Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager

Market Newsletter – July 28, 2015

July 28th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

This week marks the halfway point of our market this year; we go through the end of October. Years ago there was a movie that said “If it’s Tuesday, this Must be Belgium.” It was about someone’s trip to Europe where they went to lots of countries in a short period of time. I feel like we should say, “If it’s Tuesday, it is going to rain.” It hasn’t rained every week, but almost.

We are a rain or shine market. Our vendors work every day. Stuff grows, animals need to be fed, milk needs to be bottled, etc. You are really good about showing up on rainy and/or hot days because you appreciate the hard work that goes into attending a farmers’ market.

If we have a thunderstorm we will be here unless it’s at the very end of the day in which case, we’ll pack up a little early. Obviously, don’t come during a storm.

Last week I gave you a recipe for zucchini corn bread. It calls for 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. If I were to make it again, I think I’d use allpurpose flour only; might make the texture a little lighter. No problem with the taste.

This ‘n’ That

•The tokens sold at our market do not expire. They can also be used at our winter market. They make excellent gifts.

• We have voter registration forms at our market table. Fill it out, we’ll pay the postage to send it in.

• We have a new supply of tee- shirts. They are $10 each and make excellent gifts.

 Recipe–Summer Squash Greek Style

There are no amounts for this recipe; you decide.

Ingredients–summer squash, olive oil, onions, garlic, basil/oregano/parsley/mint, you choose, canned diced tomatoes with juice (or fresh tomatoes cut up), salt & pepper.

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add cut up squash, one type or a variety, add rest of ingredients and cook until the squash has softened.

Even if the squash gets mushy, it will still taste good.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Late July Garden News

When landscaping, native plants are a wise choice because they are hardy and more likely to withstand extreme weather conditions. When carefully selected, natives can provide natural color and beauty, food and shelter for wildlife, shade, and erosion control, and can attract beneficial insects and birds. Phlox is known for getting mildew. If you are just now going to plant some, buy the mildew resistant varieties. If you already have some, use a horticultural or summer oil spray as a preventative. Phlox are great butterfly attractors.

• Begin planning for fall bulb planting.

• Avoid leaf diseases; water the soil, not the plant leaves.

• Check the sharpness of your mower blade.

• Plant leaf lettuce in the shade of taller plants.

• Harvest beans, summer squash, and cucumbers before they get too large and tasteless.

• Do not use any insecticide that contains neonicotinoid. Many experts believe that these are poisonous to bees. It goes through the whole plant, so the whole plant is poisonous to bees.

Tanglewood on the Radio

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra can be heard either on the radio, or streamed on your computer. On Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30, WAMC, 90.3FM, broadcasts it. They also broadcast on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 as does NEPR, 88.5FM. I sometimes invite friends over for Tanglewood on the deck/porch (depending on the weather.)

We eat, read, talk only during intermissions, and clap when the audience does. Parking is easy, price is right, and except for the occasional lawn mower, very enjoyable.

Ethnic Stores

I know that I write about this each year, but we get new people to our market all the time, so it’s worth repeating. We are fortunate to live in an area that has lots of ethnic stores. The prices tend to be less than the grocery stores. Some of these stores sell prepared food also.

Italian–Milano’s, 988 Main St., Springfield. Mom & Rico’s, 899 Main St., Springfield. Zonin’s, 18 Winthrop St., Springfield. Frigo’s, 90 William St., Springfield also on Shaker Road in E. Longmeadow. La Fiorentina in East Longmeadow corner of Chestnut and Shaker Road is more than a bakery.

Asian–Food Zone, corner of Oakland St. and Belmont Ave., Springfield. Asian Market, 17 Pomona St., Springfield. Saigon Market, 308 Belmont Ave., Springfield. There is also another one on South Main St. in Springfield. Don’t know the name of it. Spices of Asia, 3 Central St., West Springfield. South Asian groceries, etc.

Middle Eastern–Cedar’s Food Mart & Grill, 405 Armory St., Springfield. Elsafi Supermarket, 532 Main St., West Springfield. There is a new one on Sumner Ave. in the Goodwill building.

Russian/Polish–Victory International Market, 537 Main St., West Springfield. While you are over there, try a new mostly takeout restaurant. Taste of Lebanon at 553 Main St., W.S.

Another Recipe–Corn Pudding

This is the perfect time of year to make this now that corn is in season. It is sweeter with native corn.

3T melted butter, plus more for the pan

2 cups corn

1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp. salt

1 large eggs

2 cups whole milk or half and half (no skim)

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all together and bake in a greased pan (8×8 or 9×9) about 45 minutes.

What Nonperishables can you put into a Gift Basket from the Market

Honey, etc. from The Bearded Bee. Soap, lotion, bug spray, lip balm from Susan Parks. Maple products, jams, canned items from Maple Corner Farm. Jam, salsa, relishes from Crimson Lion. Hard cider, vinegar from Bear Meadow Cidery, Wine from Mt. Warner Vineyards. Seasoning sauces from Tortured Orchard. Mushroom grow kits, soap, etc. from Mycoterra Farm. Wine jellies and whole grain products from Berkshire Grain. Barbecue sauce from George Gee’s BBQ Sauce. Organic herbs, aromatherapy, teas, essential oils, more from White Buffalo Herbs. Kettle corn from Velma’s.

You could always purchase tokens to add to the basket, and/or get a gift certificate from your favorite vendors.

Return your Bottles

Trinity Farm has to purchase their bottles from Canada as there are no milk bottle manufacturers in the United States any more. When they order them, they have to order thousands of dollars worth, so it’s really important that you return your bottles as much as you’d like to keep one or two for flowers. Also, please don’t return them with the caps on. They don’t reuse the caps.

Trinity Farm

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Market Newsletter – July 21, 2015

July 21st, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Once in awhile I get a call telling me that the person calling wants to establish another farmers’ market. (They want my help.) A couple of years ago someone called from an agency in the north end of Springfield. He said that he’d like his clients to eat more healthfully. I told him that just because there was a farmers’ market didn’t mean that his clients would patronize it. I suggested that his agency give cooking lessons.

If you don’t know what to do with it, there’s little chance that you will cook it. Also, if we didn’t like something when we were a child, the assumption is that we won’t like it as an adult. Our tastes change, so I always encourage folks to try what they didn’t like when they were younger because they very well may like it as an adult.

This ‘n’ That

• When using a large zucchini, scoop out the seeds first. The middle of a large zucchini is spongy and will add nothing to your recipe. Keep the seeds in a small zucchini or other summer squash.

• If you have leftover corn, or if your corn on the cob is a few days old, scrape off the kernels and sauté them in butter. Stir often until they have some brown on them. They are caramelized and are delicious.

