Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager

Market Newsletter October 11, 2016

October 11th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Although there are 2 more weeks left to this market season, this is the last newsletter as I will be going to Cleveland soon to be with my daughter while she has open heart surgery. Then I will accompany her back to D.C. where she lives and stay with her as long as she needs me, or whenever she kicks me out, whichever comes first.

Our market volunteers will be in charge, and our vendors surely don’t need me to do what they do; you will be in good hands.

This is the perfect time to purchase gift items from your favorite vendors. Speaking as an older person, I love getting a gift that I can use up.

Did you know that Massachusetts is the #2 producer of cranberries in the U.S.? Wisconsin is the first. You can freeze cranberries. That way you can have them for use when they aren’t available in the stores.

We have given out gifts to 261+ people at the market this year who used a frequent shopper card. We will continue this at our winter market also.

Winter Market

Our winter market begins on November 12th. Due to the dates of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will be on the second and third Saturdays of November and December. The hours are from 10-2. We are located inside the old monkey house which is the second building on the left as you enter the park from the Trafton Road entrance.

The market will be bigger than ever this year. Many of our Tuesday vendors will be there with some new ones also. Tony, the hydroponic vendor, will be returning.

Springfield Public Forum

The Forum is the oldest FREE forum in the country. Each year speakers come to inform us on a variety of topics. The next two are October 25th with Farnoosh Torabi, whose topic is “Financial Strategies for Every Age”, and David Gergen, who will speak about the 2016 election on November 10th ; both are at Symphony Hall. Check out their website—springfieldpublicforum.org for the details.

This ‘n’ That

If you are going to cook with apples, you don’t need to purchase the perfect ones; buy utility apples. If you make applesauce, you can use one kind only, or a mixture of types; they’re all delicious.

Please remember to use your WIC and Elder market coupons before the end of October; they aren’t any good after October 31st. Also, I don’t know if there will be any funds for the bonus from CISA at the winter market. It all depends on what they have left from the funds they allocated to this.

We gave out over $6,000 in bonus tokens this year. Not only is that good for those of you who use an EBT card, it’s good for our vendors also.

Gardening in October

It’s time to bring in your tropical plants; they don’t live if they’re exposed to cold temperatures.Cut them back as they won’t be able to sustain the growth in the winter indoors. After cutting back, spray insecticidal soap and/or Neem oil on the foliage a few times to kill any insect pests. Start moving them indoors now in the evening so they get used to the indoor environment and are protected from cool nights. Quarantine them so you can check for pests. Grow them in the sunniest window possible indoors, or get full spectrum grow lights to enhance their growth. Once indoors for good, don’t be shocked if many leaves and flowers drop. Cut back on watering and the plant should be okay. Your goal in winter is to just have the tropical plant survive the winter. The, when it goes back outdoors next summer, it will quickly regrow.

Plant daffodils and tulips. Squirrels don’t like daffodils, but they do like tulips, so you might have a better showing of daffodils than tulips in the spring.

Apple Fest—October 15th & 16th

Take a ride next weekend and go to Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA and enjoy food,entertainment, pony rides, jugglers, magicians, an Oktoberfest celebration complete with authentic German cuisine, a multitude of tasty beers in the beer garden and live music. Go to Wachusett.com for all of the details. It’s from 10-5 each day. Franklin County’s Cider Days is coming up in a few weeks. It’s always the first weekend in November. There are events all over the county, so go online and check them out also—Ciderdays.org.

Recipe—Carrot Soup

(2) 6 T olive oil 5 large carrots, thinly sliced

2 ½ cups sliced onions

1 tsp. dried thyme, can use fresh, but use more

1 tsp. brown sugar (or more if you want it sweeter)

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

4 cups canned or homemade chicken broth (can use vegetable broth also)

¼ cup orange juice

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and sauté 4 minutes.

2. Add thyme, brown sugar and nutmeg, sauté until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add broth.

3. Cover pot, simmer until carrots are very soft, about 25 minutes.

4. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a food processor or blender. Add a little of the cooking liquid.

5. Puree vegetables until smooth. Return puree to pot.

6. Add orange juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill. Can be made the day before serving. Sprinkle with chives if desired before serving.

CURRIED CREAM OF CARROT SOUP

Remember, how much you use depends on how many you are cooking for, or how big your pot is.

Olive oil or butter

Carrots

Onions

Chicken or vegetable broth

Curry powder

Cream, half and half or evaporated skimmed milk

1. Sauté onions in oil or butter until soft. Add sliced carrots and broth.

2. Simmer until soft.

3. Put vegetables in processor or blender with a little of the cooking liquid; puree. Pour back into the pan. Add curry powder to taste; it gets stronger as it sits. Add cream or milk then add salt and pepper to taste.

4. This is good hot or cold.

FYI: I made a cold soup once using my homemade broth. It jelled when I didn’t want it to, so you might be better off using canned broth, or vegetable broth.

Thanks!

We could not have our very successful market if it weren’t for the terrific cooperation that we have both financially and otherwise from individuals and organizations including our sponsor, Concerned Citizens for Springfield. Robyn Newhouse generously donates to our market each year. The United Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundations gave us some grant money this year. TD Bank at the X copies the weekly newsletter for us free of charge. The Forest Park Civic Association gives us a donation each year. We receive smaller contributions on occasion from some of our customers, and we must also thank the Park and Rec. Department for the City of Springfield for setting up and taking down our equipment each week; it is so helpful. And for such a nice space also.

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Market newsletter ~ October 4, 2016

October 4th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

I am sure that many of you have had the experience I had yesterday; my sink backed up. Since I put in the new disposal several years ago, I haven’t had a problem, but I guess I overdid it while preparing for my holiday dinner for 17. The last time this happened was at a Thanksgiving. It never seems to happen when there isn’t a time crunch. Fortunately most everything was done, so as annoying as it was, it wasn’t a major crisis. And, frankly, I do try to keep things in perspective; having a stopped up sink isn’t a crisis.

This week begins the Jewish new year of 5777. Who knows how they kept time all those years ago, but we say it’s 5777, so that’s what it is. As with any new year, no matter what your religion is (or isn’t) there are wishes for a healthy year, a peaceful year, and a prosperous year.

So, even if you aren’t Jewish (and most of you who read this aren’t) I wish you a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous year.

Including this week, we have only 4 more weeks of this farmers’ market season. Despite the difficult conditions that our farmers had to endure this year, they still managed to bring us superb products, and, if you didn’t know that there was a drought, you wouldn’t have known from our market. Everything was gorgeous and plentiful.

Last week Bill Chicoine was at our market, but he had to leave early because some of his cows had gotten loose, and there was no-one else available to round them up. Another joy of farming that those of us who don’t raise animals don’t think of.

