Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager

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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Market Newsletter October 20, 2015

October 20th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Please return your milk bottles to Trinity Farm; they are in dire need of their bottles. FYI, they have to import the bottles from Canada as no glass milk bottles are manufactured in the U.S. anymore. They cost them more than the $2 deposit that we pay. Remove the caps first.

Mark down November 7th and 8th for Cider Days. Both soft and hard ciders will be available throughout Franklin County. Go to ciderdays.org for all of the details. Our “own” Bear Mountain Farm Cidery will be one of the participants at their farm in Ashfield. If you go to Cider Days, you will see many varieties of apples that you’ve never even heard of before.

Make your own barbecue sauce. Depending on whether you want an Asian flavor, or perhaps something more Southwestern, depends primarily on your seasonings. If you keep Asian sesame oil, soy sauce, ketchup, ginger, vinegar, 5 spice seasoning, garlic, and honey or brown sugar in your pantry, you have the makings for an Asian sauce. For a Southwestern flavor use a tomato base, garlic, onion, cumin, sugar or honey, vinegar, salt and pepper, and some hot sauce if you want it spicy. You need to taste it along the way to determine if you need to add something. Making your own sauce is very simple.

Our baker, Sweet Cakes by Tanya, won’t be coming to our winter market, but you can go around the corner to her bakery on Dickinson Street and enjoy her offerings. The shop is right across from Fountain Street.

The CISA bonus for those of you who use your EBT card will continue at the winter market. The “X” tokens will return next summer if we get more grant money.

Skalbite Farms will be at our winter market and he will have chickens.

Winter Market

Our winter market will begin on Saturday, 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.

Unity House Concerts

This coming Saturday, the 24th, at 7:30 PM, the second in this year’s folk music concerts will be held at the UU Church on Porter Lake Drive in Springfield. Mary Lou Lord with Annabelle Lord-Patey, her daughter who will be releasing her own album this year, will entertain us with their singing. The tickets are $15 and $20 at the door.

This ‘n’ That

When looking for a pumpkin that you will be cutting for decoration, look for one with at least one smooth side that will be a good surface for the face. After you purchase your pumpkin soak it overnight; that will make cutting easier. And, after cutting it, rub the cut edges with petroleum jelly to help prevent the pumpkins from drying out. Although it’s a bit of a fuss, take the seeds and put them in a colander, rinse and remove the “strings” from them. If you’d like to have your seeds salty on the inside, not just the outside, boil them in salted water before toasting them. For every 1/2 cup of seeds use 2 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt; simmer for 10 minutes, drain. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the seeds in a little oil, spread on a cookie sheet, and bake for 5 to 20 minutes until they are toasted to your liking. Small seeds will take less time than large seeds.

Save your chicken and turkey carcasses to use for broth.

Add fruit to a tossed salad; it adds a surprising taste. Grapes, oranges, nectarines, apples, and pears are especially good. They all hold their shape well when tossed.
Cook some Swiss chard, drain it, chop it, and use it in a quiche or a casserole.

The last hazardous waste drop off for Springfield residents is Saturday the 31st.

Poke a couple of holes in winter squash, microwave it for about 5 minutes, and when it is cool enough to handle, it will be easy to peel and cut.

Parsnips

This is a vastly underused vegetable. It looks like a white carrot, but it isn’t eaten raw. It is excellent in chicken or vegetable soup as it sweetens the broth a little. It’s also good roasted. If you buy big ones, cut out the core as it is woody. Peel and cut the parsnips into chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 425 degrees in one layer for about 20 minutes. They are excellent candied also. Cook in water to which you have added a little salt until they are tender, drain. Melt some butter and add some brown sugar, then the parsnips. Delicious!

Recipe–Sausage Patties

1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
1 tsp. onion powder
2 T. finely chopped fresh sage
1 T. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 T. salad oil (not olive)
1. Combine in a large bowl and add salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
2. Form the mixture into 8 patties, each 1/2 “ thick. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes each side.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw
2 pounds green cabbage (about 1 small or 1/2 large cabbage)
4 carrots
1 medium onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 cup sugar (or less)
black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
kosher salt
1. Quarter and core the cabbage. Peel the carrots and onion and cut into pieces that will fit through the feed tube of a food processor. Fit the food processor with the grater attachment and push the cabbage, carrots and onion through the feed tube to grate. Toss the grated vegetables in a large bowl.
2. Prepare the coleslaw dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp. black pepper and the cayenne in a bowl. Toss the dressing with the cabbage mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Springfield School Volunteers Read Aloud Program

They still need volunteers. For 5 months you go to a school and read a book to a class. The books are pre-selected, so all you do is pick up the book and go to the classroom. Contact Judy Kelly at kellyj@sps.springfield.ma.us.