• You can also use leftover corn in pancakes, or muffins.

• Put the corn cobs after scraping off the kernels in some water and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove them and use the water in a vegetable soup, or corn chowder. You can freeze this for use later on.

• If you go camping, do not bring firewood. Buy it near where you are going. This is to cut down on bringing destructive insects into another area.

• Take down tag sale signs when the sale is over. If it isn’t your sale, take them down anyway.

• Pick up some litter every day; it will make a difference if we all do it.

• Keep flour that you don’t use often, or big bags of anything like rice in the freezer. That will keep pantry moths out of them, and it will be fresher long term, especially things like flour.

Recipe-Zucchini Cornbread
from Epicurious

9x5x3” pan, 350 degrees, about 55-65 minutes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cornmeal
Preheat oven. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk.

Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8” rounds from 1 end of zucchini and reserve for garnish.

Coarsely grate remaining zucchini. Add to bowl with butter mixture and sir until well blended.

Sift both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.

Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick.) Transfer pan to prepared pan (greased) and smooth top. Place reserved zucchini slices atop batter down center in a single layer.

Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool completely on a wire rack. Can be made the day before. Store airtight at room temperature.

zucchini

Sevenars Concerts

There is a fabulous small music festival in Worthington–the Sevenars Concerts. For 6 Sundays (4 more to go) at 4PM, a variety of musical performers grace the stage at The Academy located at the corner of Rte. 112 and Ireland St. You can find what’s coming up by going online, or by picking up a brochure on our market table. The cost is $20, refreshments are included during intermission, and it is air conditioned.

When plans were being made to build Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, some people working on the plans visited The Academy and said the acoustics were like being inside a Stradivarius violin.

Some Things to Remember

• We are a rain or shine market. If it rains, we’re here.
• If you haven’t paid to get into the park, or if you don’t have a sticker, you can only come to the market on your free entry. Please don’t  take advantage of the park’s generosity.
• Elder market coupons are given out at senior centers; we don’t have them.
• The WIC coupons and X tokens that we give out are only for produce. The elder coupons can be used for produce and honey.
• Look on our website under archives to find recipes that have been given out in the past.

Thanks!

Thanks to the following for supporting our marvelous market. Robyn Newhouse, The Enfield Farm Credit Bank, the Forest Park Civic Association, Our sponsor, Concerned Citizens for Springfield, Health New England, and several market customers. We can’t do what we do
without our financial supporters.

The folks from the Park Department are terrific. Not only do they let us have our space at a reasonable price, the guys who set up and take down our equipment make our lives so much easier. Especially now that your manager and our volunteers are old ladies.

Be Very Wary

As you well know, there are many scams “out there.” A friend, who is obviously more gullible than I could have imagined, called me the other day to get my opinion. She was called by a “reverend” who told her that she had won $2 million. All she had to do was pay the taxes on the money that she had “won.” I can’t tell you how many times I told her that this was a scam before it sunk in.
Remember the old saying that if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
Check your credit rating annually. According to law, each of us is entitled to a credit report from each of the major credit reporting companies,
Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax. Go online for easiest access to them.

Report Code Violations

In Springfield you can do this anonymously. Call 311 with the information. Make sure you are as specific as possible ie. exact address.
Some people think that it’s none of their business, but when property is well maintained, we all benefit. If property isn’t taken care of, it affects the neighbors, and consequently, the neighborhood. Wouldn’t you rather live someplace that’s nice than dirty or ugly?
New Restaurant in Town

Blackjack’s Steakhouse is across the street from Mom & Rico’s in the South End. Closed Mondays.
Open for lunch Tuesdays-Fridays; dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The food is excellent. Good prices too.

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Market News – July 14, 2015

July 14th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Many of you are regulars at our market, and you have your favorite vendors. Others haven’t  been coming here often enough to do that. I hope that all of you walk around first to see who has what and what the prices are, and then make your purchases.
Remember what I wrote last week: We are not a producer only market. While some vendors only bring their own products, that isn’t true for everyone especially where produce is concerned.

Welcome back to Susan Parks, our soap and lotion vendor. Susan and her wife have been in Italy for the last two months. Tough work, but someone has to do it.

Susan Parks Soap

Eggs have been in short supply at our market.Evidently the ladies haven’t been very prolific in laying this summer. The number of eggs at our market will pick up, but who knows when. Meanwhile, if you’re out, and you see a sign that says fresh eggs, get some.

 

This ‘n’ That

• If you have a cellphone, please empty your voice mailbox. It is frustrating to call someone and find that you can’t leave a message.
• Plastic bags are easily recyclable, but not with your regular recyclables. Save them and bring them to a grocery store; they have special bins.
• Our email and Facebook addresses are at the top of this newsletter.

Tee-shirts
We have a new supply of Farmers’ Market teeshirts.They are $10 each. Great gifts in a gift basket from the market.

What is a Localvore?

In the strictest sense, a localvore is someone who eats only from his or her “foodshed” defined as an area within a 100-mile radius of one’s home.
Acknowledging that tea, coffee, chocolate, nutmeg, and even sugar are not produced in New England, some localvore groups have creatively modified challenges to “eat locally, spice globally.” But, the bottom line is to do the best that you can.
A very good book about a family that did just this is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver.

It Just Keeps Getting Better

CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture has received grant money that is allowing farmers’ markets in Hampden County to
give out additional SNAP (EBT/food stamps) benefits. When someone with an EBT card swipes their card for $5 or more, they will receive an
additional $5 in tokens. We still will give out the extra “X” tokens that can only be used for fruit and vegetables, nothing else.

Revisiting the Citizens Panel on the Future of Food in New England-2

Consumer behavior and citizen action–Findings–
• Media and advertising, tradition, culture, economics, politics and access shape consumer behavior in the purchasing of food.
• Many consumers simply do not buy locally produced food.
• Nationwide, many Americans eat a large proportion of highly processed foods. These habits have led to increased rates of diet-related diseases.
• New England consumers are buying more food through Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farmers’ markets, farm stands, pick your own and cooperatives. (In 1998, when this market opened, there were 98 markets in Massachusetts; today there are more than 250.) There are many types of CSAs also, vegetables, fruit, flowers, meat, etc.
• Some non-profits and governmental organizations are promoting local/regional products and help local farmers.
• Farm to school initiatives and institutional purchasing programs have expanded greatly.
• Federal and state grants encourage local production and consumer connections with the food system.
Recommendations-
• Support organizations that presently involve citizens in local food systems.
• Provide more support for CSAs, farmers’ markets, farm stands, pick your own, and consumer/ producer connections.
• Urge municipalities and school boards to support relevant nutrition and health education (e.g. school gardens, local food promotion), increase
the use of local products and decrease reliance on corporate funding in schools.
• Support municipal ordinances that support local food systems.
• Advocate at state and municipal levels for the subsidy of Community Supported Agriculture for appropriate recipients.
• Individuals and advocacy organizations should lobby local official, and state and federal legislators and policy makers to support local food systems.

