Mary Lee, who knew little about farming, was enthusiastic. Together they made the commitment to plunge into what would be their lifestyle for the next 45 years.

They cleared land, fixed outdated machinery, planted fruits and vegetables, raised cows and hogs, restored their home and waited on customers at their roadside stand. Though the days were long, they discovered country people could provide their own form of entertainment. Sugar eats, husking bees, and kitchen dances to name a few, were great fun and good excuses to socialize.

In January 1994, Dave and Mary Lee turned the farm over to their eldest son, Brad and his wife Erin.

Under Brad and Erin’s ownership the farm has expanded. They no longer raise pigs and cows, but have hogs brought up from Pennsylvania that are hormone and antibiotic free. They offer pig roasts, and other catering options, as well as a restaurant and bakery, plus lots of produce including apples, plums, cherries, pears, and peaches. Their apple cider is fabulous.

They have several special events through the season including barbecues on the farm. Check at their stand here at the market for the schedule. Outlook Farm is open every day of the year. They are the only vendor that has been at our market since day one.

They are on Rte. 66 in Westhampton.

Bing Arts Center

If you haven’t been to the Bing for any of their performances, you have shortchanged yourself. Throughout the year, Brian Hale brings all sorts of musical performers there. This coming Saturday evening, June 4th, the Eric Hofbauer Quintet Will be performing. They are equally accomplished in the worlds of both jazz and classical music. It’s at 8PM. Tickets are $20, $10 for students. Tickets are available in advance at BingArtsCenter.org, or by calling 731-9730. Doors open at 7:30PM, refreshments are available.

Springfield Preservation Trust Spring House Tour—June 12th

The McKnight Local Historic District marks the 40th anniversary of its creation this year, and SPT is celebrating with a house tour. The tour will be between 1 & 5 PM on Sunday, June 12th and will feature 6 homes, St. Peter’s Church and several gardens. The homes will be on Dartmouth St., Worthington St., Florida St., and Ingersoll Grove.

The McKnight District is the largest wood frame late Victorian neighborhood in New England. Most of its 800 houses were built between 1870 and 1900. Many of them are in the fanciful Queen Anne style.

Advance tickets for $15 are available either online, or at Flowers, Flowers, 785 Sumner Ave., or The Flower Box, 596 Carew St. Tickets can be purchased for $20 on the day of the tour from 12:45 until 3PM on Thompson St., just off Worthington St. SPT members receive a discounted price. It is recommended that you start the tour no later than 2:30 in order to see all the houses at a leisurely pace.

Recipe-Cider-braised Chicken

Since Outlook Farm is still bringing some of their fabulous apple cider, here’s a recipe that uses it. By the way, you can freeze cider. Pour some of it out of the container, or freeze it in smaller containers leaving some head room, and you’ll be able to enjoy their cider even when it isn’t apple season.

1 whole chicken, cut up

3 T. olive oil

2/3 cup unfiltered apple cider

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup heavy cream

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper

2. Heat oil in a 12” heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown chicken, skin side down first, turning once, 8-10 minutes total

3. Transfer to a plate discarding oil

4. Wipe out skillet, then boil remaining ingredients until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and braise, covered, turning once until chicken is just cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Boil sauce to thicken if necessary. Whisk sauce if separated.

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Market News ~ May 24, 2016

May 24th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Some of you have asked about The Kitchen Garden, so here is the news once again. They aren’t returning to our market this year. They were invited to the Copley Square market which is also on Tuesdays, so that’s where they are going. Although that market isn’t larger than ours, they get many more customers as you might imagine. So, it’s on to the big time for the KG. However, we are most fortunate to have been able to recruit Rainbow Harvest from Greenfield to join us. Although they aren’t certified organic, they are chemical-free, so you can be assured that you will have the same type of vegetables available to you that you had from the KG.

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find information about Rainbow’s owner and the farm.

Mother Nature is amazing, but we all know that. I have a Facebook page, and every so often they put a posting on it that is a memory of something that was posted previously, usually within the last few years. This week I noticed that my gorgeous deep pink rhododendrons were just beginning to flower. On my page that day was a picture taken 3 years to the day of the just beginning to flower rhodies. Even with the mild winter and the chilly spring, MN does her job right on time.

One of the things that I have hoped to accomplish by writing this newsletter each week, is to emphasize the hard work that goes into farming. I think that we all understand that on some level, but it needs to be a conscious thought for us.