Gift Certificates

If you’d like to give a certificate rather than tokens to someone, let us know and we will print one for you. It won’t have an expiration date, so they can use it anytime. We will give the holder of the certificate tokens to use at the market. Stock up now for gifts. There are plenty of nonperishable items that you can buy for gift giving later on. Old people in particular love getting gifts that they don’t have to dust or wash.

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Market Newsletter – October 13, 2015

October 13th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

We have 3 more weeks left (including this week) for this market. Please use your WIC and Elder coupons by the end of our market. They don’t carry over after the end of October. One of the things that I love about our market is the relationships that we establish. Two weeks ago, a young couple who have been regular customers since before they were married, shared with me that they are expecting their first child. They said that they wanted me to hear it from them. I am delighted for them; they will make wonderful parents.

When one of the sons from Trinity Farm was in Iraq in the Army several years ago many people asked about him, and some even brought things to send to him. Then, when their youngest son had a terrible accident on the farm, we had a fund raiser where more than 200 people attended and gave money to help. We have shared in happy and sad times.

Our market isn’t that big, so it isn’t hard to establish relationships with our vendors and with each other. Some vendors have told me that this is their favorite market.

The SNAP bonus that CISA is giving out when the EBT card is used, will continue at our winter market. If you swipe your EBT card for at least $5, you receive $5 in market tokens to use at our market.

Don’t miss the opportunity to pick your own apples. If you don’t have a Locally Grown brochure from CISA, pick one up at the market table, or go to buylocalfood.org and you can be connected to the information about where to go.

As of October 6th, we have given out $1652 in X tokens, each worth $2 and used only for fruits and vegetables. We received grant money this year, so we could do this.

Franklin County Cider Days

Mark down November 7th and 8th for Cider Days. Both soft and hard ciders will be available throughout Franklin County. Go to ciderdays.org for all of the details. Our “own” Bear Mountain Farm Cidery will be one of the participants at their farm in Ashfield.

Winter Market

This will be in the newsletter each week. Our winter market will begin on Saturday, 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.

This ‘n’ That

You know instinctively that because you can purchase something in the grocery store, that you might be able to make it yourself. I make my own condensed milk, hot fudge sauce, and pudding. Many years ago I made cream puffs. I was making the filling, and realized that I had just made pudding from scratch. Ever since then, that’s what I have been doing. If you use Trinity Farm’s milk in it, you will have a superior pudding.

Condensed Milk–1 cup dry milk, 1/3 cup boiling water, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 T. butter.

Mix in blender or food processor until smooth. One can of commercial condensed milk is 14 ounces, so you will need a kitchen scale to make sure you add the proper amount to your recipe since most recipes call for one can.

Hot Fudge Sauce–3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 cup cream or milk, 4T. butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, pinch salt Mix together and cook very gently until it is thickened. Keeps well in the refrigerator.

Cornstarch Pudding (just like the boxed kind)–Scald 2 cups milk (you can warm in the microwave). Mix 3 T. cornstarch, 1/3 cup (or a little more) sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add 1/4 cup cold milk. Add above mixture to the warmed milk. Cook stirring constantly until the pudding thickens, cool slightly and add 1 tsp. vanilla. If you want chocolate pudding, scald the milk with 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, and proceed from there.

Who Takes Book Donations?

Before you donate any books, get rid of the ones that you really think no-one will want to read. Old mysteries where the cops have to stop to use a pay phone are ones that most people won’t want to read for example.

1. O p e r a t i o n P a p e r b a c k – -operationpaperback.org. A non-profit organization that sends gently used books to American troops overseas.
2. R e a d e r t o R e a d e r , I n c . readertoreader.org
3. Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.–hcsdmass.org
4. Book Sale Finder–booksalefinder.com. Find out about upcoming sales in the area.

What’s Doing at Outlook Farm?

There is lots to enjoy at Outlook Farm in Westhampton. You can pick your own apples every day (except when it rains) through mid October from 10-4. Each Sunday through October 18th they will have a BBQ Smorgasbord where they will grill an assortment of their delicious meats and serve it with a selection of sides, AND they have horse drawn hayrides each Sunday from 1-4 PM. There is a fee for all of these of course. You can get soup, sandwiches, and other items at their restaurant throughout the day.