Recipes

Fried kohlrabi–easy
Peel kohlrabi, cut in slices, then cut the slices into approximately 1” strips. Combine flour and curry or chili powder in a bag, and drop the strips into the bag, shake off the extra flour mixture. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a frying pan, and lay the strips in one layer in the pan. Cook until the side is slightly brown, turn over and repeat. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. If you need more seasoning, add it now.

Zucchini Cake–from Maida Heatter’s Cakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 packed cups of shredded zucchini
2 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous 1 cup walnuts, cut or broken into
medium-sized pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9x5x3” pans. Dust the pan or pans with flour and shake out the excess.
1. Mix together (you can sift if you want) flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon, and set aside.
2. Wash the zucchini well, and cut off both ends. Coarsely grate/shred it. Don’t drain.
3. Press firmly into a 2 cup measuring cup. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl beat the eggs just to mix. Mix in the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat/stir to mix. Then add the zucchini and any liquid that has accumulated. Stir in nuts (or you can put them on the top.)
5. Bake for about an hour or more.
6. Cool in the pan and then turn it over and let the cake come out.
This can be toasted; the edges become crispy. It’s delicious. Freezes well also.
Greek Style Yellow and/or Green Beans 

Saute onion and garlic until soft; add beans. Add either cut up fresh tomato, or canned diced tomatoes. Oregano, basil, thyme, or dried Italian season is good in this. Add salt and pepper. Let cook until the beans have softened. Adjust  seasoning

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Market News – July 7, 2015

July 7th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

We are not a producer only farmers’ market. That means that we do allow our vendors to bring items from other places. For example, Bearded Bee’s honey sticks are from someplace else. Some of our farmers, but not all by any means, bring food from other farms. Anything that is not from our vendor has to be noted on a sign. And, if something is greenhouse grown, that also has to have a sign saying so. We are also not an all organic farmers’ market.Some in the country are, but we aren’t. We do have two certified organic farms (The Kitchen Garden and Red Fire Farm), and other farms are not certified, but use organic farming practices. By all means, ask the person at each stand what they use if you are concerned about it. The dairy products sold here are hormone free. I know that if Trinity Farm has a sick cow, they throw away her milk; they don’t use it.

This ‘n’ That

• Keep your front light on all night; a lighted neighborhood is a safer neighborhood.
• Drive with your doors locked.
• If you are working in your back yard, keep your front door locked.
• If you have a new neighbor, welcome them with something home made, and make sure you tell them about our market.
• Join your neighborhood association. And, go to the monthly police/neighborhood meetings.
You’ll find out what’s going on, and you’ll meet more people who live nearby.
• If you have stinky garbage, store it in the freezer until trash day.

Rachel’s Table

The mission of Rachel’s Table is “To relieve hunger in Greater Springfield, and to reduce waste of our food resources.”
Except for the director, all of the people who help out are volunteers. If you have a catered function, say at Chez Josef, and there are leftovers, Chez Josef will call Rachel’s Table and tell them what they have. Then RT will call around to different
agencies and ask them if they can use what is being offered. When a match is made, a volunteer driver is called, and they go to the place where the food is, pick it up and deliver it to the agency that can use it.
They also go to farmers’ markets and pick up surplus produce and deliver it to the food pantries. Most of what is at food pantries is non-perishable, so having fresh produce is most welcome. Their number is 733-0084 if you’d like more
information, or would like to volunteer. RT is a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield, Inc., and WWLP-TV22.

Rachel's Table

Rachel’s Table

It Just Keeps Getting Better

CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture has received grant money that is allowing farmers’ markets in Hampden County to give out additional SNAP (EBT/food stamps) benefits. When someone with an EBT card swipes
their card for $5 or more, they will receive an additional $5 in tokens. We still will give out the extra “X” tokens that can only be used for fruit and vegetables, nothing else.

CISA

Revisiting the Citizen’s Panel on the Future of Food in New England

The Citizen’s Panel on the Future of Food in New England convened in April 2003. It was comprised of 15 citizens from throughout New England. The panel gathered information, engaged in reasoned discourse, reviewed expert testimony, and
deliberated findings and recommendations. It was convened by the University of New Hampshire’s Office of Sustainability Programs.

Some of the findings were–
• Our New England character and landscape depend on agriculture.
• The New England states share important natural advantages, especially water and soil resources.
• 400 years of agricultural history demonstrate diverse, flexible, and resilient farms, farmers, and farm products. We enjoy many regional economic benefits from agriculture.
• We enjoy relatively short distances between producers and markets.
• Two key metropolitan markets–Boston and New York–anchor the region.
• The region embraces a culturally and ethnically diverse population.
• Many non-governmental organizations and state government agencies already collaborate on food system issues.
• The region does not receive a fair share of federal assistance.

Recommendations
• Create and expand regional “buy local” campaigns • Make individual state regulations and statues more uniform within the region.
• Encourage public universities and agricultural extension services to expand and strengthen regional collaboration.
• Investigate and establish regional branded labeling programs. Consider meat and specialty dairy products as pilot programs.
• Encourage states to reduce regulatory barriers to food processors, especially for milk plants and livestock processing facilities.

Economic Development of the Food System
To help build the regional food system and boost economic development, we propose educating consumers and encouraging producers to take advantage of local demand and regional successes.
Findings:
• consolidation continues within the national food system, particularly in the food processing and retailing industries.
• Globalization impacts all levels of the New England food system.
• Consolidation and globalization lessen the number of wholesale markets and weaken the support infrastructure for New England agriculture.
• Increasingly over the last decade, consumers have demanded safer, high quality, local food.
• New England agricultural businesses have established successful local direct marketing ventures and niche markets.
• The number of small-scale processing facilities in the region is inadequate.
• Recommendations:
• Educate consumers about:
• Buying locally grown and processed foods;
• where food dollars go, and how locally-spent money strengthens the local community;
• the impact on the local economy of globalizations and consolidation.
As you read through this part of the report, you will definitely know that some of what was recommended has come to pass. There are more “buy local” programs. There are many more farmers’ markets and CSA’s. There are more farmers raising meat/poultry animals. There is much more in the media about the benefits of buying locally grown/raised food.
Our Mass Department of Agricultural Resources

(MDAR) is very pro-active for our farmers and farmers’ markets. Although I don’t know, I would expect that the other states are also. However, there still aren’t anywhere enough processing facilities in New England. The wait for a farmer to have their animals processed can be lengthy. There is more work to be done.