This ‘n’ That

Don’t forget the Springfield hazardous waste collection dates—October 8th and 22nd. Call 787-7840 to make an appointment. This is just for Springfield residents, and it is for home waste only.

Outlook Farm will be having barbecues each Sunday from now to the end of October at their location on Rte.

66 in Westhampton. 12-3.

You can give our wooden market coins as a gift, or you can ask us for a gift certificate that can be redeemed when they come to the market.

You can also start stocking up on non-perishable items to give as gifts.

We are giving out a children’s cooking magazine at the market table. If you have a child that is 7 or up, stop by and pick one up. We have ordered the winter edition also which we’ll have at the winter market at some point. Our winter market starts November 12th. Because of Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, our first two months will be on the second and third Saturdays of each month. In January we’ll be back on the second and fourth Saturdays schedule. The hours are from 10-2.

If you have WIC or Elder market coupons, you MUST use them by the end of October; they do not carry over to the winter market, or next year.

Check out the Amherst Cinema; they have unusual movies and sometimes the Bolshoi Ballet and the National Theatre are streamed from where they were performed.

Buy Life Insurance

If you have people dependent on you, you need life insurance unless you are so wealthy that any of their needs can be taken care of without anything extra. Since that isn’t the case for most people, the rest of us need life insurance. Wealthy people need life insurance as part of their estate planning, but that isn’t what I want to address today.

I read the obituaries since I grew up here and often know someone who has died, or a family member. Very often when a young parent dies, there is a request to make contributions to an education fund for their children. Unless the death is as a result of a tragedy that makes the news, most people aren’t going to receive much in the way of contributions.

I was widowed young; I was 32. My husband had more life insurance than most men his age at that time, but it wasn’t enough for the long haul. We struggled financially for years.

If your family doesn’t have to worry about money at the same time that they are grieving your loss, you will have given them a gift.

Life insurance has gotten less expensive as people are living longer, and many medical conditions (think high blood pressure) are better controlled these days.

Mercy Medical Van

Thanks so much to Mercy Hospital for sending their van to our market each week this season. If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked, or taken some of the information they have available, do so. They will be here until the end of October.

Salsa in a Snap

(all of the ingredients except the lime juice can be

purchased at our market)

4 large tomatoes, halved and seeded 3-4 hot green chile peppers (like jalapenos) with stems and seeds removed 1 small red onion

¼ cup (packed) cilantro ¼ cup fresh lime juice

salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped, but not liquefied.

Red Pepper Sauce

2 sweet red bell peppers, pared

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1. Place the peppers in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped, but not liquid.

2. Combine the peppers, vinegar, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer (slowly bubble) over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, about 15 minutes.

3. Chill thoroughly.

This is good on fish, or with chicken, or use with cream cheese on a cracker.

Paring peppers is tricky. Score the skin (don’t cut into the pepper) and plunge the pepper into a saucepan of boiling water and hold it underwater with a wooden spoon for about 45 seconds. Immediately plunge pepper into ice cold water. Carefully slip the tip of a paring knife under the skin and pull the skin off in strips. If necessary, return the pepper to the boiling water and ice water. Don’t leave the pepper in the water too long; you’ll cook it.

Need a Transponder

By now you all know that the MassPike will be all electronic after the end of October. You won’t be able to pay your toll in cash. If you get a transponder, you will be able to automatically have your toll paid. You will have to have either a checking or savings account because that’s where the money for the tolls comes from. Friday, October 7th, from 10-2, the Jewish Community

Center (aka the J) will have someone from the Mass Department of Transportation there to hand out FREE transponders; bring your account information with you. The J is located at 1160 Dickinson St. While you are there, take a tour; it’s a wonderful facility.

Springfield Public Forum

The Forum is the oldest FREE forum in the country. Each year speakers come to inform us on a variety of topics. This week, Nancy Lublin, CEO of Crisis Text Line, and the creator of Dress for Success, will be the speaker. He topic is “How Tech and Big Data Can Save Lives.”

It is at 6PM at Symphony Hall. The next two are October 25th and November 10th. Check out their website— springfieldpublicforum.org for the details.

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Market Newsletter ~ September 27, 2016

September 27th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

I love this weather. That said, what are YOU doing to preserve some of the fabulous food that we still have available? I bought some purple plums and some apples at Clarkdale Orchards this past weekend. I will make some plum jam, some applesauce, and a couple of apple pies.

I have always been fortunate to live near farms so that I could easily access them to get really fresh food to make jam, etc. each year. I give most of it away, but I love making it, so, for me, it’s more in the making than in the having. Something homemade makes such a good gift.

Other things that are special gifts are local products from our market. Honey, jam, pickles, soap, lotion, etc. All things that won’t spoil, and will get used up. No dusting, washing, or polishing necessary.

This past weekend I attended my godson’s wedding. It isn’t his first, but for sure it will be his last. Unlike the first one, this one blended two families. His mother and I have been friends for 60 years. We were best friends, and we married best friends.

Some of the people at the wedding were friends that I had when I lived in Manchester, NH over 40 years ago. We were all young together; we had our children about the same time; we shared special and not so special times. They were so supportive after my husband died. Being with them is like putting on familiar clothing that is so comfortable. After time with them I am always left with a feeling of having spent my time in a very special way.

I’m going to give you a recipe for an apple cake that my mother used to make. It’s called Nobby Apple Cake. Because it has so many apples in it, it’s very moist, so I don’t think it freezes well. It has very little batter, just enough to hold the apples in.

I know that this apple season isn’t as abundant as last year’s was due to a late frost and the drought. Buy local apples as long as you can; help our farmers. FYI, you can make applesauce out of any kind of apple. You can mix the apples also. If you use a food mill, you don’t have to peel them first. Easy.

Nobby Apple Cake

1 cup sugar

3 T. shortening (I use butter)

1 egg

¼ cup chopped nuts

3 cups diced apples

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup all-purpose flour

Cream shortening & sugar, add egg, mix well. Add rest of ingredients. Use an 8” pan. Bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees about 40 minutes. Note: if the apples are sweet, use less sugar.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Depot

Springfield households only, no businesses.

Two dates, October 8th and 22nd. 8 AM to noon at Grochmal Avenue in Indian Orchard. Call 787-7840 to make an appointment.

Winter Market

On Saturday, November 12th, we will begin our winter market. Many of the vendors that we have here will be there. Come in the Trafton Road entrance, and we will be in the second building on the left—the old monkey house. For those of you who weren’t here when Forest Park had a zoo different than what they have today, it was a monkey house. It has been used for maintenance for over 30 years, so it doesn’t stink anymore. Our hours are 10-2. We usually meet on the second and fourth Saturdays, but due to Thanksgiving being before the fourth Saturday, we will meet on November 19th. Then we will be there on the second and fourth Saturdays through March, and only the second Saturday in April.