Junk Mail and Catalogues

Do you get too many of these? Want to know how to get fewer? Here are a few places to contact:
DirectMail.com–This is a free service to remove your name from commercial mailing lists.
CatalogChoice.org–Another free service to stop delivery of unwanted catalogs.
OptOutPrescreen.com–Free service to end pre-approved credit card and insurance offers.

Springfield Preservation Trust Cemetery Tour

The tour of Oak Grove Cemetery will visit graves of interesting nineteenth century Springfield residents where costumed interpreters will speak about that person. Hour-long walking tours will depart every fifteen minutes starting at 3:00PM from the former chapel at Oak Grove Cemetery, 426 Bay Street. Come enjoy the wonderful autumn season with this truly one of a kind event. This will take place on Sunday, October 18th. You can purchase your tickets at Flowers, Flowers, 758 Sumner Avenue in Springfield, or online at SpringfieldPreservationTrust.org.

Bay Path University Programs

Bay Path has what they call a Kaleidoscope Series, perspectives on culture, life and learning. The next 3 programs are: “A Tale for the Time Being,” a talk and book signing by author Ruth Ozeki. That’s on Friday, October 16th at 10:30 AM in their Mills Theatre, Carr Hall. Around the World in 90 Minutes, discussion with Marty Easen, author of “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents. That’s on Tuesday, October 20th at 7:30PM in the Blake Student Commons. These two programs need pre-registration. Call 565-1000. On Wednesday, October 21st at 7PM in the Breck Suite, Wright Hall, Writing Fearlessly or Feeling Fear and Writing Anyway is a program by Bay Path’s visiting author, Alexis Paige. All of these programs are free, but please pre-register. If they don’t have enough people attending, they may not have the programs. You can go online to baypath.edu.

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eggplant and cabbages

Market News- October 6, 2015

October 6th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Here we are at the last month of our 2015 season. When we have 90+degree heat, it seems to drag, but with this weather it goes quickly Many people ask when we end our market; we always go to the end of October That is fairly typical for markets in this climate. Those of you who use WIC or Elder coupons MUST use them by the end of October. They do not carry into the winter season. Our last day is the 28th, so use them by then please, or you will be throwing money away. The distribion of WIC coupons is different than theElder ones. If you didn’t get the elder ones this year, contact your council on aging and ask how you can get them next year.Several of our Tuesday vendors will attend our Tuesday’s winter market.

We have 2 certified organic vendors.The Kitchen Garden became certified this year. Red Fire Farm has been certified for many years. Please note that Red Fire brings some items that they don’t grow that aren’t organic. They have signs saying that. Our market isn’t producer only, so our vendors can bring another farmer’s products to us. This expands the variety that is sold here.

Recipe—Lazy Stuffed Cabbage

Even though I have given out this recipe several times before, and it is in our recipe archives, many of you don’t seem to know about it, so here it is again. This is a very easy way to make “stuffed” cabbage without the work.

Cabbage, tomato soup, water, vinegar, sugar, meatballs.  Mix tomato soup, one soup can of water, vinegar and brown sugar to taste. bring to a simmer. cut up cabbage and put into the pot, simmer, cover and cook until the cabbage cooks down some. in the meantime, make the meatballs. I make mine with ground beef, onion, garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, a little water or tomato juice, and salt and pepper.

Before you put the meatballs into the pot, taste the sweet and sour sauce as the cabbage will have diluted it some. Add the meatballs to the pot, cover and give the pot a little shake to get some of the liquid on them. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are done. This is always better the day after you cook it.

Public Planning Meeting

Tonight at 7PM, at the Forest Park Middle School Auditorium, a meeting to discuss proposed transportation, pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the “X” area in Springfield will be held. This is a cooperative  effort by the  DPW  and the Office of Planning and Economic Developmen t. Representativess from these departments will be in attendance. Everyone is welcome.

National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School Month was designated by congress in 2010 to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and teach children about the origins of food. There is a web page if you’d like to get ideas for your classroom, or just for your own children.

Late Gardening

Now is the time to stock uo on your favorite spring bulb varietis. Daffodils are tried and true; squirrels don’t seem to like them as much as they like tulips. You can pot up some herbs now.