 

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Marklet Newsletter – June 30th, 2015

June 29th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

  On June 9th we had a severe thunderstorm late in the day. The terminal that we use to swipe cards unfortunately got slightly wet, so I wasn’t able to send the batch (end of day) report to the company that handles our transactions. When I called them the next day, I was told that they couldn’t get the batch report, that they could get the individual transactions that I would have to enter manually. They sent them to me and I entered them on the 23rd and 24th. So, for those of you who used a debit or credit card with us on the 9th, please know that the date that shows up on your statement is for the 9th; you didn’t get charged twice. The papers with the card numbers on them have been destroyed.
We got a new terminal that is so much faster than what we used previously. I was also told that when the credit card technology changes to clude a chip on each card, that our machine will be able to handle that also.

This ‘n’ That

• Please have numbers on your house that can be easily read from the street.
• If you have cookbooks that you don’t want anymore, please bring them here and they will be given away.
• Don’t throw cigarette butts out of your car window or on the ground; the filters don’t disintegrate.
• Don’t pour or flush unwanted medications down the drain. You also can’t recycle pill bottles.
Congratulations!

Jessica Ripley from Maple Corner Farm had her baby last week. Abigail was born on June 23rd and she weighed in at 8#14oz. Congratulations to the Ripley family. #3 daughter.

Unusual Vegetables

Kohlrabi looks like a small satellite especially when it has its leaves on it. It’s either purple or light green; they taste the same. The flavor is (to me) a combination of broccoli stems and turnip. It can be eaten cooked or uncooked. Peel the bulb, and use it in salads, or as one of the vegetables on a tray with dip, or cook it and make a cream sauce, or just mash it with butter and a little salt.

Radicchio comes in more than one variety, but the flavor is the same. It has a small head like lettuce, or it is more like a hand with longer leaves. I have seen recipes for it grilled, but it is mostly used in salads. It’s very pretty in a salad because it’s maroon and white. It’s a little bitter.

Cucumbers are not unusual for sure, but there are several varieties, so when the different varieties show up at the market, don’t hesitate to try them.

The same can be said for summer squash. There are slight differences in flavor, so try a different variety for a change. The big ones are good for
relishes, or for shredding to use in a recipe. The smaller ones are more tender.

Fennel can be eaten cooked or raw. It has a mild licorice flavor. It is a member of the parsley family. All parts of fennel can be eaten, even the lacy
fronds. To store it, cut off the lacy fronds about 2” above the bulb; it will keep for several days.

Female Farmers

Massachusetts has the most female farmers in New England, 32%, and their ranks are on the rise. As of the 2012 USDA agricultural census, there were almost 8,000 farms in Massachusetts, and of those, over 2,500 had female principal operators. That is up 12.6 percent from 2007.
The top crops for Massachusetts farms with female principal operators (in acres) are hay at 9,434, vegetables, 1,734, berries, 1,020 including
cranberries which are 665 of that number, and cut Christmas trees, 677. 94,598 acres of Massachusetts farmland are farmed by female principal operators.
The majority of the women who are principal operators fall in the 25-64 age group. About 25% are older, and a very small percentage are younger.
The average size of Massachusetts farms run by female principal operators is 38 acres. Farmers from throughout the country get only 20 cents of every dollar that Americans spend on food.

Swiss Chard

I don’t know why it’s called Swiss chard, but it is. It is a member of the silver beet family. You can eat every part of this plant. Just like spinach, it is very versatile. If you sauté it, cut the stems and sauté them for about a minute before you add the leaves. Chard is also good in quiches, or in a soup or casserole. Here’s a recipe for:

Swiss Chard Cheese Casserole

2 bunches of Swiss chard
a few cloves of garlic
1 large onion
about one pound of cheese, all of one type or different varieties
1 dozen eggs
1 pint of half and half or whole milk ( DON ’T USE SKIM MILK IN THIS RECIPE)
dried Italian seasoning, or fresh basil, oregano, maybe 1 T if dried, more if fresh
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Wash chard and chop stems into small pieces. Sauté stems with onion and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the stems are tender, chop the chard leaves and add to pan, sauté until wilted. Add salt and pepper, and oregano or dried Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs. Mix up eggs with milk or cream, add cheese and cayenne pepper. Pour into a greased 9×13” pan; sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. If a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean, it’s done. Good hot or at room temperature.

Prevent Identity Theft

• Don’t give out financial information such as checking and credit card numbers, or your Social Security card number unless you know the person or organization.
• Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
• Notify your bank of suspicious phone inquiries such as those asking for account information to verify a statement or award a prize.
• Closely guard your ATM personal id number and ATM receipts.
• Shred any financial solicitations and bank statements before disposing of them.
• Put outgoing mail into a secure, official USPO box.
• If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why.

You can get a free copy from each of the 3 major credit-reporting companies each year. Call (877) 322-8228 for information on how to obtain your
free credit report.

WIC and Elder Coupons

These should be showing up at our market just about now. The Elder Coupons have to be picked up at a senior center. You should call your local
center to find out if they’re available now, and if they have any left. The WIC coupons are picked up at a WIC office. All of these coupons are for produce, but the elder ones are for honey also. The expiration date is October 31st.

Recycling Info

1. Recycling the steel from 6 cars can provide enough steel framing for an entire new house.
2. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 60-watt bulb for 4 hours.
3. Recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
4. If not recycled, one quart of used motor oil could pollute 250,000 of drinking water.
5. Half of all polyester carpet made in the U.S. is made from recycled plastic.
6. Americans represent only 5% of the world’s population, but generate 30% of the world’s garbage.

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Kohlrabi

Market Newsletter- June 23

June 23rd, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

If you come into the park for our market, please don’t go to any other part of the park unless you have a park sticker. Although we pay the park some rent, they do us a great favor by letting our patrons in free. Please don’t jeopardize our position with the park. And remember when you’re in the park to drive very slowly.

Our market is the largest farmers’ market in this part of the Pioneer Valley. We have many customers, but we can always use more. I am not happy unless our vendors are totally sold out at 6PM; I am seldom happy. Please tell your friends about us. Make sure you tell them that they get into the park without paying.

There will be a FREE paper shredding event on Saturday, the 27th from 10-1 at the Westfield Bank, 47 Palomba Drive in Enfield. That is the road near Costco that has all of the car dealers. You are limited to 3 boxes of papers.

Did you know that Springfield has a centralized call center where you can be connected to city departments, or make a complaint, etc.? It’s 311.