The wooden coins you use at our market are good there also. They don’t expire.

 

This ‘n’ That

A few years ago someone called me from an agency in Springfield. He said that he wanted to set up a farmers’ market so that his clients could eat more healthful foods. I told him that having another farmers’ market wasn’t a guarantee that they would eat better food; just because it’s available, doesn’t mean that it will be patronized. I told him that he should teach his clients how to cook. Not only do you control what’s in your food, you save money. We purchased a children’s cooking magazine that we are handing out here at our market. It’s called ChopChop, the fun cooking magazine for families. I think it’s really good. I have ordered the winter issue also.

Have your children help in the kitchen. It’s amazing how much they like to help out. You will instill an interest in them that will last a lifetime.

It’s also well known that children who help in the garden eat more vegetables.

Cathie’s Kitchen will be on and off for the rest of our market season.

You can freeze cider. Pour some out of the container so that it doesn’t split when you freeze it. You can use a glass or plastic container.

You can shred zucchini and put one cup amounts on a cookie sheet and freeze it. Put into a freezer bag when it’s frozen. Then you have the amount you will need when you make zucchini bread or muffins.

You can freeze peppers before cooking. You will be putting them into something that will be cooked, so they’ll be fine.

Vegetable Recipes

Most vegetable recipes don’t have to be complicated to be delicious. They make meals more interesting. SWISS CHARD ARTALIE

This also works well with zucchini and broccoli

2 T. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh red chili pepper

2 large bunches red or green Swiss chard, coarsely chopped, washed and drained (about 1 ½#) 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (about ¾ #) salt and pepper

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili pepper stirring frequently until fragrant and lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.

2. Stir in the chard in batches, allowing each batch to wilt down a bit before adding more. Stir in the tomatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the chard is tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper and serve right away.

Note: If you don’t have fresh chilies use a pinch of crushed red pepper along with a bit of minced red bell pepper if possible to keep the fresh vegetable taste.

CREAMED CARROTS

1 stick butter

2 # carrots, scraped and julienned

4 medium onions

3 T. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

¾ cup half and half

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the butter, carrots, onions, parsley, salt, pepper and ½ cup of the half and half in a 13×9” baking dish. Toss to mix well.

3. Pour the remaining half and half over the top and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the cream is thickened almost to curdling.

Note: The julienne blade of a food processor cuts the carrots just right.

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cider

Market Newsletter ~ September 20, 2016

September 20th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Congratulations to Smyth’s Trinity Farm. They have been named the Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year by the New England Green Pastures Program.

Each year, a van of judges travels the state touring outstanding dairy farms recommended for the award according to a news release from UCONN Extension System in Brooklyn (CT). The judges are past winners of the award which is sponsored by the Extension System as well as members of the dairy industry. Trinity Farm has progressed over the years as a farm that markets 100% of its milk directly to consumers, either by home delivery, the retail store on the farm, or farmers’ markets in Ellington and New Haven, CT and here in Springfield.

Mike and Dale Smyth and their family handle the three layers of management of the farm—herdsmanship, dairy processing, and product marketing. They work long hours (some start at 4AM) and the need for multiple areas of expertise.

Fluid milk, butter, yogurt, kefir, and cheese curds are processed at the farm plant built in 1995, which Mike manages; Dale handles the farmers’ markets.

A recently built bedded pack barn provides comfort for the herd between time on the pasture and time for milking in the older barn. The pack barn was built with assistance from a USDA contract to keep the exercise area covered as a win-win for the environment and the animals, the UCONN release says.

Siblings Sam Smyth and Anne Dugas have co-owned the farm since taking over from their parents in 2010 though their parents are still very much involved in the day to day operation of the farm.

We’re honored said Anne. “We love this industry. It’s something we grew up in, and we’ve learned many things from different people along the way.”

The award was received on September 16th at the Big E.

We are so glad that they are part of our market family.

This ‘n’ That

We have 6 more weeks of the market including this week. Our last day is October 25th. If you have WIC or Elder market coupons, you must use them at our market by that date; they expire at the end of October. If there is another market before the 31st that takes the coupons, you can use them there.

Wooden coins are sold at our market if you use a credit, debit, or EBT card. We have been doing this since 2008. If you swipe your debit or credit card for more than $25, we charge $1 to help us pay for the terminal that costs us about $1,000 a year.

The bonus program that CISA has implemented this year for SNAP/EBT customers has been a huge success. We have many more EBT customers this year. If an EBT card is swiped for $10 or more, the customer gets a $10 bonus. So far this season over $5,000 in EBT bonuses have been given out. That’s 5K that has been spent at our market that wouldn’t have been spent otherwise. Although a customer can only get the bonus once each week, they can get it each week, so that certainly expands their buying power.

SNAP benefits aren’t generous at all, so anything that can expand buying power is good.

Winter Market

Although we are almost 2 months from the start of our winter market, it isn’t too soon to start talking about it. Our first date is November 12th. It is on a Saturday, twice a month. Usually we are there on the second and third Saturdays of each month, November through April, but due to Thanksgiving, we will be there on the second and third Saturdays of November. Also, we will only have one date in April, as the 4th Saturday in April is only 3 days before we open our Tuesday market.

The market is held in the old monkey house which is the second building on your left when you come in the Trafton Road entrance.

Many of our Tuesday market vendors are there plus we always have some others as well.

Uncommon Vegetables—Fennel

The aroma of fennel is sweet and green and anise like. The flavor of fennel is similar to anise, though more full and earthy, sweet and herbaceous. The fruits (commonly called seeds) of fennel are traditional in Italian sweet sausage. Northern Italians often add the seeds to their tomato sauce, and it is used in biscotti and other baked goods. The aromatic blue-green foliage and crisp stems, particularly the bulblike leaf base, are also sliced and used in a variety of dishes, especially seafood preparations, salads, and vegetables. It is also good roasted. You will often find fennel seeds with a candy coating at Indian restaurants as a sweet ending to a meal. The classic method for its cookery (like celery) is braising. That is, cooking the slices, covered, on top of the stove or in the oven, with a smallish amount of liquid until the fennel is tender and its surface can be easily pierced with a sharp knife.

POACHED FENNEL AND PARSLEY

2 medium heads fennel (about 1 ¼ pounds)

2 cups chopped fresh parsley

4 T. unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ cup heavy cream 1/8th tsp. ground nutmeg salt and pepper

1. Trim the stems from the fennel and peel the bottoms. Discard any tough outer stems.

Separate the bulb into pieces. Cut the large ones in half lengthwise. Chop the fronds (leafy green tops) and reserve.

