Most farmers know that it’s important to provide fresh, high-quality produce. But what about those vegetables that are a bit “imperfect”? Vegetables with minor blemishes, underdeveloped, or just not quite up to the usual standard can still be delicious and nutritious. And they may even offer a few unexpected benefits! Let’s take a look at why embracing imperfect vegetables is beneficial for both farmers and consumers.
The Environmental Impact of Imperfect Produce
When it comes to environmental sustainability, there’s no better way to reduce waste than by purchasing imperfect produce. When you buy vegetables that are slightly bruised or misshapen, you’re helping to reduce food waste and avoid overproduction. In turn, this helps to conserve energy and resources used in farming. It also helps keep costs down for consumers, who can purchase imperfect produce at lower prices than the typical grocery store fare.
The Financial Benefits of Selling Imperfect Produce
For farmers, selling imperfect vegetables can be an excellent way to maximize profits. Rather than having perfectly formed veggies go unsold due to aesthetic standards, farmers can sell them at a lower price point while still making a profit—and they don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality either! Imperfect vegetables often taste just as good as their perfect counterparts and contain the same nutritional value. Since they don’t require any extra work on the part of the farmer (they don’t need to be picked more carefully or handled differently), selling imperfect produce is an easy way for farmers make extra money without taking on additional labor costs
Making Customers Feel Good About Buying Imperfect Produce
It’s important for farmers to consider how customers will perceive their offerings. After all, most people have been conditioned to expect perfect-looking fruits and veggies from the grocery store—so how do you convince them that your imperfect produce is worth buying? One great way is by emphasizing its environmental benefits; many customers will appreciate knowing that they’re helping reduce food waste when they choose your slightly blemished tomatoes over another vendor’s flawless ones! Additionally, some customers might even find imperfect produce more aesthetically pleasing—it has a unique charm that makes it stand out from traditional supermarket fare!
Imperfect vegetables come with plenty of benefits for everyone involved—from reducing food waste for environmental sustainability purposes to providing an alternative revenue stream for farmers who want to maximize their profits without taking on extra labor costs! And let’s not forget about the customers: when given the option of buying perfect or imperfect veggies, most people will opt for the latter if it means being able to support local farms while also saving money on groceries! So next time you’re at your local market or farm stand, don’t be afraid of picking up some less-than-picture-perfect fruits and veggies—you might just end up discovering something beautiful in the process!
There’s nothing quite like farm-fresh produce! Whether you’re a farmer or just someone looking for quality produce, it can be hard to know where to look. Thankfully, there are plenty of places that you can find farm-fresh produce. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best sources out there.
Farmer’s markets are a great place to find farm-fresh produce. Not only do they offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but they also provide an opportunity to buy directly from local farmers in your area. Plus, you don’t have to worry about shipping costs or long lines at the grocery store—you can just head over to your local market and get exactly what you need.
Online Farm Stores
Another great option for finding fresh produce is online farms stores. These websites allow you to purchase directly from farmers who specialize in organic, non-GMO produce. This is a convenient way to get farm-fresh food without having to leave your home or drive all over town looking for it. Plus, many of these sites offer discounts on bulk orders and have delivery options as well.
Local Grocery Stores
Finally, don’t forget about your local grocery stores! Many stores now carry locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables that are just as delicious as what you would find at a farmer’s market or an online farm store. Just make sure that you check the labels carefully so that you know exactly where the produce is coming from before buying it.
3 Most Popular Farm Produce
Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables are the most popular type of farm produce, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all farm sales in the United States. Fruits and vegetables can be eaten fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and are used in a variety of recipes. The most popular fruits and vegetables include apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Dairy Products Dairy products are the second most popular type of farm produce, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all farm sales in the United States. Dairy products include milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. They are a good source of protein and calcium, and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Livestock Livestock is the third most popular type of farm produce, accounting for approximately 10 percent of all farm sales in the United States. Livestock includes cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens. Meat from livestock can be eaten fresh or processed into a variety of products, such as sausage or bacon.
Finding farm-fresh produce doesn’t have to be difficult—there are plenty of options available! Farmer’s markets, online farms stores, and even your local grocery store may all be great places to find fresh fruits and vegetables. With so many sources available, all it takes is a little research and planning ahead of time in order for you to enjoy farm-fresh food every day! Happy eating!