In Sunday’s paper there was an article about the asparagus crop this spring. It hasn’t been as prolific as the farmers would like it to be due to the cool spring. Asparagus grows quickly when the temperature is warm. As I have written many times, weather and labor are two aspects of farming which are the most difficult.

You all know that I love this market. I have conversations on a regular basis that leave me feeling uplifted. Last week I met a woman who lives part time in Longmeadow, and is a judge in Chicago. I don’t know how we got to the subject of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (one of our Supreme Court justices for those of you who don’t know) and she told me that she and RBG have been friends for years. I was star struck. Yes, I know, I’m a geek that I now know someone who is friends with her, and am excited by it.

Meet the Vendors

Rainbow Harvest Farm is a small farm in Greenfield owned and operated by David Paysnick. Rainbow Harvest focuses on growing high quality, ecologically grown vegetables, herbs and plants. They also grow a small amount of mushrooms and small fruits, two enterprises David hopes to grow over the next few years.

While the farm is not certified organic, David does not use any materials that would be prohibited by organic standards. Ecologically grown means that the farming principles used are based on a desire to maintain a harmonious relationship between food production and the environment. Even certified organic farms are able to spray a variety of materials that can be toxic to humans and beneficial insects.

David does not spray any pesticides on his farm, instead, he relies on good soil fertility, beneficial insects (like ladybugs), and row covers (thin woven blankets that cover field crops) to control unwanted pests. David’s favorite crop to grow is chili peppers, and last year he began making a line of infused sea salts which he also has available at the market. The salts are infused with ingredients grown on the farm such as chilies, garlic, and herbs. Some of the most popular flavors include chipotle smoked sea salt, habanero smoked sea salt, and garlic infused sea salt.

David grew up in the Springfield area, and is excited to be returning to sell his farm products.

More on Asparagus

It is normal to have bunches with different size stems, and colors in them. Don’t wash the stalks before using them. Wet asparagus wilts much faster than dry. Wrap the entire bunch in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag, and store in the fridge. It should stay crisp for several days. If it gets a bit limp, you can restore its crispness by standing the bunch upright in a bowl of water in the fridge for about a half hour. Washing asparagus is easy; just submerge in cold water, rinse and pat dry. The lower white part of each stalk is typically woody and tasteless. Bend the stalk and snap it at the border where the white begins to turn green. If the stalk is very thick, consider peeling it as well. You can use the discarded stalks and peels for soup stock. There are many ways to cook it–stir-fry, roasting, steamed, all are good.

Serve it drizzled with olive oil or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. That’s what you roast it with also, nothing more.

Senior Farm Share Lottery

CISA’s Senior Farm Share program offers low-income seniors access to low cost, fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at the height of the growing season. Applications will be accepted until June 1st.

Eligible seniors can apply to participate at one of 14 distribution sites throughout the Pioneer Valley, and participants will be chosen by lottery. The program is based on the CSA model, so participants receive a share of produce, delivered weekly by a local farm for pickup at a set time.

Participants pay a $10 cost per share and receive $125 in produce; the program runs for 10 weeks beginning in July. Eligible seniors must be over the age of 60, and have an income below $23,540 or a combined income below $31,860. Distribution sites are in Athol, Charlemont, Greenfield, Turners Falls, Shelburne Falls, Chesterfield, Huntington, Northampton, Chicopee, Holyoke, Palmer and Springfield.

To find contact information for each of these sites in order to request an application, visit the website, buylocalfood.org, or call Brian Snell at CISA (413) 665- 7100.

Senior Farm Share is one of the “Local Food for All” programs, and representative of the agency’s commitment to making local food available to the most vulnerable members of the community.

Now in its 12th year, Senior Farm Share will distribute $60,000 in vegetables to 475 seniors in 2016. Funding for the Senior Farm Share program is provided by the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs, individual contributions, and by grants from church communities.

CISA is also the sponsor of the $10 bonus for those of you who use an EBT card at the market.

Thanks

This market primarily runs on vendor fees, but we also receive contributions and grants. As it is said for many things, it takes a village. Thanks to Concerned Citizens for Springfield, our sponsor. And to Robyn Newhouse, The Forest Park Civic Association, Berkshire Bank Foundation, United Bank, individual contributors, and, of course our wonderful Park Department for all of their help.

We pay rent to use this space, but they go above and beyond to help us.