2. Place the fennel pieces with the parsley in a medium saucepan. Cover with water; heat to boiling and boil until tender about 8-10 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; add the onion, cook 5 minutes. Add the cream; cook until fairly thick, about 5 minutes. Toss in the fennel and parsley. Cook until warmed through. Add the nutmeg, and salt

and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped fennel fronds. Serves 4.

Quick Pickled Vegetables

SWEET AND SPICY PICKLED RED ONIONS

1 red onion, halved and sliced thin through root end

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/3rd cup sugar

¼ tsp. canning and pickling salt (kosher) 2 jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into thin rings

1. Place onion in medium bowl. In small saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, salt and peppers to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.

2. Pour vinegar mixture over onion, cover, and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

3. When cool, drain vegetables in colander and serve. Pickled onions can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; onions will turn soft and harsh after 1 week. Garnish a taco, serve alongside grilled sausages or burgers, sprinkle over a green salad.

VIETNAMESE PICKLED DAIKON RADISH AND CARROTS

8 oz. daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2” matchsticks

1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2” matchsticks

¼ cup bottled lime juice

1 ½ tsp. fish sauce

1 ½ tsps. sugar

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1. Combine all ingredients in bowl, cover and let it sit at room temperature for one hour.

2. Drain vegetables in colander and serve. Can be refrigerated for one day. The daikon radish will begin to taste bitter after 1 day.

Serve with Asian dumplings, roll into spring rolls, stir into cold noodle salads, layer onto a sandwich.

Market Newsletter ~ September 13, 2016

September 13th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

There are so many wonderful things going on in our area at this time of year. This coming Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5, you can go to The Kitchen Garden’s Chili Fest. It is in Sunderland at the Warner Farm, 23 South Main Street. You can also go through Mike’s Maze which is at Warner Farm. The cost for the chili fest is $5 children/$10 adults.

Coming up the next week is CISA’s Taste the View on the evening of the 23rd at Quonquont Farm. It is a catered affair with food and drink, plus a silent and live auction. If you are interested, you MUST contact CISA now at buylocalfood.org as they usually sell out.
On the 24th and 25th, the 18th annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival will be held in Orange at 60 Chestnut Hill Road. You can get all the details if you go to their website—garlicandarts.org.

This ‘n’ That

A friend was mentioning that she really likes potato salad, but never buys it because she would eat it all. I told her to just take 2 potatoes and make it from them. She’d probably have enough for 2 servings, and she wouldn’t be tempted by a big container. If you do make any salad like that, mix the dressing together and then add it to the potatoes, or pasta or whatever. You won’t make everything mushy.

Once in a while someone will tell me that they (usually a woman) doesn’t make something because her husband doesn’t like it. I always tell her to make some for herself. So what if he doesn’t like it. Why should any of us not have something we like?

Bring cookbooks that you no longer use to our market. The blue bin needs more books.

Make fresh breadcrumbs, and store them in the freezer. If you don’t, they will get moldy. If you use the plastic bag that the bread comes in, you’ll know at a glance what’s in the bag.

Take your tag sale signs down when the sale is over.

Take a plastic bag with you when you go for a walk and pick up litter. Every little bit helps.

Meet the Vendors—Bear Meadow Farm

Bear Meadow Farm in Ashfield grows apples, makes hard cider, and keeps bees. It has a growing apiary business that can provide pollination services to growers who do not have their own bees. They produce honey, pollen, and manage apiaries in Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire counties. Their farm cidery produces New England style hard cider aged in whiskey barrels. They use a minimalist approach to apple orcharding as slightly stressed trees lead to a more flavorful cider. Their cider is from a blend of orchard-grown and wild apples, and is released each June during the middle of the honey production season. They bottle a dry and semi-dry cider that has been sweetened with honey.
They sell at area farmers’ markets, restaurants and fine retailers. It is run by Rick and Nancy Intres and was founded in 2005. Their cider makes a great gift.

Baked Herbed Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes, halved horizontally
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ tsp. (or more) chopped garlic
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
½ cup coarse bread crumbs (panko is good)
1 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Arrange the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels and leave to drain for about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place the tomatoes, cut side up in a baking dish and fill each half with the bread crumb mixture.
4. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden on top, but still hold their shape, not more than 10 minutes. Serve right away, or at room temp.

Apple Season is Here!

Go apple picking. There are many places that offer pick your own apples. Go to buylocalfood.org for local Massachusetts orchards. Connecticut also has some of course.

A friend’s mother used to put the amount of blueberries in a freezer bag that she needed for a pie. You can do the same thing with apples. Or, make a pie, and freeze it unbaked.

Make applesauce; it couldn’t be easier. You can can it or freeze it; freezing is easier. Just don’t fill the container up too much or it will crack the container. Wash and cut up apples, no need to peel or core. Put in a pot with a tiny bit of water on the bottom to keep them from scorching; cook until mushy. Use a food mill to puree the apples. Add cinnamon and a little bit of sugar. You’re done. SO much better than commercial applesauce.

Apple Walnut Crisp

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/8 cups packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups walnuts, toasted cooled and finely chopped
1 ½ tsps. cinnamon
¾ tsps. salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut into 1/2” cubes and softened
4 ½ # sweet-tart apples
3 T. fresh lemon juice
4 ½ T. granulated sugar
2T all-purpose flour
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13×9” glass or ceramic baking dish (3-3 ½ quarts).
2. 2. Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your finger tips until mixture forms small clumps.
3. Peel and core apples and cut into ¼” thick wedges, then toss with lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour in a large bowl.
4. Transfer to baking dish, spreading evenly.
5. Crumble oat topping over apple mixture and bake until topping is golden and apples are tender, about 45 minutes.
6. Makes 8 servings. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Potato, Carrot and Zucchini Kugel

5 large eggs
3 medium onions, peeled, cut into 1” pieces divided
14 green onions, coarsely chopped, divided
40 oz. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1” cubes, divided
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1” pieces, divided
1 large zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces, divided
½ cup unsalted matzo meal or regular bread crumbs
2 ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. black pepper, 8 tsps. vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine 3 eggs, half of onions, and half of green onions in a food processor. Blend until mixture is almost smooth and fluffy. Add half of other vegetables. Blend until vegetables are finely chopped.
3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
4. Repeat with remaining eggs, onions, etc.
5. Add to mixture in bowl.
6. Whisk in matzo meal or bread crumbs, salt, pepper and half of oil.
7. Brush remaining oil over bottom and sides of pan. Put pan in oven until very hot then pour the mixture into it. Bake until top is brown and crisp, about 1 hour. Serve hot

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Market Newsletter ~ September 6, 2016

September 6th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

This coming Thursday, September 8th, is election day for some offices—sheriff, governor’s council, state representative and a few more. It’s on Thursday because the powers that be thought that having it the day after Labor Day would make for a terrible turnout. We have terrible turnouts for most elections around here. I don’t understand it because, to me, it is a privilege to be able to vote. I know it’s not exciting, but being a good citizen isn’t exciting. Please vote. You can register to vote by taking one of the forms that we have at our market table. Not for this week’s election, but for November. All you have to do is mail it in. The League of Women voters campaigned for many years to get the Motor Voter bill enacted. Remember, if you have moved since you last voted, you have to fill out one of these forms prior to the next election so that you will know where to vote.