Have you ever wanted to start your own farm? Farming can be an incredibly rewarding experience if you’re willing to put in the hard work and dedication. From finding the right land to learning how to cultivate the soil, there are many factors to consider when starting a farm. Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps necessary to get your farm off the ground.
Finding the Right Land
The first step in starting a farm is finding a suitable piece of land. You should make sure that it is large enough for all of your farming needs and has access to necessary resources like water and electricity. If you don’t already have land, you will need to purchase or rent it from another party. To ensure that your land meets all of your requirements, it is important that you conduct thorough research before making any decisions.
Cultivating Your Soil
Once you have found your desired piece of land, it is time to prepare it for farming. This includes preparing the soil by using fertilizer, compost, mulch, and other methods in order to create an optimal environment for growing crops or raising livestock. Additionally, depending on what type of farming operation you intend on running, you may need certain pieces of equipment such as tractors or irrigation systems in order to properly cultivate your soil.
Marketing and Selling Your Products
The last step in starting a farm is marketing and selling your products. You will need to decide where and how you want to sell them – whether through direct sales at farmers markets or online through an e-commerce platform – as well as determine pricing and packaging strategies for success. It is also important that you create an effective marketing plan so that potential customers know about your offerings and why they should purchase them from you over other farmers or competitors.
Get the necessary equipment
The next step is to get the equipment you need for farming. This will again depend on the type of farming you want to do. If you are raising chickens, you will need chicken coops and other supplies. If you are growing crops, you will need a tractor, plows, and other equipment. You can purchase new or used equipment, or borrow equipment from someone else
Choose your crop or animal
The last step is to choose the crop or animal that you want to farm. There are many different options available, so do some research to find the one that is right for you. Once you have chosen your crop or animal, make sure to get the seeds or baby animals that you need to start your farm
Starting a farm can be an incredibly rewarding experience if done correctly; however, it requires dedication and hard work in order for it be successful. From finding the right land and cultivating the soil to marketing and selling your products, there are many considerations that must be taken into account when beginning this journey. With proper research and planning, however, anyone can become successful farmer! Good luck!
Time for homemade applesauce. Nothing could be easier. If you don’t have a food mill consider buying one or better yet, buy a chinois and pestle. A chinois is cone shaped, it has a stand, and the pestle pushes the apples through all the holes in no time. A friend gave me one and I thought that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the food mill. Was I surprised. My cooked apples are applesauce in seconds!
Use apple seconds. There is no reason to use perfect apples for applesauce. You can mix varieties or not.
Wash and cut apples into halves or quarters, (you don’t have to peel them.) Put into a pot with a tiny amount of water on the bottom to keep them from scorching when they begin to cook. Cover pot. Cook until mushy.
Turn off heat. You can put them into the food mill or chinois now (over a bowl of course), or wait until they cool off some. Add sugar (or not) and cinnamon, and you have applesauce. This freezes beautifully.
Arugula & Radicchio with Feta & Dates
(if you don’t have dates, use raisins)
2 T fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup pitted dates
¼ lb. baby arugula (8 cups)
1 (3/4lb) head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
3 oz. crumbled feta (1/2 cup)
Whist together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined well
Halve dates lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise.
Toss together arugula, radicchio, feta, and dates in a large bowl, then toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.
Arugula Salad with Carmelized Onions
ARUGULA SALAD WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE, AND CANDIED WALNUTS
4 cups 1/2” cubes crustless country bread (like Arnold’s)
3T extra-virgin olive oil
3T balsamic vinegar
10 oz. arugula
8-10 oz. soft goat cheese
Onions–heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions.
Saute until golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with vinegar, stir to blend, season with salt and pepper.
Candied Walnuts–Combine first 4 ingredients in another heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts, stir. Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to sheet of foil and quickly separate nuts with forks. Cool. Can be made ahead.
Croutons–Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Drizzle with oil tossing constantly to coat evenly. Scatter cubes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. These also can be made ahead.
Salad–Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Place arugula in very large bowl. Drop in onions tossing to distribute evenly. Add nuts, croutons, and goat cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly.
Asian Cabbage Slaw
This recipe is an adaptation for cabbage of Thai green papaya salad (som tam) and makes a refreshing and fat-free alternative to mayonnaise-based salads (not that there’s anything wrong with mayonnaise!).