Zoo on the Go

Next week, here at the market, Zoo on the Go will be here about 3 o’clock for a couple of hours. The last time the adults enjoyed it as much as the children did.

Transportation

The Jewish Community Center offers transportation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9-2 and Friday from 8:30-1. Call 739-4715 for more information or for reservations. Cost is $2 per ride or buy a card for 12 rides for $18. Use them to come to the market.

This ‘n’ That

• About 1/3rd of the U.S. is covered by forests.

• Trees increase the property value of homes by 10-20% and attract new homebuyers.

• Trees can reduce the need for air conditioning by 30%, and heating by 20-50%.

• If you have Netflix, watch “Cooked”, a 4 part series based on the book by Michael Polan. Our own Berkshire Mountain Bakery is part of it. Richard Bourdon, the owner of BMB said they spent 3 ½ days at their bakery filming them. It is a terrific series, very interesting. Polan said that he didn’t think that we became human until we started to cook.

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Market News~May 17, 2016

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

This has been quite a week for me. On the upside, I attended the graduation of my grandson Alex from Champlain College in Burlington, VT. Although I am not old by today’s standards (I’m 74) I am nevertheless very grateful to have lived to see such a wonderful life cycle event. It seems like just yesterday that I was cradling him in my arms.

The downside (with a good outcome) is that my daughter Jennifer, who is 48, and who lives in Washington, DC was rushed on Tuesday evening to the hospital with severe chest pains. She didn’t have a heart attack, but what she has been diagnosed with, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, can be fatal. The doctors told her that it is genetic and they surmised that that is what killed her father at age 40, 42 years ago. I’m sure that all of you have read about athletes who died suddenly. This is the condition that is largely responsible.

Once again I say that I am grateful that we live where and when we do.

My daughter hasn’t lost her sense of humor. She was taken to one hospital first and then because of the seriousness of her condition, she was taken by helicopter to another one. I’m sure the traffic at that time of day in D.C. was a consideration. She told one of her brothers that now she could take a helicopter ride off her bucket list.

I certainly enjoyed the asparagus from our market that I had last week. I ate the whole bunch myself. I will buy it when it comes from California prior to our local season, but once it’s local, I don’t buy anything else. There are some things that are so special, that I think they should only be eaten in season. They’re worth waiting for.

I went to the Burlington, VT farmers’ market on Saturday. It has 99 vendors. Their prices are about what ours are. With 99 vendors they have more than we do, but we have almost the same products here. I remember years ago, after I had gone to the Union Square market in New York City, that Caroline Pam from The Kitchen Garden said she thought our market compared very favorably to theirs even though theirs was much larger. She had been one of the managers at that market.
This was my first trip to Burlington, VT, and I noticed a few things. One was that it is clean. I didn’t notice any litter although I’m sure there is some, but not so much that it is noticeable, and they seem to have done a good job preserving their older homes and commercial buildings, so the city is interesting.

We, on the other hand, have way too much litter. Please, when you see some, pick it up and dispose of it. When you go for a walk bring a small plastic bag (the kind you get at a store) and fill it up. I find it so discouraging to see so much trash in our streets. I don’t understand people who litter, and I don’t understand how people in the homes and businesses who have it can just leave it there.

Remember the Date
On May 31st, we will have a visit from Zoo on the Go. They will be here at 3 o’clock and will stay about 2 hours. The last time they were here, the adults got as big a kick out of them as the children did.

Senior Farm Share
Contact CISA at 413-665-7100 to find out how you qualify for a share this year. For $10 you can get over $100 worth of produce this growing season. CISA raised $100,000 to expand this program and to give those of you who have SNAP benefits a bonus.

Food Deserts
This is a term that is used when full-service grocery stores aren’t that available to residents of a particular area. For instance, if you are living in an area where you have to travel a pretty good distance to go grocery shopping, you live in a food desert.

We don’t live in a food desert in the Springfield area. We have many full-service grocery stores, (Stop & Shop, Big Y) grocery stores that aren’t full service, (Price Rite, Aldi’s, Shop & Save) that carry many products, many ethnic stores, specialty stores etc. And farmers’ markets of which there are several in Springfield

The problem for some people is that they don’t have transportation. Most of us don’t live with a bus stop in front of our homes, so even if taking the bus is convenient, walking home with lots of groceries isn’t. PVTA will take someone who is elderly or disabled grocery shopping if they have made a reservation for the ride. Cabs are available, but they are pricey. What to do?