Ethnic Stores

We are fortunate to live in an area where we have many ethnic stores. You will find a variety of items that you may not find in a regular grocery store, and much of what you find is less expensive. In the South End we have 3 Italian grocery stores where you can also get something to eat while there. They all offer much more than just grinders. Milano’s and Mom and Rico’s are on Main Street; Frigo’s is on William Street. Spices of Asia is on Elm Street in West Springfield near the library. They have fresh, frozen, and dry items to satisfy your palate for East Asian food.
Middle Eastern stores have sprung up in recent years. The Cedars is at Armory Circle in Springfield across the street from the Boland School. They have everything you could want including prepared food and sandwiches made to order.
The Elsafi Supermarket is at 532 Main Street in West Springfield, also Middle Eastern. Not far from there, at 573 Union Street in W.S., is the Victory Market; an Eastern European market. They have a huge inventory including some food to take out and a large delicatessen.
We have several Asian markets including the Saigon Market on Belmont Avenue in Springfield, as well as the FoodZone market which has a large Asian section also on Belmont Avenue. Then there is the Asian market on Pomona Street off Sumner Ave., and a small Asian market in the South End.
Although I’m not familiar with them, I know that there are Polish and Portuguese markets in our area.

A Poem—Eating Cantaloupe by Midge Farmer-from If I had my life to live over, I would pick more daisies

I scrape the seeds from a halved cantaloupe

pare off the thick

veined rind, cut and hold

a wet, orange slice.

I eat standing over the sink.

Juice runs across the back

of my hand, drips from my wrist

forearm and chin

even though I quickly suck

and lap as I bite off

each chunk.

The brash color, variegated

texture and gush of juice

from the fruit give me purpose

for this day.

I am the fruit

seeds gone, wrinkly shell

peeled off to reveal

soft flesh covering muscle

electric-bright mind

and life-juice still rampant

still far from being sucked

away.

This ‘n’ That

You only need to use one half of a dryer softening sheet each time you have a load of clothes in the dryer; they will come out fine.
We now have t-shirts in all sizes, so if you’ve been waiting for a M-L or XL, we have them.
Start collecting non-perishable items to give as holiday gifts. You can make some lovely gift baskets with some of what is at our market.
Did you know that you can get former Tanglewood concerts online by going to WCRB?
This is the 19th year of our market.
You can make a fabulous vegetable soup this time of year.
Native melons are picked ripe. Don’t leave them on the counter to get soft; you’ll end up with a mushy melon.
Bring cookbooks that you don’t use anymore to our market and put them in the blue bin. Someone will take them.

Recipe—Onion Marmalade

From Greene on Greens

This is good on unbuttered vegetables or a baked potato, or a hamburger. And, it stores well, up to six months in a sterilized jar in the fridge.

1 stick unsalted butter
2# yellow or white onions, half, sliced ½” thick
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2/3 cup sugar
2 T. dry sherry or white wine
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
¼ cup honey
½ cup chopped pitted prunes
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in the onion slices, tossing well to coat them with the butter. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper; reduce the heat to low. Cook covered 30 minutes.
2. Remove the cover from the skillet, add the remaining ingredients, and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until very dark in color and thickened, about 2 hours. Take care, as the marmalade will burn easily toward the end of the cooking time. Reduce the heat if it is cooking too fast.

Cool and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 pints.

Corn Pudding

¼ cup sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1 ½ tsps.. salt
6 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream or half and half
½ cup butter, melted
6 cups fresh corn kernels (about 12 ears) or 6 cups frozen whole kernel corn, or 6 cups canned white shoepeg corn, drained
1. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Whisk together eggs, cream, and butter.
3. Gradually add sugar mixture whisking until smooth; stir in corn.
4. Pour into a lightly greased oblong baking dish.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and set.
6. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

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Market Newsletter ~ August 30, 2016

August 30th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager 

Don’t you just love shopping at the market this time of year? The hard part is deciding what to buy because this time of the year there is so much to choose from. If you can or freeze some of the bounty, you can enjoy the summer later on.
I always make roasted tomato sauce, applesauce, jam, bread and butter pickles, and sometimes salsa. I freeze blueberries, rhubarb, and peaches which, alas, I can’t do this year due to there being no local ones. I like being able to make something with native fruit during the winter.
Although my family is all grown up, one of my sons lives nearby, and I have friends that I share with. I don’t have a lot of money to give away, so by sharing some of what I make, it makes me feel good.
If you make jam, look for some unusual combinations to make. I made raspberry/peach jam one year that I called peach melba. Then I have made peach cantaloupe with a cinnamon stick that is nice and chunky. I freeze all of the jam that I make, so it lasts a long time.
If you have a special recipe, share it with your family. So often we hear that so and so made a wonderful something, but no-one got the recipe from them prior to their death. Or, make notes in your favorite cookbooks so that when your family is going through your stuff, they will know which recipes you liked.
If you’ve never tried fried green tomatoes, do so. They aren’t sour or bitter at all. Slice, dust with seasoned flour, dip in egg then dip in corn meal. Fry in a frying pan with some oil. Just sprinkle them with salt. Delicious.

This ‘n’ That

If you live in Springfield, you can call 311 for bulk pickup, or to report a code violation, or to be connected to any city department. It’s available in English and Spanish.
Please take your tag sale signs down when the sale is over. Also, if you can whack those stop smoking, or we buy houses signs down from telephone poles, do so. They are illegal, and they junk up the area.
This is going to be the last week that we hand out the X tokens to folks who use their EBT cards as we will have used up the grant money that we received to do that. Those tokens were used to purchase fruits and vegetables only.
Make your own mashed potatoes. Nothing could be easier.

Personal

My daughter Jennifer (I only have one daughter) was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in May. As it is a genetic condition, (which we didn’t know about) the doctors believe that this is what her dad died from when he was 40.
Her condition has progressed to the point where she needs open heart surgery. It is a very specialized surgery, so she will have it at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. As of today she doesn’t have a date for the surgery. (We hope it is very soon as she is uncomfortable.) I will be gone from the market for a while. Don’t know when I’m leaving, don’t know when I will return. It all depends on what she needs when we get back to where she lives (D.C.) Fortunately, we have terrific volunteers at our market, and our vendors are very self-sufficient, so you won’t notice a difference except the smart-mouthed manager won’t be at the table to tease you. Also, I have someone who lives in my house so the plants will be watered, garbage taken out, etc. It’s almost like living in a condo; all I have to do is walk out of the house and I won’t have to worry. I will spend my energy being concerned about my daughter.