1/2 to 1 head cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small hot red or green chili, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Thai basil, spearmint (optional)
1-2 scallions, chopped
¼ cup roasted shelled peanuts, ground or chopped fine
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp light colored vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
Mixed thinly sliced cabbage and grated carrot in a large bowl with the garlic, chili, cilantro and other herbs if using. Add the lime juice, salt, sugar, vinegar and fish sauce and stir well (the volume of salad should decrease within minutes as the cabbage sheds its liquid). Refrigerate until needed. Just before serving garnish with the ground peanuts and chopped scallion.
Asparagus with Cheese & Eggs Italian Style
1 pound asparagus, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces.
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
6 eggs, beaten
Blanch and drain the asparagus, being careful not to overcook it. In a bowl toss the asparagus with the butter, cheese, and salt and pepper. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Scramble the eggs (don’t overcook) and cover the asparagus with the eggs. Serve quickly!
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cleaned
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast or thigh, or 1/2 pound beef flank steak sliced thin across the grain
3 T light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon (or more) grated fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
1 Tablespoon corn starch
3 Tablespoons peanut (or other neutral oil, not olive)
2 cloves garlic (or more if you like garlic) sliced thin
1 Tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed (or you can purchase black bean with garlic paste in a jar at one of the stores and use about 1 T of that. Keep jar in refrigerator.
1/4 Cup chicken broth (canned or homemade)
Slice the cleaned asparagus diagonally into 1/4 “pieces. Set aside. In a small bowl marinate the chicken or beef in 2 T of the light soy sauce, ginger, sherry or rice wine and the cornstarch. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.
Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the oil. The oil should just begin to smoke. Quickly lay the meat on one side in the pan. Do not turn, but cook over high heat for a moment until the one side begins to brown. Toss-stir the meat for a moment and remove from the pan, allowing the oil to drain back into the pan.
Heat the pan again and add the garlic. Mix for just a moment and add the black beans or black bean paste. Mix for another moment and add the asparagus. Toss for a few seconds and then add the remaining soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Mix just until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and chicken broth. Stir to make a sauce. Serve immediately.
YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE SEASONINGS IF THIS ISN’T ENOUGH. YOU CAN MAKE IT SPICY BY ADDING RED PEPPER PASTE OR FLAKES.
Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Cheese
1# fresh asparagus
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
In a wide pot, bring several inches of water to a boil. While the water heats, snap off the fibrous ends of the asparagus spears. Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 5-8 minutes, until just tender.
While the asparagus cooks, heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Crack the eggs into the skillet. Cover and cook until the whites are firm and crisp around the edges and the yolks are partially cooked, but not hard-set. Arrange the hot asparagus on warmed serving plates, top with the fried eggs, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Asparagus with Lemon and Balsamic Vinegar
Line a pan with heavy-duty foil. Put a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice on foil. Take asparagus spears and put into a HOT pan that you have drizzled a little olive oil into. Don’t use a non-stick pan. Cook asparagus until it’s a little brown and slightly bendable about 6 or 7 minutes. Put asparagus onto foil with oil, etc. wrap up. Place on another piece of foil and wrap up. Turn over a couple of times, leave in foil about 5 minutes. Unwrap and serve with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Basic Eggplant Salad
About 2 pounds large dark eggplants
¼ cup olive or sunflower oil
lemon juice or white vinegar, according to taste.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic, crushed, then chopped (optional)
Roast the eggplant either on a barbecue (charcoal or gas) and allow it to blacken until soft inside. You can also place it over a gas flame on top of the stove where it makes a bit of a mess as its liquid drips but it still emits a smoky flavor. Otherwise it can be placed under a broiler. Remove from heat.
Place eggplant on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, slit it open and tilt the board over a sink to allow the liquid inside to run off. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle but still warm, use the knife to remove the peel and seeds.
The consistency of the salad depends on the method used for pulping the eggplant. Mashing it with a fork or pressing it through a potato masher results in a thick, pulpy mixture. Placing it in a food processor makes a smooth puree. When the eggplant is mashed put it in a bowl and add the oil slowly while stirring, blending it in well. Add the lemon juice, pepper, and salt to taste. Lots of garlic can be added to make a dish that is called “caviar of the poor.”