Chives, rosemary, and parsley will overwinter indoors. You can put them out again in the spring.

Bing Arts Center

Pick up one of their current brochures at our market table and make it a point to and some of their events. We are fortunate that Brian Hale is willing to put so much of his energy into making the Bing a success. He brings in many
varieties f art to our neighborhood.

 Winter Market

This will be in the newslettr each week. Our winter market will begin on Saturday, 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 Tra]on Road entrance. There will be a sign.

Tokens

Our tokens are purchased for when you don’t have enough cash. You can always use cash; you don’t have to purchase tokens instead of cash. Also, if you have WIC or Elder coupons, you use those directly with the farmer who sells what you can purchase with them; you don’t  exchange them for tokens. Gifts from the Market Now that the weather is cooler, thoughts turn to holiday gi] giving. Look around and you will see many things that will keep unti then that will be greatly appreciated. You can also give them tokens that are used all year and never expire, or give a gi] cerMficate that can be exchanged for tokens  when they come to the market. Honey, maple syrup, etc., soap, loMon, hard cider, wine, salsa, jam, relishes, barbecue sauce, and more. Every week we have people who are new to our market, so this is a way to introduce someone who may not be aware of all that we have to offer. Recipe—Onion Soup This is how I make it; you can always add or  subtract to make it more to your liking. Sauté LOTS of onions unMl they are nicely   caramelized in buQer or oil. Sprinkle some isted flour over the onions, (you can use a strainer for this) not too much, maybe ¼ cup. Add either beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, a litle red wine, and some salt and pepper. The key to good onion soup is having enough onions that are cooked properly. Also, if you use a commercial bouillon for this, you may not need extra salt.

This ‘n’ That

Winter squash is hard to cut before cooking. Here’s a hint on how to make it easier. Poke it with a knife and put it in the microwave for a few minutes.

Buttrnut squash makes an excellent soup. You do it exactly the same way as you do the summer squash soup. Sauté some onions, add the cut up squash, cover with chicken or vegetable broth and cook unMl the squash is so]. You can add a peeled cut up apple to this also. When this is done, puree it then add some half and half or apple cider. Cumin, curry, or a liQle cinnamon and nutmeg is a good seasoning for this soup. If you want to freeze it, do so before adding any dairy.

PS: Buy extra onions and potatoes now; they are winter keepers. Keep them in a cool place.

 

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Market News – September 29, 2015

September 29th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

What I am about to say has nothing to do with agriculture, or our market. It has to do with planning for your family. I don’t know if the reason I read the obituaries every day is because I grew up here, or because I’ve been back in the area since 1981, or what. But, read them I do. I am now in my  70s, and I think that anyone who dies in their 60s or early 70s is “young.” What I do notice is that often, when a person who has young children dies, a request is made to contribute to a fund for the children. Realistically, how much money is going to be contributed? What everyone who has a family to consider should do is buy life insurance. It is less expensive than ever due to life expectancy being longer, and health conditions being managed that contribute to that life expectancy. Get a referral to someone who sells insurance, sit down with them and do some planning. I used to sell insurance. I always told my personal story of being widowed at age 32 with 3 young children. Although my husband had
more life insurance than most people his age, it wasn’t enough for the long term, but what we received made a huge difference in our lives. 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 huge gift.

This ‘n’ That

The Wheelhouse food truck will not be returning to our market. I did get one response about a hot dog cart, but it would be for next year. I hope that Sun Kim returns to our market, but it would be nice to have some additional choices.

Please take down tag sale signs when your sale is over. Also, if you’re out for a walk take down signs of sales even if they’re not yours. Take a plastic bag with you to pick up some litter also.

You can freeze cider. Just pour some out of the container to make room for when it’s frozen, and freeze. You can use different containers also.

If you purchase lots of winter squash, make sure that you store them where they don’t touch each other. That way, if one of the squashes has a
blemish, it won’t transfer to any of the others. This is a good time of year to lay in a supply of onions also.

Recipe–Carrot/pumpkin Soup

Ingredients–

2 T. butter

1 onion
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, roasted and diced
1 T. sage leaves
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
salt and pepper
Sauté onion and carrots, apple, pumpkin and butter ‘til softened. Puree this mixture. Add chicken broth, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer for 5 more minutes. Don’t let it boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Winter squash is often referred to as pumpkin in other countries.

Another Recipe-Cream of Cauliflower Soup

You can use a white or green cauliflower for this soup. Don’t use the purple one, it will have a peculiar color.

