From the Market Manager
On Sunday I took a ride and ended up in West Brookfield at Ragged Hill Orchard. I was looking for another orchard where I had purchased a box of white peach seconds* a couple of years ago for only $10, so was hoping that I could get the same deal this year. I make jam and relishes, and freeze some for the winter.
I never found the orchard that I was looking for, but I got a box of yellow peaches for $15, so happily made some jam yesterday, and peach cobbler, and an upside down cake. I also got a big bag of apple seconds so my applesauce making can begin.
We are so fortunate to have so many farms nearby. There is no reason to purchase produce from out of the area at this time of year. I go to Costco on occasion and see some people putting apples from someplace else in their basket. And, for those of you who really know me, yes, I sometimes say something. I tell them to go to a farm stand or a farmers’ market, or an orchard to buy locally grown apples.
Don’t forget to bring us your unwanted cookbooks, or to take a look at the big blue bin at the market table where you can take what you’d like. Anyone who has a collection of cookbooks has some that they never use.
Do you try new recipes? The only way you’re going to determine if you like something is to make it. Same with new to you vegetables. I always say that just because you didn’t like something when you were young, doesn’t mean that you won’t like it now. Our tastes change. Most of us become more sophisticated as we get older.
* Seconds are imperfect fruit or veggies.
Cobbler, Grunt, Etc.
There are several ways to make summer fruit desserts, and they do differ from each other.
• Cobbler–Baked in a casserole dish with fruit on the bottom and biscuit dough in pieces on top. The rounds of dough resemble cobblestones when baked.
• Grunt–Like a cobbler, but made on the stovetop in a skillet with fruit on the bottom, and spooned biscuit-style dough on top. Also called a slump.
• Crisp–A baked dish with fruit on the bottom, and a crispy layer on top. Unlike a crumble, a crisp usually has oatmeal and/or nuts in the topping.
• Crumble–Fruit on the bottom, with a crumbly layer of streusel, usually made from only sugar flour and butter (unlike a crisp which often contains oats.)
• Buckle–Placed in the pan with cake batter on the bottom, and fruit on top. As it bakes, the fruit settles toward the bottom and is suspended in the cake.
• Betty–Traditionally made with layers of fruit (usually apples) and buttered bread pieces or crumbs, and baked. In some areas a crisp is also known as a Betty.
• Pie–Pastry crust on the bottom, fruit in the middle, and usually pastry on top–either fully covering the pie, or in strips woven together in a lattice.
• Pandowdy–A baked dish with fruit on the bottom, and rolled pastry on top. Once out of the oven, the pastry is broken into pieces, allowing the edges to absorb the juices.
• Upside down cake–Fruit sautéed with brown sugar and butter, then yellow cake batter poured over the top. Baked in oven, then turned over onto serving plate when done.
Recipe–Peach upside-down cake
You can use a baking pan or a black cast iron pan to bake this in. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups (about 5) peaches, peeled and cut
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Melt butter in pan, sprinkle brown sugar in pan and mix it around. Arrange peaches on top of this mixture. For the cake–cream butter and sugar together, add egg. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the mixture with the milk. Pour into pan.
Bake about 35-40 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm. Whipped cream is fabulous with this.
The issue of food
The August 23rd edition of the Boston Globe had a whole section about food. Not recipes, food. You know that on occasion I put in something from a group that I was part of in 2003 through the University of New Hampshire’s Office of Sustainability Studies that studied the future of food in New England. Everyone in the group had something to do with agriculture in New England. My connection was this market.
One of the Globe’s articles was about a regional food plan for New England. We talked about this. In this day and age, it doesn’t make sense for every state in New England, given that we are so close to each other, to have duplication of services. Not only is our region relatively compact in comparison to other states in the country, but consider the communications that we have available to us today. Do we need to have 6 people doing the exact same job in all of our states, or can we regionalize some of the work? We only touched on the issue of the seafood industry in New England. The Globe’s editorial only mentions Boston’s seafood industry, but all of New England except for Vermont has a fishing industry. Farms in New England, in comparison to farms in the mid-West and California, are small even if they are a large farm here. Small production farming is always more expensive than large production farming. Part of the reason that organic farming is
pricer than conventional farming is that much of the work is done by hand. What do we need to do to keep our farmers farming when they don’t have economy of scale? What do any of us who aren’t farmers know about how our food is produced? It isn’t just folks who live in big cities who only go to a grocery store who are ignorant of this. Do any of us who complain about the cost of food ever think about all that goes into getting that food to our plate? And, if you are complaining about the cost of groceries, what is in your grocery cart? Potato chips? (very expensive potatoes) Soda and other drinks that have no nutritional value? Processed food where the farmer earns very little of that cost? Paper goods,
pet food, etc.? How much of the groceries that you buy are real food?
A couple of years ago someone from an agency in the North End of Springfield called me asking for help in establishing a farmers’ market because he wanted his clients to eat more healthfully. I told him that another market wouldn’t necessarily do that but if he taught them how to cook they could get much more value from their food. If you cook most of your own food using real ingredients, you will most likely have healthier food on your table. Also, if you already know how to cook, teach your children. When they grow up they will know how to take care of themselves. What a concept.
Look up the UNH study online; it’s still available. It’s called “The Future of Food in New England.” Get ahold of a copy of Sunday’s Globe. It’s online, or at your library. We are in this together.
BECOME A SCHOOL VOLUNTEER. ALL OF OUR CHILDREN NEED OUR HELP. WE ALL BENEFIT FROM HAVING AN EDUCATED POPULACE.
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