Cookbooks

Bring cookbooks that you aren’t using anymore and put them in the blue bin at the market table. You are welcome to take some also. We all have cookbooks taking up space on our shelves that we either barely, or never use, so give them away.

UMASS Extension

Thanks to the ladies from UMASS Extension who have come to our market 5 times this season with new ideas about how to use some of the local produce. They also give out lots of recipes and other ideas on how to eat healthfully.

Recipe—Panzanella
6 cups cubed stale bread
6 cups tomatoes cut into chunks
4 large garlic cloves minced
2 T. chopped fresh oregano leaves
½ cup roughly torn fresh basil leaves
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
½ cup pitted olives
1. Place the bread in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and basil and toss to mix. Pour in the vinegar and oil and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes so flavors can blend.
2. Toss the olives, if using, toss again, and serve.
3. Note: the bread for panzanella should be country style, with a coarse crumb. Otherwise the salad will be soggy.

Grilled Veggies in a Jar
1. Fill a large jar with an assortment of garden vegetables such as summer squash, onion, any kind of pepper, whole heads of garlic, eggplant,Leave the veggies whole if they are small,or cut in half if large.

Add:
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
12 sprigs of fresh parsley
10 garlic cloves cut in half
1 tsp. black pepper
2 T. balsamic or red wine vinegar or juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil.
2. Mix and set aside to marinate at least 30minutes or up to 3 hours
3. Place the veggies around the edges of the grillrack to cook while your meat or fish cooks.

Unusual Produce-Tomatillos

Tomatillos are part of the botanical family that includestomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. In flavor, however,they differ widely from the other nightshades. The tasteand texture most closely resemble green tomatoes, but with a softer, more glutinous pulp, a bit like okra, and a sharper taste. Like green tomatoes, they are almost never used raw. Instead, they are better suited as a mild thickening addition to Mexican and South American style soups and stews or as the center of an unassertive green tomato salsa. Here’s a salsa recipe using tomatillos.

CONNECTICUT SALSA

20 tomatillos, about 1 ¼ pounds
2/3s to ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
(If you want it spicy, add red pepper flakes)
1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Peel the papery husks off the tomatillos and add them to the water. Simmer until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool in the water.
2. Lift the tomatillos out of the cooking liquid and transfer to a food processor. Add the cilantro and garlic and puree as fine as possible. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over low heat. Stir in the onions and cook slowly until slightly wilted and no longer sharp tasting, 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatillo mixture and the salt, stir to mix and bring to a boil. Remove from heat right away and transfer to a bowl. Cool, then refrigerate until the flavors soften and blend.

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Market Newsletter ~ August 23, 2016

August 23rd, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

The sound of the rain Sunday evening was wonderful. I fell asleep listening to it. I am sure that as nice as it was for me, it was music to our farmers’ ears.
You probably all know that hay is cut when it’s dry, and expected to stay dry so that it can be baled. But, it has to grow first, and without sufficient water, this year is a bad year for hay. That means that dairy and cattle farmers will most likely have to purchase hay which will drive up their costs.
I don’t know how many of us think about why something costs what it does. I remember years ago when the cost of petroleum products started going up, it seemed as if everything cost more. The cost of transporting goods went up. Plastic,  which has petroleum as an “ingredient,” went up, and we all know how much of our lives includes plastic. Many service businesses started adding a trip charge to compensate for the high cost of fuel. And so on, and so on.
Most of us who own vehicles have one or two. Farmers have trucks, tractors, other farm equipment, greenhouses to heat, workers to pay, supplies to buy, etc. All of these costs must be considered when deciding what to sell their products for.
I don’t like paying higher prices any more than anyone does, but I am so grateful that we live in an area wherehave local farms. I don’t begrudge any farmer whatthey have to charge to make a living. I thank them forraising my food.
Thanks Mayor Sarno for coming to our market last week. I have been nagging him for years to stop by as he hadn’tbeen here since our early years. His wife and daughtersare regular customers here, but he is the mayor, so Iwanted him to see how we’ve grown. We are the largestfarmers’ market in this part of the Pioneer Valley.

Gift Certificates

Would you like to give someone a gift from the market?Give them a gift certificate. Just let us know and we’ll print one up for you.We have many non-perishable items here, so you can also put together a lovely gift basket yourself.

Museum Free Fridays

This summer many museums and gardens in Massachusetts are free on Fridays. It ends on August 26th.

August 26th:
Franklin Park Zoo–Boston
Old Sturbridge Village
Freedom Trail Foundation–Boston
Museum of African American History–Boston
Norman Rockwell Museum–Stockbridge
Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum–Lenox
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

On Sunday October 9, 2016 at 3:00 pm, Springfield’s own Mamie Duncan – Gibbs and Vanessa Ford, along with two-time Tony Award Nominee Vivian Reed, will be bringing their Broadway friends to Springfield Symphony Hall for a spectacular performance. All proceeds will go to sustaining the vital youth and adult programs at the Dunbar Community Center. Tickets start at $10 and are available at the Symphony Hall box office and at symphonyhall.com, and at Broadway
Comes to Springfield EventBrite. Some sponsorship opportunities, starting at $40 are also available. Information can be found on the Broadway Comes to Springfield for Dunbar Facebook page.

August Gardening

• Sow a fall crop of spinach, leaf lettuce, turnips, and kohlrabi.
• Apply organic mulches to vegetable gardens before you go on vacation.
• Check tomato plants daily for tomato hornworms.
• Eat white varieties of onions first since they don’t store as well as yellow onions.
• Sow seeds of basil and parsley in pots for winter use.
• Later summer is the best time to seed a lawn.
• Do NOT store ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator; keep them room temperature.
• Do NOT strip foliage from tomato plants to hasten ripening.
• Immediately harvest tomatoes that are split or cracking.

This ‘n’ That

• Please put your keys in your pocket or purse when you come to the market. It’s too easy to put them down and then walk off and leave them.

• If you lose something here, don’t hesitate to contact us via Facebook in particular, or call the manager; the phone # is on the website.

• Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground; they don’t disintegrate.

• Libraries loan out e-readers; they are loaded with several books. It’s great for when you travel.

• Bring a new neighbor something home-made to welcome them to your neighborhood.

• Or, bring them something from our market.

• The WIC and elder coupons are only for fruit and vegetables. Same for the X token that you get if you use an EBT card.