Cauliflower
onion
butter
chicken or vegetable broth
cream
curry if desired
salt and pepper
Sauté onion in butter ‘til soft. Add cauliflower, then broth. Cook ‘til cauliflower is soft. Puree. Add cream, simmer, don’t boil. Then add curry if desired, then salt and pepper to taste. If you want a thicker soup when making a soup like this, boil a potato with the vegetables; that will thicken it.

Winter Market
Our winter market begins on November 14th. In November and December, due to the holidays, we will have our market on the second and third
Saturdays. From January through April we will have it on the second and fourth Saturdays. The hours are from 10-2. We are in the old monkey
house. Come in the Trafton Road entrance; the monkey house is the second building on the left.

Local Meat and Poultry

You may have wondered why the cost of locally raised meat and poultry is so much pricier than the grocery store. Economy of scale is one reason. Large companies that raise many animals generally don’t raise their animals the same way that a local farmer does. Local animals are pastured; they don’t live their lives in cages, or in unsanitary conditions. Mike Smyth from Trinity Farm told me many years ago that their cows tend to live considerably longer than cows in large dairies. Also, local farmers don’t have a slaughterhouse that is convenient to them. Our farmers have to make appointments to have their animals processed, and sometimes they have to wait a long time for an appointment. And, the processing plants are seldom nearby.

Hazardous Waste Disposal Dates

There are two more dates for Springfield residents to bring any hazardous waste for disposal this fall, October 10th and 31st. Call 787-7840 to make an appointment. The hours are from 8-noon.

 Apples 

This is a good year for apples. Our local farmers have a good crop. If you’d like to have a book that will give you chapter and verse (plus some  recipes) about them, pick up a copy of “Apples of New England.”) It’s available in paperback. There are more than 200 apple varieties grown in New England. There is no reason at all to buy apples in the fall from someplace else.

Pick up a copy of CISA’s Locally Grown, or go to their website, buylocalfood.org for information about where you can pick apples. Although  apples are available all year long, you can make apple crisp or pies and freeze them for later use. Perhaps you can get a head start on your Thanksgiving desserts.

Jewish Community Center–The J

There is a treasure just down the street from Forest Park on Dickinson Street. It’s the local J. It is open 7 days a week, and they have programs for babies through senior citizens. Membership is available to everyone. They have daycare and a pre-school. They have after school programs, an olympic-size swimming pool with all sorts of classes available. There is a Cybex center with different types of exercise machines, and you can sign up for individual training as well. The building is clean, everyone is cordial, and it’s a comfortable place to be on a regular basis. There’s a lovely gift shop in the lobby as well as a small coffee shop where you can get something to eat. They have an 8 week summer camp and vacation
day camps as well during the school year. They have some programs that are adaptive for children , so they don’t have to feel left out. Check
it out. You can go for a tour with no obligation.

Market Newsletter – September 22, 2015

September 22nd, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

We have 6 more weeks left in this market season. Where does the time go? On the 90+ degree days, it goes very slowly. I try not to complain about being uncomfortable because I don’t do the hard work; our vendors do. I once asked Tim Wilcox from The Kitchen Garden if, when they knew it was going to be very hot, if they went out very early and quit early. He told me that they didn’t, that they worked until the work was done.

Those of you who are regulars and who have been reading my newsletter for years, know that I emphasize how important it is to support farmers. They work hard 7 days a week to bring us excellent products, so we must support them. I always say that if you say to someone you’d like to go for a ride in the country, you aren’t going to look at housing developments, you’re going because it’s pretty. That actually is one of the subjects that was discussed in the study of the Future of Food in New England that I was part of in 2003. There is an economic benefit to having countryside.

FYI, the mushroom vendor has decided to stop coming to our market for the rest of the season. I don’t know about the winter market though.

We’d like to have a hot dog vendor at our market next year. If you know of one, please have them contact me via our website or Facebook page. Addresses are on the top of this page.