Instead of building more grocery stores, let’s figure out ways to get folks to stores so that they have choices for healthy food. And, if you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who can’t get to our market, offer them a ride.

This ‘n’ That
Of course you recycle, but can you do more? Most of us probably can. Do you save plastic bags and then drop them at the grocery store? They get melted down.

Never put oil or any fat down the drain. Sop it up with a paper towel and put into the trash. You can bring egg cartons back to this market and give them to the people from whom you buy your eggs. The paper cartons can be ripped up and composted if they aren’t good enough to re-use.

If you have vases that you aren’t going to use, bring them to a florist.

If you go camping, don’t bring any firewood with you; buy it at your destination. There are too many invasive insects, and this is a way to try to control them.

Bring cookbooks you no longer want to the market and put them in the blue bin for someone else to take.

Meet the Vendors—Phuong’s Asian Vegetables
In 1985 Phuong emigrated to the United States from Travinh, South Vietnam. She lived in Richmond, VA for 6 months, and then moved to Springfield because some relatives who had moved here in 1982 needed some help; she was 7 months pregnant. She now has 3 adult children, and grandchildren.

Her husband got a job almost right away, then 2 jobs. In 1988 she started working at Hasbro, and worked there almost 23 years.

Her family in Vietnam had a big farm. They grew rice and all sorts of fruit and vegetables. She had a big garden there also.

After she was laid off from Hasbro, she continued growing vegetables in her back yard, and now also rents land to have a large enough supply to sell at our market. All of her vegetables are chemical-free.
In addition to growing vegetables, Phuong makes some delicious Vietnamese delicacies that she brings to us.

Recipe—Cannellini Beans & Wilted Greens
You can either cook your own dried beans in water or chicken broth adding onion and carrot while they’re cooking, or use canned beans. Drain the canned beans, but save the liquid.
Cannellini beans, large bunch (about 1#) chopped spinach, kale, chard, turnip, or mustard greens, 6 cloves garlic, 5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.
Finely chop the garlic and saute gently with the rosemary in the olive oil, about one minute. Add the drained beans and their liquid (you may have to add some water or chicken broth to have enough, or if you’ve cooked the dried beans, use a cup of the cooking liquid.) Cook for about 5 minutes or until some of the beans have crumbled. Add the chopped greens, stew together uncovered until the greens are wilted and tender. Add more liquid if necessary. Serve with olive oil drizzled over the surface.

Reminders
The used book sale at Storrs Library in Longmeadow is this week. Thursday is for the Friends from 4-8, and Friday, 10-5, and Saturday, 11-4 are for the public. Longmeaddowe Days start on Friday evening, so parking might be problematic on Saturday.

The UU church on Porter Lake Drive is having another weekend of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2. You can purchase tickets by going to Click4tix.com/unityhouse, or get them at the door.

The Town of West Springfield still needs an assistant cook for their senior center. Salary is $13.50-15 per hour depending on experience. Contact Sandy MacFadyen at 263-3232 if interested

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Market News~ May 10, 2016

May 10th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

As usual we started our market season being chilly. And damp. And, as usual, some of the people I saw the next day asked me when the market started. I don’t understand why so many people forget that we open on the first Tuesday in May. We have done so since 1999, our second year of operation. Hopefully more folks will show up today.

When we started this market, there were 98 farmers’ markets in Massachusetts; today there are over 250. Our market isn’t big by national standards, but it’s a pretty good size for Massachusetts.

Last week Paul Tuthill from WAMC-FM interviewed me as he does each year when we open. One of his questions was why did I think that there were so many more markets than there used to be? I think it has to do with being aware of the value of buying locally grown/raised/made products. So much more is written today than there used to be about nutrition, buying local, etc. There are films, magazine and news articles about farming, raising animals in a humane way, the benefits that come from eating locally and more. And, once someone becomes a regular at a farmers’ market, they recognize how much better the food tastes.

Sometimes someone says that the market is expensive. Most often farmers’ markets are comparable to a grocery store. Some grocery stores carry local produce in season, but most of what they carry comes from someplace else. I always tell anyone who says that, that they are confusing price and value. What you purchase at a farmers’ market will still be fresh the next week; you won’t have to toss it.