• Market tee-shirts have been ordered in sizes medium to extra-large. They should be here soon. They are $10 each, just a tiny bit more than what we pay for them.

Recipe—Summer Spaghetti

1# firm, ripe fresh plum tomatoes
1 medium onion
6 pitted green olives
2 cloves garlic
1/3rd cup chopped fresh parsley
2T. finely shredded fresh basil
2 teaspoons (or more if you wish) capers
½ tsp. paprika
fresh or dried oregano to taste
1 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 # uncooked spaghetti
1. Chop tomatoes, coarsely. Chop onion and olives. Mince garlic. Combine tomatoes, onion, olives, garlic, parsley, basil, capers, paprika and oregano in medium bowl, toss well. Drizzle vinegar over tomato mixture. Then pour oil over tomato
mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate covered at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Just before serving, cook spaghetti just until al dante, 8-12 minutes. Drain well. Immediately toss hot pasta with cold marinated tomato sauce. Serve at once.

Stuffed Mushrooms 

White or baby bella mushrooms

Celery

Onion

Corn flake crumbs

Garlic

Butter or olive oil

1. Clean mushrooms, remove and save stems.
2. Put celery, onion, garlic cloves, and mushroom stems in food processor; process until finely chopped, but not mushy.
3. Sauté in butter or olive oil until done, maybe 10 minutes.
4. Process corn flakes in processor and add to sautéed vegetable mixture.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Fill mushrooms.
7. Drizzle with a little olive oil or butter.
8. Bake at 350 about 15 minutes or so.

Mark Your Calendar

Beethoven’s Wig, Sunday, September 25th, 3PM. $10 adults, $5 children. Beethoven’s Wig is the most honored musical group in family entertainment. The group opens the door to “serious music” in a way that’s fun. This is being held at the Wistariahurst Museum at 238 Cabot Street in Holyoke.

 

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Market Newsletter ~ August 16, 2016

August 16th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager 

Last Friday night I had some of my family to dinner. I used lots of local ingredients for it. I love this time of year when I can be creative (or not) and no matter how complicated or simple a recipe may be; it is enhanced by the very fresh delicious ingredients. I made zucchini fritters, gazpacho, caponata, chicken, cole slaw, corn on the cob, and blueberry cake. Everything except the chicken was local, or had local ingredients.
I almost never can anything because I have 2 big freezers, so even my jam and jellies are frozen. Ditto for the roasted tomato sauce I make each year.
Unfortunately, we aren’t going to have peaches due to the extreme cold temperatures that we had in February, so I’ll have to make do with canned this winter.
We are so spoiled in the U.S. that we have produce from all over the world at all times of the year. Once in a while someone will ask me if we have bananas at the market. I always smile and tell them that bananas don’t grow in New England, but, if and when they do, we’ll have them here. They obviously don’t know where things grow. Also, probably because we have strawberries and other produce in the stores all year, some people ask for strawberries in September. The strawberry season is primarily in June. There are ever bearing berries, but those aren’t too common.

Barbara Kingsolver wrote a book several years ago called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” which was about her family’s experience eating food from within 100 miles of where they lived in Virginia for one year. They did make some exclusions like coffee and chocolate, but just about everything else was local. It’s an interesting read. Even in Virginia which has a more moderate climate than we have, it was difficult. But, eating as much local food is definitely worth it. First and foremost, it tastes better. Then it lasts longer. Then you know that you are helping the local economy. Win, win, win.

Crimson Lion won’t be at the market for 3 weeks; they are going to be at fairs selling their products.

Recipe—Caponata 

The only substitution that you can make in this is to use green rather than black olives. Otherwise, it needs all of the ingredients. The amounts don’t matter because you can make a little or a lot.
Ingredients: olive oil, eggplant, celery, garlic, onion, tomatoes, red peppers, red wine vinegar, sugar, capers, Greek or Italian olives.
Cut up and sauté eggplant, onions, garlic, celery, and red peppers until onion and peppers are soft.

Add tomatoes, either fresh, or canned (I like diced ones), and cook until the eggplant is soft. Add vinegar, a little bit of sugar, capers (a lot or a little), and the olives.

Taste. If you think it needs more seasoning, go for it. This is good room temperature. Let it sit for a day in the fridge before serving to blend the flavors. Lasts a long time.

Cantaloupe Soup

Ingredients: Cantaloupe, plain yogurt, fresh ginger, honey, pinch of kosher salt, mint or basil for garnish.

Peel and cut up melon, add 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp. (or more) honey, ¼ tsp. (or more) ground nutmeg, puree.
Chill for one hour or more.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Try to use Roma/plum tomatoes for this. Cut tomatoes, put on rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, bake at 400 degrees until they have collapsed. Puree in food processor or blender. Add fresh basil when pureeing if you want. Freeze.

Meet the Vendors-Bearded Bee

Tom Flebotte is our Bearded Bee. Tom has been keeping bees for about 20+ years. He currently has 30-35 hives spread out over 4 yards. 2 are in Wilbraham and the rest are in Ludlow. Farmers like having bee hives on their farms because they pollinate their crops. Tom is the current president of the Hampden County Beekeepers Association, and he runs 2 booths at the Big E for the club. That is their major fundraiser which helps to pay for the bee school that they run each year to train about 50 new beekeepers.
He owns the house that he grew up in in Ludlow. His family raised sheep. At one time they had a herd of 150 sheep. His parents showed their sheep in all of the local fairs. He and his siblings were active in 4-H. Tom now raises chickens, goats, sheep and cows for his family’s own consumption. He currently has about 100 free-range chickens whose eggs he brings to our market. FYI, the color of an egg shell is determined by the type of chicken that lays the egg.

Concerned Citizens for Springfield

CCS is our sponsor. This organization was established in 1995 primarily by landlords who owned property in the Forest Park neighborhood. They were joined by neighborhood residents who cared about the condition of the neighborhood. Their mission is to enhance the neighborhood through housing restoration and blight remediation. Forest Park is the largest neighborhood in terms of population in Springfield with about 25,000 residents. It has a slight majority of low to moderate income people, and has every type of residence from large apartment buildings to magnificent homes.
Through the years CCS has rehabbed some properties, keeping them from being torn down, torn down distressed properties and built new in their place, landscaped some areas, planted trees, sponsored community fairs, continues to sponsor 2 community gardens, and, of course, this farmers’ market. CCS has sponsored landlord training for new/small scale owners, renovated and donated new playscapes for Johnny Appleseed Park along with the Hampden County Corrections Department and the Springfield Park Department, worked closely with Wynn Development to create affordable housing in the former Longhill Gardens, now Forest Park Apartments, contributed to Sumner Avenue period lighting and gateway signage and much more. They work closely with the City of Springfield’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services. It is an all-volunteer organization.