Our Market’s History

Some of you have been coming to our market from day one, and know our history, but others don’t, so here it is. In the fall of 1997 I mentioned to my friend Karen Thomes that it would be really good to have a farmers’ market in our Forest Park
neighborhood. She told me that her husband Michael had recently said the same thing, so the next day I called him, and we were on our way to organizing the wonderful market that we have today. We have been extremely fortunate to have had
excellent cooperation every step of the way. The X Main Street Corporation was our initial non-profit sponsor, and Goodwill hosted us in their parking lot for 8 years. When we needed to move for a variety of reasons, Trinity United Methodist Church agreed to host us. Concerned Citizens for Springfield became our sponsor. That was a terrific location, but we ran out of space, so that’s when we moved to Forest Park. One of the reasons that having a non-profit as a sponsor is important, is that it allows us to apply for grants, many of which only go to non-profit organizations. We started with 5 vendors. Outlook Farm has been with us from day one. While we weren’t totally ahead of the curve (Massachusetts had 98 markets in 1998, now there are over 250), we were on the cusp of the huge increase in markets and the increasing interest in purchasing locally grown/raised food. We currently have the most diverse market in the Greater Springfield area. Since we started, there have been 8 markets that have cropped up. (Pun intended.) Lots of folks want a farmers’ market. In many areas there are too many markets. That’s a topic of discussion among the farmers’ market community nationwide. Just because you want one doesn’t mean that you need one. No market is going to be convenient for all consumers, but it is what it is especially when the market is only once a week. We are fortunate to live in a region that still has lots of farm stands to shop at.

Music at the Market

If you would like to volunteer at our market please let the manager know. You can play for tips, and a gift from the market. Music is a nice addition, so if you or someone you know wants to add to our ambiance please do.

This ‘n’ That

If you want to roast or can tomatoes for sauce, you have to do it NOW. Canning tomatoes are very available, but they are also very ripe. Roasting is easy–375-400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cut them, put them on a rimmed cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and some kosher salt, and that’s it. When they’re done, put them in a blender or food processor and puree. It freezes perfectly. When you go to use it, it’s good by itself, or as an ingredient in a sauce.

This is also the time of year to make plum jam. Use the Italian prune plums. The skin is purple and the inside is yellow. It cooks into a gorgeous red color, and even with sugar in your recipe, it’s a little tart.

If you are looking for a special occasion cake, check out Sweet Cakes by Tanya’ s website–sweetcakesbytanya.com. She has a shop on Dickinson St., so she’s local.

Compliments to CISA from Ellen Berry, one of our volunteers 

Someone from CISA was at our market a couple of weeks ago and asked Ellen to give him her perspective. This is what she wrote. “It was a pleasure to talk to you the other day at our market. As you requested, I am sending you my personal  observations about the bonus program your wonderful organization is sponsoring this season for folks using their SNAP benefits at our market. I think it’s great; it’s that simple.

People of all ages, nations of origin, and financial circumstances, come to our market. Some of them have SNAP support for themselves and their families and I am so happy when they come to our market table to get tokens using their benefit dollars. Some feel awkward about needing help and showing their SNAP card. Arrgghh! I just hate that! As I told you, I am one of the lucky people who have never had to worry about paying for food, shelter, etc. I didn’t have a clear idea of who needed food stamps. Working at the market has opened my eyes to the wide variety of people who rely on this program. There is no reason to be embarrassed about needing some help, and every reason to be applauded for using that extra money to buy healthy food from local producers. I am a friendly and outgoing gal from the Midwest being that way is in my DNA (not that New Englanders aren’t…) – but I am particularly welcoming to those folks who are using their precious benefit dollars to shop at our farmers’ market. So having the incentive, reward, bonus, free money (it’s all of those) to give them is thrilling to me! I have seen so many faces light up with pleasure when I explain that they will have more to spend! So, kudos to CISA for providing this extra spending power. You know I volunteer at this market because it is so satisfying to me personally. I’ve been a patron at the market since its inception. When I was given the opportunity to support it by  participating every week, I jumped at it. Like many, I am a foodie, a locavore, a real food believer, and a community involved person. Community is the key word. Our wonderful market is more than a place to buy things; it is an actual  community. So many people have established long-term relationships, vendors with vendors, customers with vendors, customers with other customers, that it transcends merely a shopping place and has become a kind of town common.”

Thanks!

Many people and organizations help to make our market successful. Thanks to Concerned Citizens for Springfield, our sponsor. To TD Bank at the X who copies our weekly newsletter for us. To Robyn Newhouse for her annual contribution, to Health New England and the Farm Credit Bank of Enfield for providing grant money this year. To the Park Department for providing us with such a beautiful space and for such good helpers every week, and to several customers who give us financial support. It takes lots of people to make a farmers’ market work as well as ours does.

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/farmersmarketatforestpark

tomatoes