I cooked some spinach that I had bought from Outlook Farm yesterday, and it was perfect. Why is that noteworthy? I bought it 2 weeks ago. I didn’t have to throw any of it away. Local food is different.

Speaking of Outlook Farm, they have several special events throughout the growing season. Check out their stand for details.

Coming Up

Deborah Wilson, RN, will speak about her experience working in a 120 bed Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. In September 2014, Ms. Wilson traveled from Western Mass to West Africa with Doctors Without Borders. The event will take place this Wednesday,   June 24th at the Springfield Central Library, 220 State St. from 6-7:30. Registration is free at ebolamrc.eventbrite.com. This is presented by the Hampden County Medical Reserve Corps.

Come learn about Forest Park architecture, it’s history, styles, and influences, this Thursday, June 25 at 6:30 in the Forest Park Branch Library Community Room. Robert McCarroll, coordinator of the Mattoon Street Arts Festival, and long time member of the Springfield Preservation Trust will be giving this presentation. In addition, there will be an exhibit of this year’s Preservation Awards.

Recipes Using Zucchini/Summer Squash

This is a very versatile vegetable. It is delicious sautéed with garlic and onions, or steamed and mashed with some butter and salt, or used in recipes.

Zucchini Pancakes

Do not make this mixture the day before you are going to cook the pancakes. The salt from the cheese will leach moisture from the squash and the mixture won’t fry up as pancakes.

Ingredients–onion, summer squash, eggs, grated cheese (I like the combination of Parmesan and Romano) flour, pepper. Oil.

Shred the squash and onion. Put this into a clean dishtowel, twist and squeeze as much moisture out as you can. Place in a bowl. Add eggs, cheese, flour and pepper. I don’t measure. You want to use enough eggs and flour so that the pancake holds together when you fry it.

Pour some oil in a frying pan and add a little butter. When hot put a spoonful of the mixture into the oil. Only fry one now to make sure that it will hold together. If it does, cook the rest of them. When it’s brown on one side, turn it over. Serve hot.

Zucchini and Basil Muffins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin pan or use paper cups.

Ingredients–

2 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 T. baking powder (3 tsp.)

2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)

2 T. finely julienned fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (or similar hard grating cheese)

Combine the eggs, milk, and oil in a bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in another bowl and add to the liquid mixture in batches, stirring to blend. Don’t over blend.

Add the zucchini and basil and stir to blend. Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 cup full. Sprinkle the top with the cheese.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes for regular size muffins, 15-20 minutes for the mini muffins, until the tops are golden brown and puffy. Serve warm

. Some Cooking Tips If you are making potato salad, mix your dressing separately from the cut up potatoes, and use a rubber spatula to mix them together. You are less likely to break up any of the potatoes.

You can easily freeze rhubarb. Wash it, cut it into pieces, put it into a freezer bag or container and that’s it. Use right from the freezer for recipes.

If you don’t already have a food processor, buy one. It is such a versatile appliance. Buy one with a big enough bowl, 11 cups is a great size.

When fixing strawberries for strawberry shortcake, cut some up and mash the rest, then mix together.

Ethnic Stores

We are fortunate to live in an area that still has lots of ethnic stores. Just in the last few years we have had Middle Eastern stores open up. Also stores that sell South Asian food. Two have opened in the Forest Park neighborhood. One is on Dickinson St., and one is next to the Goodwill store on Sumner Ave. Another one is called Spices of Asia on Elm St. in West Springfield next to the library. The Italian stores in the South End (Milano’s, Frigo’s, Zonin’s, and Mom and Rico’s) are stores of long standing. We have several Asian stores that feature Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and some other Asian food also. You will find that the prices tend to be considerably less from these stores than the big grocery stores. Let us not leave out the Italian bakeries that have over the top delicious baked goods.

Homeowner Emergency Repair Program

The City of Springfield, through the Office of Housing, has created a Homeowner Emergency Repair Program, using Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development block Grant (CDBG) program.

This program provides income-eligible Springfield homeowners with zero-interest deferred payment loans to pay for the cost of an emergency repair to their home. These loans are recorded as a lien on the property, and repayment is only required when the homeowner sells, refinances, transfers title to the property, or no longer occupies the home as a principal place of residence. Households interested in this program must meet certain requirements. 1. Must be located in Springfield. 2. Owner occupancy must be established for a minimum of 3 years. 3. Title to the property may not have liens other than a 1st or 2nd mortgage. 4. All property taxes, fees, fines or municipal liens must be current. 5. Household income may not exceed 80% of the area median income. For more details call the Office of Housing at 413-787-6500.

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Market Newsletter -June 16, 2015

June 16th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Last week’s late afternoon thunderstorm was an expensive one for some of us. Some of the canopies ended up all twisted and bent. Fortunately, because everyone anchors theirs down well, nothing flew around and no one was hurt. That’s the primary reason for having them so well anchored.

It’s strawberry season. I saw someone buying strawberries at Costco last week, and all I wanted to do was to tell them to put them back and go buy local ones. As you well know, the difference in flavor is huge. Include some in a tossed salad. Not only is this tasty, it’s pretty also. This is the time to make the wonderful desserts with them. Don’t bother when they are out of season; make something else. A chocolate dessert is always in season.

Asparagus season is just about over. Right on the heels of strawberries are blueberries which have a nice long season due to so many varieties and our having growers in the hills nearby with cooler temperatures than we have. I noticed beets here last week. I know a lot of people say they don’t like beets, but if it has been awhile since you had one, try them again. Local beets are so fresh, and there are a few varieties now that don’t taste so “beety.” They can be put into a salad, eaten cold, or hot, pickled, made into a cold soup (beet borscht), etc. Remember, if you didn’t like something as a child, you might like it as an adult. Our tastes change.

Raffle

I found the raffle tickets I had put away from last year’s market, so we started selling them again last week. For $1 you have a chance to win 2 $2.50 tokens. The raffle helps us raise a little money. You may wonder where the money to run the market comes from. First and foremost, our vendors pay to  be here. Then, our sponsor, Concerned Citizens for Springfield, contributes to our budget. We receive contributions and grants also. If you are inclined to give us money, we won’t refuse.

Lost and Found

If you lose (or find) something at the market, please come to the market table. Last week someone found a fob for a Volkswagon in the parking lot. A few years ago someone left a cane at the market. I kept it hanging on the canopy for months and no one claimed it. Perhaps the market healed the person to whom it belonged. It’s always a good idea to put an address label on a cane, or even a cell phone. Please put your car keys in your purse or pocket. You might be amazed at how often someone comes to us looking for their keys.

SNAP, etc.