The peach crop in New England will be just about nonexistent this summer. If you recall, we had an extreme cold snap that lasted several days in February. That killed the buds on the peach trees. Ben Clark from Clarkdale Farms said that there may be some peaches very close to the coast, but not up here. Weather is certainly one of the hazards of farming.

Meet the Vendors—Skalbite Farms

Robert Skalbite, owner of Skalbite Farms has been farming his whole life. The farm in Monson has been in his family for 70 years. Robert’s dad died in 2009, and Robert took over; he always wanted to be a farmer.

At this time Robert is raising 15 belted Galloway cows; he wants to grow the farm to 40 cows someday. He also raises pigs and has 25 pigs on pasture.

Robert has a BS in Sustainable Food and Farming from UMASS’ Stockbridge School. In addition to farming he works as the assistant superintendent at the UMASS Hadley farm.

His fiancée Hanna has a degree from UMASS in biology. She helps on the farm and also works at Randall’s in Ludlow.

Upcoming Play at UU in Springfield

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is being performed by the Unity House Players on May 13th, 14th, 20th & 21st at 7:30 PM. May 15th and 22nd at 2 PM. General admission is $18, Students/seniors $15, if no advance ticket is purchased it’s $20 at the door. The UU is located at 245 Porter Lake Drive in Springfield. Go to Click4tix.com/unityhouse for tickets.

This ‘n’ That

The color of an egg’s shell has everything to do with the type of chicken that laid the egg. The nutritional value is the same egg to egg.

If you have cookbooks that you no longer use, bring them here to the market. We have a bin where people can drop off or take some free.

The most popular vegetables grown in home gardens are tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, beans, carrots, summer squash, onions, hot peppers, lettuce, peas and sweet corn.

If you have a recipe you’d like to share, bring it to the market table.

Tonight at 7 there is a local panel discussion that will examine the history of religious intolerance. Sounds interesting. It’s at the First Church of Christ on Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow. The exact title is “American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims and the History of Religious Intolerance.” This program is part of the Dialogues Across Divides series sponsored by Mass Humanities. It is free and open to all.

Rhubarb Muffins

Makes about 20 muffins, or you can put the batter into a 9x5x3” loaf pan.

1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed

2/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups chopped raw rhubarb

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

TOPPING

½ cup granulated sugar

1 T. butter

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup chopped nuts

Combine brown sugar, oil, egg, milk and soda. Add flour and salt to this mixture. Fold in rhubarb and nuts if using. Put into muffin cups, or into greased and floured loaf pan. Mix topping together, or sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top instead. Bake at 350 about one hour for loaf pan, or about 20 minutes for muffins.

Farms, Floods, and You From the Connecticut River Watershed Council newsletter

Farms rely on clean water and we rely on farms. The Connecticut River valley has some of the richest soils in the country thanks to ancient glaciers and the ongoing flow of our rivers. As long as rivers continue to flow through our lives, it is up to all of us to protect both the land and rivers.

TRINITY FARM: PLANTING THE ROOTS OF A SOLUTION

During the flooding of Tropical Storm Irene, Trinity Farm in Orford, NH had an acre of land wash downstream. The O’Donnell family, excited to be starting new careers as organic farmers, were concerned that such a massive loss of farmland could occur again, They contacted CRWC seeking advice on how to stabilize their land to prevent the same thing from happening in future storms. Ron Rhodes, River Steward for northern VT and NH suggested planting trees to stabilize the river banks. The root systems of trees and other plants hold onto soil and prevent erosion. Plants also help remove excess nutrients, pesticides, and other pollutants from water runoff before it reaches our rivers and streams. Even better, the plants provide habitat and food sources for wildlife and shade the river keeping it cool for fish.

Last October, a crew planted 240 native trees and shrubs along the Connecticut River protecting Trinity Farm from further erosion for decades to come. “We do things with a long-term intergenerational approach,” noted Rob O’Donnell. “CRWC puts this into action, preserving the quality of land and river for generations to come. CRWC came through in a way that far exceeded our expectations. We hope to do more with CRWC in the future.”

SNAP at the Market

We accept SNAP benefits at our market. Thanks to CISA (Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture) you will receive an additional $10 in tokens if you swipe your card for $10 or more. We also will give you a $2 token that you can use only for produce.

Our tokens don’t expire, so if you don’t use them all in one week, you can use them throughout the season. For those of you who get WIC coupons, I think that starts in June. Those of you who are elderly should contact your local senior center and get your name on the list for those coupons; they run out fast. I think those also get distributed in June.

