From the Market Manager
I watched a documentary on WGBY this past weekend. It is called “A Long Row in Fertile Ground.” You can get it online.
It is about farming in Western Mass, specifically the Pioneer Valley. I thought it was extremely interesting and well done.
Some of the things that I learned are:
There are 350 orchards in Massachusetts; we are 12th nationally in amount of apple production.
There are fewer than 150 dairy farms left in Massachusetts, down from 3,000 in 1959.
Since World War 2 the number of farms here has dwindled from 35,000 to about 8,000.
We get about 10-15% of our food from local farmers.
About 5% of the land in New England is farmland.
I know that many of you are regular customers of our farmers’ market. You appreciate and value the hard work that our farmers do. All of us who live here in the Pioneer Valley must recognize that we have a stake in maintaining our farmland. That’s why I always say that it is important to go out of our way to support our farmers.
Something else that was mentioned in the documentary was APR, the Agriculture Preservation Restriction Program. This is a voluntary program which is intended to offer a non-development alternative to farmers and other owners of “prime” and “state important” agricultural land who are faced with a decision regarding future use and disposition of their farms. Toward this end, the program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between the fair market value and the agricultural value of their farmland in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which precludes any use of the property that will have a negative impact on its agricultural viability.
Massachusetts’ APR program began as an act of the Legislature in 1979, and was the first in our nation. It has become the model upon which many other states have built their programs. The Mass APR has permanently protected over 800 farms and a total land area of over 68,000 acres. The primary purpose of the APR is to preserve and protect agricultural land, including designated farmland soils which are a finite natural resource, from being built upon for non-agricultural purposes or used for any activity detrimental to agriculture and to maintain APR land values at a level that can be supported by the land’s agricultural uses and potential.
October 1st is the first public forum of this year. It is held at Symphony Hall, and this week’s program is at 7:30. This is the oldest free public forum in the country. This week’s speaker is Adam Minter and his speech will be Junkyard Planet: travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade. You may not think that this is interesting, but I saw a movie recently, and it is a fascinating subject.
This market is held in the old monkey house here in the park. Come in the Trafton Road entrance; the monkey house is the second building on the left. We will start on November 8th, then the 22nd, then December 13 and this is different, the 20th of December also. From then on we will be there on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.
Once again this is a recipe that depends on what size pan you will use to determine the amount of the ingredients. I have made this in an 8×8” pan, and 9×13” pans, and a rimmed cookie sheet as well as a regular pie plate. You will just have to figure it out yourself.
Ritz cracker crumbs
onions–yellow are fine
whole milk or half and half (NO skim milk)
salt/pepper or Old Bay Seasoning
Mix a stick of butter (or enough to hold the crumbs together) with at least one sleeve of crackers that you have made into crumbs; press into pan, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Saute lots of onions in some butter until they are softened and caramelized. This takes quite a while. Put them in the baked crust.
For an 8×8 or 9×9 pan use 4 eggs, mix them with the milk or half and half, about a cup and a half I think. (I’ve been making this for over 40 years, so I eyeball it and don’t measure.) Add the salt & pepper, or Old Bay.
Use a flavorful cheese like cheddar; don’t use a mild cheese; put a cup or two of cheese on top of the onions.
Pour the egg/milk mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. If you are unsure if it is done, poke a knife into the middle, if it comes out clean, it’s done. This is good hot, or warm. Makes a great appetizer.
Raffle Winner–Marie Spedero
This ‘n‘ That
I don’t understand why some people think we don’t need to expand our bottle bill here in Massachusetts. If it helps to clean up the environment, how can it be bad? Unfortunately many of the non-deposit bottles aren’t recycled. I recycle anything that I can, but a lot of people aren’t as anal as I am.
Gluten & Allergen Free Expo
Mark your calendars for October 25th & 26th for this expo to be held at the Mass Mutual Center. A one day ticket can be purchased in advance for $15, or at the door for $20. For more information go to fgafexpo.com, or contact Laura Gruninger at email@example.com.
Just as symphonies, museums, and opera companies depend on contributions beyond the cost of tickets, so do we. Thanks to our sponsor, Concerned Citizens for Springfield. And to Robyn Newhouse, the Forest Park Civic Association, TD Bank at the X, and United Bank for financial support. We also get some contributions from customers who love us. So, if you love us, and want to contribute, we’ll take it.
Jewish Community Center
The J is open to everyone, and they have programs for all ages, from the very youngest to the very oldest. There’s a pre-school, as well as vacation day camps, and a summer day camp. There are programs for children with special needs, exercise programs, an olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts, a health spa, raquetball and squash courts, yoga classes, and so much more that there isn’t space to list them.
1160 Dickinson St. in Springfield is the address. Stop in and ask for a tour; you’ll be amazed at what’s available there.
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