We have received some grant money, so for every $5 that someone spends when buying EBT tokens, we will give them an X token that is worth $2 each. These tokens are only to be used for fruit and vegetables. The purpose is to help folks eat more healthful foods.

We ask for a $1 contribution from those of you who use your debit or credit card for more than $25 to help us defray the cost of the machine that we use. It costs us about a thousand dollars a year to have it. Every transaction has a fee, and there is a monthly cost as well. Then, at some point, there is an annual compliance fee that we pay. We paid almost $90 for June. And, for anyone who thinks that we should ask for a contribution for EBT, we can’t. It’s against the law.

Recipe-Strawberry Soup

There are many recipes for this dessert soup. The ingredients for the one I made for samples this week has very few ingredients. As always, when making soup, the amounts depend on how many you are cooking for. I made 13 quarts and I used a flat of strawberries, 6 pint containers of vanilla yogurt, 1 large can of concentrated orange juice that I reconstituted, powdered sugar to taste, and some nutmeg. Nutmeg is strong, so start with a small amount and go from there. Only make strawberry soup at this time of year.

Strawberries,

Vanilla yogurt (I used Trinity Farm’s)

Orange juice

Powdered sugar, nutmeg to taste

Puree in a blender, then CHILL. Serve with a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top and a mint leaf for decoration.

What’s the Difference Between Conventional, Organic, and Integrated Pest Management?

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options, including the judicious use of pesticides.

In contrast, organic farming practices use many of the same concepts as IPM, but limit the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

There are no national standards for IPM, and you won’t be able to know when buying something if IPM practices have been used. Also, the word natural can be used on anything as there are no standards as to what that word means either.

All farmers identify the pest that they are trying to eradicate prior to spraying, so even the most conventional farmer uses some IPM practices. A conventional farmer will use herbicides and pesticides that will create a sterile growing environment.

Something else that organic farmers do is to develop biological diversity in their fields to disrupt habitat for pest organisms, and the purposeful maintenance and replenishment of soil fertility.

All growers spray. For instance, it is very difficult to grow organic orchard fruit on the East Coast due to the humid summers, mild winters, and dense forests that we have. These create perfect habitats for many orchard pests. Farmers from the West, such as Washington, don’t have the same growing challenges; it’s much drier out West even when they aren’t having a drought.

What separates organic, IPM, and conventional is not who sprays and who doesn’t, but what materials they spray, environmental management methods employed and if those materials and methods are part of a certified organic program, IPM program, or conventional program. The FDA separates chemical classes into those approved in a Certified Organic program and those that fall outside of Certified Organic.

Baking Powder Biscuits from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1959

Make these for your strawberry shortcake. No need to buy them. Makes about 6. Easy.

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 T. butter

2/3 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients.

Add butter, mix in, then add milk until the dough is soft and light but not sticky.

Turn out on a floured board and pat down or knead about 20 strokes until smooth.

Pat or roll to about 3/4” thick.

Cut with sharp cookie cutter, or cut into diamond shapes.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet about 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees.

If you want soft biscuits bake them touching each other otherwise 1” apart.

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Market Newsletter – June 9, 2015

June 9th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

I went on a home tour sponsored by the Springfield Preservation Trust this past Sunday. The homes that were on tour were all north of Sumner Avenue in the Forest Park Heights section of our neighborhood. The folks who opened their homes were extremely generous to do so. Some of the people had homes that were in perfect condition when they were bought, and all they had to do was move in. Another home was purchased by a young couple who are rehabbing it little by little. One person on the tour said that he had a house in the McKnight section of Springfield that he’s owned for 25 years, and he was just about done fixing it up. It is truly a labor of love to buy an old home that needs rehabbing. Unless one is made out of money, most of the work is done over time.
There are many beautiful homes in Springfield. If the homes that I toured were in the Boston area, at least a couple of them would be worth millions.
Last week a friend asked me what I said to someone who said that farmers’ markets were expensive. I told her that I tell the person who says that that they are confusing price and value. Produce that is purchased at the market will most often stay fresh longer because it is fresher when you buy it.
I also tell them that small production farming is more expensive than large production farming; they don’t have economy of scale. Even a large farm in New England is small by national standards.
Another thing to consider, which has nothing to do with freshness, is that the money you spend at a farmers’ market stays locally for the most part. In whatever ways that you can, keep your local money local; it helps our economy.
Walk around a farmers’ market, then decide what you will purchase.

SNAP, etc.

We have received some grant money, so for every
$5 that someone spends when buying EBT tokens, we will give them an X token that is worth $2 each. These tokens are only to be used for fruit and vegetables. The purpose is to help folks eat more healthful foods.
We ask for a $1 contribution from those of you who use your debit or credit card for more than $25 to help us defray the cost of the machine that we use. It costs us about a thousand dollars a year to have it. Every transaction has a fee, and there is a monthly cost as well. Then, at some point, there is an annual compliance fee that we pay. We paid almost $90 for June.
And, for anyone who thinks that we should ask for a contribution for EBT, we can’t. It’s against the law.

A Few Cooking Tips

Turn your unwanted bread into bread crumbs by using your food processor. Freeze them because fresh bread crumbs will get moldy if you don’t.

Rhubarb freezes perfectly. Wash it, cut it, and put it into a freezer bag. Use right from the freezer for your recipe.

You can make your own salad dressing very easily; there’s no need to pay high prices at the grocery store. Keep a few different types of vinegar and olive oil in your pantry. Add salt, pepper, and some herbs or spices to taste, and you have salad dressing. Keep kosher salt on hand also; it has bigger grains and isn’t as salty. All good cooks use kosher salt.

Take cookbooks out from the library and experiment with recipes. Follow the recipe exactly the first time, and then change it if necessary (except for baking) the next time you make it. This is how you learn.

This ‘n’ That

Springfield residents get free admission to the museums at the Quadrangle. Just show your identification and you will get in free.
Some libraries have passes for museums in the region; check at your library.

Bay Path University is having its annual authors’ program this coming Sunday, June 14th at 2PM. It is held in the Blake Dining Commons. It’s free. Bring your book group.

“Food Inc.” will be shown at Springfield College’s Brennan Center on Island Pond Road this Wednesday, the 10th at 5:30. A light supper will be served, so reservations are requested. Call 263-6500 ext. 6539 to make yours. It’s free.

If you go camping, don’t bring firewood with you. Buy it wherever you go. This is to keep you from bringing unwanted insects with you.

My eldest grandson Alex, age 21, has spent this semester in Dunedin, New Zealand. With the miracle of the Internet and Facebook, he has kept us apprised of some of his activities. Just yesterday we had a lengthy conversation about a variety of subjects online. He actually posted a couple of pictures of a classroom. New Zealand is a beautiful country. There is a 15 hour time difference between us, so corresponding online is perfect for us.