The WIC coupons are only for produce, the Elder coupons are for produce and honey. If you have any left over from last year, throw them away; they don’t carry over from one year to another

Stay updated on our Facebook Page

Skalbite Farm

Market News ~ May 3, 2016

May 3rd, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Welcome to the 19th year of our marvelous market. This year as every year, we have some new vendors. We welcome Chicken Feather Farm from New Braintree who has perennials, Beauty in the Bar from Springfield with soaps, lotions, and other products to enhance your life, Grace Hill Farm from Cummington with cheese made from their own cows’ milk, Longevity Greens from Springfield with micro greens, Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen from West Springfield with gluten-free baked goods, and Rainbow Harvest Farm from Greenfield. Welcome to all of you.

You may be wondering why we have added another farm since we are so well represented with excellent produce. The Kitchen Garden, a long time vendor at our market, is headed to the big time. They were invited to attend the market in Copley Square in Boston. Good for them, not so good for us. However, David Paysnick from Rainbow Harvest Farm, although not certified organic, is a chemical-free farm. Those of you who shopped at the KG can be assured that the quality and chemical-free produce that you prefer will be available to you. FYI, Phuong’s Asian Vegetables is also chemical-free. She only uses cow manure as fertilizer, and if she has to spray she makes a potion with Thai chilies and water. Those Thai chilies are HOT.

This year we will get to meet Abby Ripley from Maple Corner Farm. She was born last June, and although she made one appearance at the market last year, I’m told she’ll be a regular this year. We love babies. This market just keeps getting better and better. We started with 5 vendors; Outlook Farm is our only original vendor. Now I regularly get requests to join our market. If we need what they have to offer, they get a spot, otherwise they don’t. It’s important at any market that the folks who work so hard have the opportunity to do well. If you have too many vendors with the same thing, they don’t. That’s why I micro-manage this market.

Sometimes someone will say that farmers’ markets are pricey. Much of our food is subsidized, but we don’t think about that. Small farmers aren’t subsidized. And, small production farming is more expensive than large-scale farming. Remember that when you patronize our market you are keeping your local money local. It trickles down to local businesses. In addition, what you buy is fresher, tastier, and will definitely last longer once you get it home. Don’t confuse price and value.

Frequent Shoppers’ Card

Pick up a frequent shoppers’ card at the market table, and every time you are at the market, get it signed and dated. Right now we are giving a small gift from the market to anyone who fills up a card. We may go to collecting cards and pulling a couple of names each week for a gift if giving out gifts to everyone becomes too pricey for us. This was CISA’s idea. I wish I could say that all of the good ideas are mine, but, alas, they aren’t.

SNAP Bonus

Those of you who shopped at our market with your SNAP/EBT cards last year, as well as this past winter market, know that you received a bonus when your card was swiped for $5 or more. This year, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has raised $100,000 so that they can not only increase the bonus to $10, but also make it available in Hampshire and Franklin counties as well. They are also going to expand their Senior Farm Share program. That program makes produce available to senior citizens at different locations.

Meet the Vendors

Gardeners Deb Houston and Lee McLaughlin are happy to join our market this year. They have grown plants in the Ware River Valley since 1991, and specialize in zone 5 perennials.

Whether your need is for wetland plants, or those that prefer dry conditions, Chicken Feather Farm probably has the plants that you need. Planting several varieties can extend the bloom in your perennial garden from April until November.

Deb and Lee are eager to share their excitement about the latest plant cultivars, or their special techniques for growth and propagation of perennials. The CFF inventory is ever changing, so please ask if you have a special plant in mind. They have a wealth of knowledge. Welcome!

Longmeadow (Storrs) Library Used Book Sale May 19th-21st

The sale is open to the public Friday, May 20th from 10-5, and Saturday, May 21st from 11 to 4. If you are a member of the Friends of the Library, you can shop on the 19th from 4-8PM. They always have a wonderful selection. Parking will be limited on Saturday since it coincides with Long Meaddowe Days.

Asparagus and Rhubarb Season

Although we may not have asparagus this week because the nights have been so cold, it is coming. In recent years, many recipes have appeared showing us the many ways in which it can be cooked. I even saw a recipe recently that had shaved raw asparagus in a salad. Years ago I used to steam it standing up in a coffee pot with the stems on the bottom. That worked well. These days I mostly stir fry it or roast it with olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt sprinkled on top. It’s so easy to cook.