Outlook Farm’s Blueberry Festival

This time of year Outlook Farm usually has a peach festival, but you know there won’t be any peaches, so they are having a blueberry festival instead this coming Sunday, August 21st. From 12-3 PM they are having a barbecue and music. Outlook is located on Rte. 66 in Westhampton. It’s a pretty ride, and they have a lovely store plus a café if you don’t want barbecue.

Gift Certificates

Would you like to give someone a gift from the market? Give them a gift certificate. Just let us know and we’ll print one up for you. We have many non-perishable items here, so you can also put together a lovely gift basket yourself.

Museum Free Fridays

This summer many museums and gardens in Massachusetts are free on Fridays. It ends on August 26th.

August 19th:
The Institute for Contemporary Art/Boston
USS Constitution Museum–Boston
The Discovery Museums–Acton
EcoTarium-Worcester
The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River
New England Historic Genealogical Society–Boston
Fuller Craft Museum–Brockton
Griffin Photography Museum–Winchester
August 26th:
Franklin Park Zoo–Boston
Old Sturbridge Village
Freedom Trail Foundation–Boston
Museum of African American History–Boston
Norman Rockwell Museum–Stockbridge
Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum–Lenox
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

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Market Newsletter ~ August 9, 2016

August 9th, 2016 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

This is National Farmers’ Market Week. When we started our market in 1998, there were 98 farmers’ markets in Massachusetts; now there are over 250. In the U.S. there are more than 7,000 markets. Some say that there are too many. If there are too many markets in any area, the farmers have to work harder to make the same amount of money that they used to earn when there were fewer markets. Just because you want a farmers’ market doesn’t mean you should have one. A few years ago a business owner in Agawam told me he thought they should have a market there. I told him that they have 2 very good farm stands in Agawam (Cecci’s and Calabrese’s) and that they didn’t need a farmers’ market there.
Farmers’ markets are lots of work for the vendors, especially farmers. They start early and end late. I once asked a farmer if when it was going to be hot if they started early and worked ‘til noon. He told me that they worked until the work was finished; no special hours for very hot weather.
Sometimes someone says that farmers’ markets are expensive. Just like the prices anywhere, there are many factors that go into pricing. Here in the Northeast, our large farms are small in comparison to farms in many other parts of the country. Small production farming is more expensive than large production farming. They don’t have economy of scale.
Just as we should all try to purchase as much as we can from local businesses, we should do the same with our food. The money that is earned is very often spent locally; it trickles down to the local economy.
I am grateful that there are many people who want to do the hard work of farming.

Gazpacho

There are hundreds of recipes for this soup. It is Spanish in origin and is considered to be a liquid salad. Here is my recipe. As with any soup, the amounts of any ingredients are always variable.
Ingredients: Tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, hot red pepper flakes if you want it spicy.
Method: Puree some tomatoes to make a base. Rough chop more tomatoes and the remaining vegetables then add the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Don’t use too many onions or too much garlic. It should be served very cold, but the olive oil solidifies a little so it needs to melt before you serve it. It will still be cold when it is served. I use my food processor to puree and chop everything, but a blender works also.

Recipe—Zucchini Basil Muffins

2 large eggs
¾ cup whole milk
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tsps. salt
1 T. baking powder
2 cups zucchini, grated, squeezed dry
2 T. finely julienned fresh basil
½ cup Parmesan, Romano, or similar hard grating cheese
Mix all ingredients except cheese together. Sprinkle cheese on top of muffins. Fill each muffin cup about ½ full. Bake about 20-25 minutes in 425-degree oven.
Serve warm.

Another Recipe—Tomato Cheddar Pie

Makes a 9” pie
Make a recipe for a one crust pie crust, chill for at least one hour or overnight.
Ingredients: Filling—about 2 pounds of tomatoes sliced ¼” thick
¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
all-purpose flour (for surface)
1 cup finely chopped Vidalia or yellow onions
½ T. unsalted butter
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar, about 4 oz.)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. hot sauce
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, parley and/or thyme
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Line a rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Arrange tomato slices on prepared sheet, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and cover with more paper towels. Let drain at least 30 minutes.
1. Position rack in bottom rung of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. After the pie crust dough has chilled, lightly flour work surface and roll out dough to a 13” round. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin, then release into pie pan. Trim edges to leave 1” overhang and crimp as desired. Freeze dough at least 15 minutes.
2. Line crust with parchment paper or foil and fill bottom with baking beans or weights. Bake crust, rotating halfway through, 20 minutes. (this is called blind baking.) Remove weights, pierce bottom of crust all over with a fork and bake again until very light brown and dry, about 10 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, butter and ¼ tsp. salt and cook stirring occasionally until onion is softened and just starting to brown, 5-8 minutes. Let cool.
4. Combine cheese, mayonnaise, herbs hot sauce, pepper, onion mixture and remaining salt in a medium bowl. Blot tomatoes with fresh paper towels to remove as much remaining moisture as possible. Arrange tomato slices in pie shell
and top with filling; smooth.
5. Bake pie, rotating halfway through until golden brown, 40-45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.
Israeli Salad

Tomatoes, cucumbers, flat leaf parsley, purple onion, sweet peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper Cut up vegetables into small but not tiny pieces. Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste. Make this the same day you are going to serve it.

Saving Herb Seeds

This is the time of year to start saving seeds as many herbs are going to seed now. The key is to catch the seeds before they start dropping and self-sowing in your garden. As the seeds mature, cover the seeds with paper bags to collect them. Cut the flower head stalk and move them to a well-ventilated garage or shed to continue drying. Store the seeds in glass jars in a cool, dark place and try to use them up within 6 months. After that they lose their potency.

Don’t keep any herbs or spices near your stove; the heat destroys them.

Meet the Vendors—Red Fire Farm

It took a bit of doing to convince Ryan Voiland to join our market several years ago, but he has been very pleased to be part of our market. Ryan is a graduate of Cornell University and has been farming since he was a boy. He has been growing with certified organic practices since he began RFF in 2001. The farm produces a wide variety of vegetables, flowers, fruit and a quality selection of vegetable and bedding plants in the spring.
In addition to selling at farmers’ markets, RFF sells wholesale, has farm stands in Granby and Montague, and offers Community Supported Agriculture shares (CSAs).
Ryan’s wife Sarah was an environmental studies major at Vassar College. She started a CSA farm in Stafford Springs, CT, her home town. Eventually she handed it over to others and began working at RFF in 2007, and after meeting and dating Ryan for a couple of years, they married. They have 2 little boys, Wally and Chester.
Every year RFF has a tomato festival at the end of August. This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, August 27th, from 12-6, rain or shine. Go to their website redfirefarm.com for details. There is a fee.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook! Post pictures from the market if you can.