Early June Garden Chores

Grow different varieties of basil in containers. Give it as much sun as possible, and you’ll have plenty.
Stay on top of the weeding. Weed early and often, mulch, and don’t let any weeds go to seed. If you have an invasive species that you are pulling out, put them in the garbage; don’t compost them.
In your lawn use organic herbicides, remove tenacious weeds, and make sure you reseed.

Minestrone Soup–my way

As I have said in the past, making soup is easy. Sometimes someone has asked me how much to put in of this or that ingredient. It depends on what you like, what you have, and how many you’re cooking for. If you have a freezer, make extra. I made this soup yesterday, and this is what I put in it.

Chicken and beef broth

summer squash (includes zucchini, a summer squash)

onion carrot celery

canned diced tomatoes canned beans, drained potato

macaroni

salt & pepper

basil, oregano, parsley

Put it all in a pot, wait to put in the salt and pepper especially if you are using commercial bullion, and cook for about an hour. Taste it to see what you think it needs. You’re done. This freezes well.

After it is cooked, put in a couple of handfuls of macaroni, put the cover back on, and the heat from the soup will cook the macaroni.

Cream of Summer Squash Soup

I give this recipe every year. Now that summer squash has come to the market, you can make it. Don’t bother making it with other than native squash; it won’t have any flavor.

Onions, vegetable oil or butter, chicken or vegetable broth, summer squash, curry, half and half or cream, salt and white pepper.

Sauté cut up onions in vegetable oil until soft. Add summer squash. Cover with broth. Cook until soft. you might want to add a cut up potato to add to the thickness of the soup. Let it cool a little then puree in a blender or food processor. Add curry, then half and half. Taste. This soup is good cold or hot. Add a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top with a basil leaf or some chives.

You can use other vegetables also. I’ve used peas, winter squash, and tomatoes (no curry in the latter.)

IF EVERYONE PICKED UP THREE PIECES OF LITTER A DAY, WE’D HAVE A CLEAN CITY. IT’S UP TO ALL OF US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

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Market Newsletter – June 2, 2015

June 1st, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

MassSave is a program sponsored by the energy companies that can help you get insulation, energy efficient lighting, no-cost sealing of air leaks (as necessary), rebates for high efficiency heating, hot water equipment, and more.
From time to time we have people at our market who can guide you with this process, or call 1-866-527-7283. I was told that the reason the companies are doing this is to keep them from having to build new energy facilities. If enough people save energy, they will save billions of dollars in not having to build new plants.

When you recycle, do not put plastic bags in with your other recycling. Save them and put them in the containers at many grocery stores that are especially for plastic bags.
One of our vendors, My Main Squeeze, is having a fundraiser for the month of June to benefit the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Any customer who donates something from the Home’s wish list will receive a 10% discount off their order. You can find the wish list on the Home’s web page, or My Main Squeeze’s Facebook page. You can visit them at 48 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow.

Illumination Night–June 6th

Every year for over 25 years, the Forest Park Civic Association has a party to which everyone is invited. A band plays, some people on the street where the party is held decorate their porches, refreshments are sold, and a general good time is had by all.
This year Illumination Night is being held on Marengo Park and Bellevue Ave. At 6:30 there is a children’s parade with decorated bikes and costumes (if the children want to wear a costume), at 7 the visiting starts, at 7:30 there is a singalong, and at 8 the band begins to play. Everyone is welcome. Bring a chair and some bug spray.

SNAP Bonus

We have received some grant money, so for every $10 that someone spends when buying EBT tokens, we will give them an X token that is worth $2. These tokens are only to be used for fruit and vegetables. The purpose is to help folks eat more healthful foods.

New Century Theatre

They are celebrating their 25th year anniversary this year. The season begins on June 18th and runs through August 8th. They have 4 plays scheduled, plus a children’s play.
The 4 plays are all by women, and 3 of them will be having their Western Massachusetts premieres.
Go to their website newcenturytheatre.org, or call them at 413-585-3220. The box office opens today. Another theatre in the area is the Chester Theatre. Details about their program soon.

From American Farmland Trust– National Survey Results

Over 1500 ranchers and farmers participated in a survey conducted this year in March. Here are 5 takeaways that they have learned so far:
• There is tremendous diversity in the foods and farm products being sold at farmers’ markets. 69% are selling vegetables, 53% are selling livestock, poultry, or eggs, 47% are selling fruits and tree nuts, and 31% are selling value-added products.
• Farmers’ markets support a diverse range of farmers, especially young, beginning, and female farmers. 16% are younger than 35 years old while

only 8% of all US farmers are younger than 35; 43% have farmed for less than 10 years compared to 22% of all US farmers, and 51% are female compared to 30% of all US farmers.
• Protected farmland is important to farmers selling at farmers’ markets. 26% of farmers selling at farmers’ markets are farming on protected land.
• Farmers’ market farmers are using conservation practices. 48% use integrated pest management. 78% use practices consistent with organic standards, and 81% use soil health practices including cover crops, reduced tillage, soil nutrient testing, and on-farm composting.
• Farmers’ markets are educating consumers about farming and food. Farmers’ market farmers regularly discuss the following topics with their customers–health benefits, farming practices, local food systems, and food prep techniques.
50 acres of farmland are lost to real estate development every hour in the United States.

Homeowner Emergency Repair Program–Springfield

The City of Springfield, through the Office of Housing, has created a Homeowner Emergency Repair Program, using Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
The Emergency Repair Program provides income- eligible Springfield homeowners with zero-interest deferred payment loans to pay for the cost of an emergency repair to their home. These loans are recorded as a lien on the property, and repayment is only required when the homeowner sells, refinances, transfers title to the property, or no longer occupies the home as a principal place of residence.
Go to the City’s website under Housing or call 787-6500 for all of the details. The money for this year is either gone, or almost gone, but they will be taking applications for the next fiscal year this week.

Chard, aka Swiss Chard

If we don’t have it at the market this week, it will be here soon. It is a versatile vegetable. It can be cooked many ways. The leaves can be steamed, parboiled, or sautéed, added to soup, stuffed with meat or vegetable fillings, or used to line a pate mold. The crisp-textured stems are delicious steamed, stewed, or gratineed. Chard and garden beets are in the same family (the silverbeet). Separate the leaves from the stems before cooking.

Sautéed chard with lemon & hot pepper Stem the chard, wash and drain the leaves, and cut them into a rough chiffonade. Sauté in olive oil, covered for 5 minutes or so until the leaves are wilted and tender. Remove the cover and cook away the excess moisture Season at the last minute with a pinch of red pepper flakes according to taste, and with salt and pepper, and squeeze lemon juice over just before serving.