Did you know that Hadley asparagus is known world-wide? The soil in the Connecticut River Valley is perfect for growing it. While we don’t have as much as we did years ago, there is still a plentiful supply. Lucky us.

Rhubarb is also a perennial. Last year someone gave me some from plants that his grandfather had planted over 50 years ago. Although some people have told me that they eat it raw, most of us eat it as an ingredient in something that contains sugar. I make muffins, quick breads, crisps, jam, and sometimes a pie with it. It freezes perfectly, so buy extra and stick some in the freezer for the winter.

This ‘n’ That

Farmers who grow peaches aren’t expecting a good crop this year. The extreme extended cold that we had in February killed lots of buds.

Please return your glass milk bottles to Trinity Farm, and throw the caps away; they aren’t reused. The bottles are manufactured in Canada as no U.S. company makes them anymore.

Put numbers on your house that can easily be read from the street.

Wear your seat belt. I have noticed that many male pickup truck drivers don’t wear their belts. Perhaps there is something I don’t know. Does their vehicle keep them from getting injured if they have an accident?

Use your car’s ashtray. The filters aren’t biodegradable, so they make a real mess if you throw them out of your car.

The Town of West Springfield is looking for an assistant cook to work at their town’s senior center preparing lunch Monday through Friday (18 hours per week.) The salary is $13.50-15.00 per hour depending on work experience. The hours are 8AM to 1PM (approximately.) If you or someone you know might be interested call Sandy MacFadyen at 263-3232 or her email smacfadyen@west-springfield.ma.us.

Even though the holders for soda and beer look like they’re made out of paper, they have plastic in them so that they don’t fall apart when they’re wet. Therefore, they aren’t recyclable. Who knew?

According to Maple Corner Farm, our maple products vendor, this year was surprisingly good for them. The weather was so peculiar this winter that they weren’t sure how it would go for them.

The color of an egg’s shell depends on the type of chicken that lays the egg.

Valley Gives

We are participating in this community fund raising event today, May 3rd. If you’d like to contribute to us through this, please do. Otherwise, you can just hand us a check or some cash during the season. Thanks in advance.

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are the curled top of different varieties of ferns, eaten as a vegetable, picked before they are unfurled. They are only available in early spring. At our market Outlook Farm brings them for 2-3 weeks only. They have to be cleaned first, and they must be cooked. They are eaten in different parts of the world, not just here. Their flavor is difficult to describe. Mostly I describe the flavor as “green.”

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Market News – 10-27, 2015

October 27th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Well, this is it; the last day of our 18th year of operation. It has been a good year. We had some issues with weather as we always do, but overall we were okay. I didn’t hear any of our vendors complain about any big issues like fungus on tomatoes, or other major crop issues, so I’m assuming it was a good year for them. I know it was a great year for apples. The hens weren’t laying as many eggs as we could have used, but maybe our farmers will get more chicks next year. We had some new vendors, and some of the ones who were with us in prior years weren’t with us this year. That is the way of farmers’ markets. We have a reputation as being a successful market, so I often receive requests to join us. If we need what they have, and if they are a legitimate business, they are usually let in. Every vendor has to have liability insurance, so it isn’t just on a whim that someone becomes a vendor. Also, the products that are offered have to be theirs; they can’t be a manufacturer’s representative. I let in one vendor who is a manufacturer’s rep. and even though their products are good, I won’t do that again. They have to have a local component to them. The crafters who are here also have to make  their own items, otherwise what’s the point?

Thank you to all of our customers. Many of you have become regulars and that is very much appreciated. All of you have to go out of your way to patronize us. Supporting local agriculture is a big deal. We live in a beautiful part of  Massachusetts, and the farms contribute to that beauty.

If you have any “X” tokens, you have to use them by today’s market. Same thing for WIC and Elder farmers’ market coupons. They don’t carry over to next year’s market.

Trinity Farm, Sweet Pea Cheese, and Outlook Farm have stores on their farms. Trinity’s hours are 6AM to 6PM, Monday through Friday, 6-4 on Saturday, closed Sundays. Outlook is open every day from 7 AM to 7PM. I’m not sure if their hours change for the winter. They also have a restaurant on site where you can get sandwiches, soup, side dishes, and dessert. Sweet Pea is also open 7-7. All of these can be found online for addresses, etc. Go to our website and find their information on the vendor page. Trinity and Sweet Pea will be at our winter market.

Winter Market

We begin our winter market on November 14th.We only have this market twice a month. Usually  we have it the second and fourth Saturdays, but due to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will have our November and December markets on the second and third Saturdays. It is held in the old monkey house here in the park. Come in the Trafton Road entrance. There will be a sign. The hours are from 10-2. Many of our Tuesday vendors will be there along with some others. If you do come in the front entrance, make sure you tell the person in the kiosk that you are going to the market so that you get in free.

Forcing Hyacinths

Nothing makes you think of spring more than the smell of hyacinths in winter. It’s easy to force them. Buy the bulbs now, put them in a paper bag in the fridge for 12-14 weeks, pot them up then and place in a sunny window.

Super Tot Swim and Gym

The JCC, 1160 Dickinson St. in Springfield, has many programs for all ages. One that is terrific for 3-5 year olds is the swim and gym class. It’s 45 minutes of physical education play, followed by swim instruction and play in the pool. It is on Tuesdays from 1-2:45, and it has already started.
Call the J at 739-4715, or contact Michael DeCrescenzo, Youth Wellness Coordinator at mdecrescenzo@springfieldjcc.org. There is a fee.

This ‘n’ That

Make sure that you contact the 3 major credit reporting agencies and get a copy of your credit report. By law you are entitled to get one each year at no charge. The companies are: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. The reports may vary because not all creditors report their information to every credit bureau.

If you haven’t made your own soup, do so. It is very simple to do, and it’s cheap. Sometimes when I’ve given a recipe for soup I will be asked how much to put in of this or that ingredient. It depends on how many people you’re cooking for and the size of your pot. You can use homemade stock, bullion, or canned broth. Some soups lend themselves better to a beef or chicken broth. You’ll figure it out. Use a recipe as a guideline.

Kohlrabi is a very underused vegetable. It is good raw or cooked. Check out some recipes and try making it different ways. A really easy recipe is to shred it along with carrots, add soya sauce, a dash of sugar, some Asian sesame oil, and perhaps a few hot pepper flakes. Let it set a little while for the flavors to blend. It’s pretty, crunchy, and tasty.

When you make a fruit crisp, you can easily substitute one fruit for another.

W
hen making winter squash anything, poke a couple of holes in it first and microwave for about 5 minutes. That will make it easy to peel and cut. Don’t do this with the delicata squash (aka sweet potato squash) because it cooks quickly since it’s so small.

I love my electrician, Steve from Community Electric. 782-4885. He is the BEST!

If you don’t have a food processor, get one. I like the Kitchen Aid. It is easy to use and easy to clean.

Amherst Cinema

The Amherst Cinema is a gem in the Pioneer Valley. They have movies that you are not likely to see around here. They also have the Bolshoi Ballet and the National Theatre Live on screen. Go to their website–amherstcinema.org for the schedule.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

If your city or town is having an election next week, VOTE. Do not throw the privilege of voting away. There are places all over the world where
people risk their lives for this privilege. Even when it isn’t an “exciting” election, VOTE. If you don’t, don’t complain about anything having to do with government, you haven’t earned the right.

Recipe–Eggnog French Toast

Trinity Farm has their eggnog this week. Eggs, eggnog, nutmeg or cinnamon. Make it the regular way–mix up eggs, add the rest of te ingredients, soak your bread, and cook gently in butter. Remember, a little nutmeg and cinnamon go a long way. A cranberry sauce (homemade) is excellent on this. I make mine with brown sugar, orange juice, a little cinnamon and nutmeg, and that’s it. Good warm or cold. Serve it warm on French toast.

Recipe–Brownies

Yes, I know, there is nothing from the farmers’ market in this recipe, but I always make this recipe and everyone loves it. This makes a fudgey
brownie. Easily doubled or tripled. 8×8” pan for one or one and one half recipe.

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt chocolate and butter together, add sugar, flour and eggs plus vanilla. Pour into a greased pan. Bake about 25 minutes in a 325 degree oven.
Every oven is different, so you will have to gauge when they are done.

SEE YOU AT OUR WINTER MARKET NOVEMBER 14TH. THANKS AGAIN FOR PATRONIZING OUR TERRIFIC FARMERS’ MARKET. AND THANKS TO OUR FABULOUS VENDORS FOR BRINGING SUCH GOOD PRODUCTS TO US.

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