Chard stem gratin

Chard stems are delicious. Remove their strings, if necessary, then par boil until tender (doesn’t take long), drain and arrange in a gratin dish with bits of fried pancetta, some chopped garlic, chopped flat-leaf parsley, and a seeded, coarsely chopped tomato. Cover with a bit of béchamel sauce or cream, and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven, or under the broiler until golden.

Braised chard

Separate the leaves from the stems, cut the leaves into a rough chiffonade. Slice a large sweet onion and sauté it in olive oil. After the onion softens add the chard leaves, add salt & pepper, cover and stew for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. You can add other ingredients, but this recipe will really let the sweet flavor of the chard stand out. You can cook the cut up stems with the onion before adding the leaves.

Springfield Preservation Trust Home Tour this Sunday, June 7th from 1-4
To get all of the details go to the Trust’s website. All the information is there. The homes are all in the Forest Park neighborhood.

PLEASE PICK UP SOME LITTER EVERY DAY. IF EVERYONE DOES A LITTLE, NO ONE HAS TO DO A LOT. IT’S UP TO ALL OF US TO REPAIR OUR WORLD.

 

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Chard

Chard

Market Newsletter – May 26, 2015

May 26th, 2015 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager 

Have you ever thought about how fortunate we are to live in a region that still has so much agricultural industry? There are no more farms left in Springfield, but we don’t have to travel far to find a farm. Although most states have lost farmland (as have we), Massachusetts has seen an increase in farms in recent years. Not a lot, but some.
Something I have noticed is that the people who are our vendors who are farmers, are very well educated. If you stop and think about it, they have to be. There are so many things that they have to know. It isn’t enough just to know how to grow something. The dairy and meat farmers are on duty 24/7. There are no days off for them unless they make prior arrangements.
I’m not telling you to kiss a farmer (ask first), but appreciate their hard work, and say thank you once in awhile.
We have received a significant contribution from Health New England. Thank you so much!

Illumination Night

Every year for over 25 years, on the night before Fathers’ Day, (June 6th this year) the Forest Park Civic Association has a party to which everyone is invited. A band plays, some people on the street where the party is held decorate their porches, refreshments are sold, and a general good time is had by all.
This year Illumination Night is being held on Marengo Park and Bellevue Ave. At 6:30 there is a children’s parade with decorated bikes and costumes (if the children want to wear a costume), at 7 the visiting starts, at 7:30 there is a singalong, and at 8 the band starts playing. Except for the refreshments, it’s all free. Bring a chair and bug spray. Everyone is welcome.

Coming up on June 7th

The Springfield Preservation Trust is having its spring house tour from 1-4 PM. The area to be toured is Forest Park Heights. You can purchase tickets in advance for $15. Get tickets at Flowers, Flowers at 758 Sumner Avenue, or The Flower Box at 596 Carew St., both in Springfield. Or, on the day of the tour for $20 on Maplewood Terrace just off Fort Pleasant Avenue; you’ll see a sign.
The Jewish Community Center is having a program for children and an artisan festival. The children’s program is Touch a Truck and a bounce village from 11-3. The cost for that is $15 per family in advance, or $20 at the door. Park in the Converse St. lot. The artisan festival is from 10-3. There is no entrance fee for that. Please park in the B’nai Torah parking lot for that event.

Ways to Save Energy, Money, etc.

• Don’t let the water run. Every minute your faucet runs about 2.5 gallons of water is wasted.

• The single use pods for coffee makers are mostly non-recyclable. If placed end to end, the billions of single-use coffee pods sold in 2014 would circle the planet at least 10 times.

• Drive more slowly. Doing so really does save gas.

• Turn lights off when leaving a room. Purchase longer-lasting LED lights, which reduce energy costs and consumption by up to 80% compared to incandescent bulbs.

• Use cold water for washing clothes. Wash only full loads. You clothing will get clean in cold water.

• Start using cloth napkins. If everyone used one less paper napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of paper would be kept out of landfills annually.

• Register for opt out services for junk mail. One service is dmachoice.org. This is better than recycling the unwanted mail.

• Use the microwave more. For smaller meals th ey u se 3 0 -8 0 % less energy than conventional ovens. If you do use your conventional oven, keep the door closed. Every time you open it, you lose about 25 degrees.

• Turn off your car engine. Don’t let your car idle. Modern car engines need only 30 seconds or so to warm up, and idling for more than 10 seconds uses up more gas than turning the car off and on does.

Recipe–Savory Kugel

Kugel is a German word that means pudding. There are many types of pudding, one that is most well known is a noodle pudding, a sweet concoction made with noodles, eggs, and dairy products. Here’s a recipe for one that isn’t sweet. Cook fresh spinach then squeeze the liquid out, then chop it up.

1 bag of egg noodles 1 stick of butter
2 packages of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry, or cooked fresh spinach, also drained of excess moisture and then chopped.
6 eggs
1 pint sour cream or plain yogurt
2 packages dried onion soup or dried vegetable soup

Cook noodles, drain. Add butter to hot noodles; let it melt. Add dried soups. Add eggs, and yogurt or sour cream. Mix well. Put into greased pan, either 2 8×8 pans, or one 9×13. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour. You want the top to be slightly browned. You can make this in muffin cups for individual kugels. This freezes very well.

Visit a Museum

Many libraries offer free or reduced rate passes to many of the museums in Western and Central Mass. Usually there is a list of what’s available at the circulation desk.
Check out some of the smaller museums in the region; there are plenty of them.
One of my favorites has been Old Sturbridge Village. When I was in 3rd grade, my school took us on a mystery trip, and Sturbridge Village was the destination. I’ve been back many times. I took one of my grandsons there when he was 8. After only a few minutes there he said, “Grandma, I know we’ve only been here a few minutes, but I like this place already.”

WIC and Elder Coupons

These coupons will soon become available. You have to ask for them. The WIC offices want those of you who receive WIC benefits to ask for them because a fairly large percentage of the coupons were never redeemed when they were mailed out.
The senior coupons you also have to ask for. Contact your local senior center and get your name on a list. We do not hand them out here at the market.
WIC farmers’ market coupons are for produce only. Elder coupons are for produce and honey. That’s it. They both have to be used by the end of October.

Gifts

There are many items that make great gifts at our market. One that is always welcome are our wooden tokens. If you know that someone shops here, or could, think of them as a gift. It is also easy to put together a fabulous basket of items–maple products, honey, relishes, jam and jellies, soap and lotion, sauces, etc.

Mycoterra Farm

They hope to return with their wonderful mushrooms. Child care is the issue that is keeping them away for now.

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Red Fire Farm