BelleRita’s Roasted Tomato Sauce
Wash tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters. Place on cookie sheet that has sides. Sprinkle olive oil over tomatoes, doesn’t matter how much, but not too much. Sprinkle salt over all. Place in 400 degree oven and roast for an hour or more. You can stir them around during the roasting. They don’t have to be dry, but you’ll be able to tell when they’re at the doneness that you want. Take fresh basil leaves and place on top of roasted tomatoes after you take them out of the oven, stir around so that the basil wilts some. When the tomatoes have cooled, puree either in food processor, blender, or use immersion blender. 30# of tomatoes will make about 7-8 quarts of sauce. This is a good sauce either by itself, or the beginning of another sauce. It freezes very well.
Hickory Dell Berry Cobbler
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ cup milk
4 cups blueberries, raspberries or any mixed berries
1/2 cup Raspberry Preserves
Preheat oven to 350.
While oven preheats, melt butter in a 2½ qt. baking dish in the oven, then set aside. Combine flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder. Add milk & stir just until blended. Spoon batter over butter in dish. Do not stir. Combine fruit and preserves. Spoon over batter. Do not stir. Bake until fruit is bubbly and dough has traveled to top and is golden brown, 45-55 min. Serve warm. (can use a mixture of fruit and/or other preserves)
Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake
2 ¾ CUPS FLOUR
1 ½ TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
1 ½ TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
1 TEASPOON SALT
¾ CUP SOFTENED BUTTER
1 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
1 PINT SOUR CREAM
2 TEASPOONS VANILLA
¾ CUP LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
¾ CUP CHOPPED NUTS
1 TEASPOON CINNAMON
2 CUPS BLUEBERRIES
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream and vanilla to batter. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon for streusel and set aside ½ cup. Toss the remainder in with the blueberries. Spread one third of batter in a 10” greased and floured tube pan. Sprinkle with half of the berry mixture, then spread another third of batter and sprinkle with remaining berry mixture. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle on ½ cup reserved streusel. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before trying to remove from pan.
Braised Red Cabbage
This recipe is another one that depends on your tastes. If you like things sweeter, add more sugar. If you like things tangier, add more vinegar. Use a large skillet with a cover for this.
Apples or applesauce
Apple cider vinegar
Sauté one or two medium onions in a little oil until soft. Meanwhile shred cabbage or cut into smallish pieces. Add to pan and stir. Add two or three peeled cut up apples, or some applesauce. Start with a couple of large spoonfuls of applesauce and go from there. Add some cider vinegar, brown sugar, and salt to taste. Stir and cover. This takes quite a while to cook, so don’t plan on making this in ten minutes for your supper that night. Make it earlier so it has plenty of time to have the flavors meld.
Every so often stir and taste. You can add more apples/applesauce/vinegar as you see fit. This keeps well. Enjoy!
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes
The purpose of the liqueur is to intensify the licorice flavor of the fennel. If you don’t have anise-flavored liqueur, or are avoiding cooking with alcohol, you can achieve a similar effect by adding a star anise pod to the stock when you are braising. If you aren’t a fan of the licorice flavor, then just skip this step.
2 large fennel bulbs, rinsed clean
4 Tbsp butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tbsp ouzo, pastis, sambuca or other anise-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds
Zest from 1 orange
METHOD 1 Cut the tops off the fennel bulbs, chop 2 tablespoons of the fronds and set aside. Slice the fennel bulbs in half, lengthwise, through the core. Slice each half lengthwise into quarters (you should get eight pieces total out of each fennel bulb), leaving some of the core attached so the pieces don’t fall apart as they cook. 2 Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and place the fennel pieces in the pan in a single layer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the fennel pieces, without moving them, for at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the fennel (the sugar will help with caramelization). Check for browning, and cook for another minute or two if they’re not browned yet. Turn the fennel pieces over and brown the other side. 3 When both sides of the fennel are nicely browned, add the ouzo to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. The ouzo should boil down quickly. When it is almost gone, add the stock and water. 4 Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat down to low, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, increase the heat to high and let the stock cook down until it is a glaze. Add the fennel fronds and most of the orange zest and combine gently. 5 Serve garnished with the rest of the zest and a few splashes of lemon juice. Yield: Serves 4.
Broccoli Raab Pasta
1 LARGE ONION
6-8 CLOVES GARLIC
2 BUNCHES BROCCOLI RAAB
RED PEPPER FLAKES
½ TO ¾ POUND PASTA
RED WINE VINEGAR
PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE
Peel and thinly slice the onion. Smash, peel and thinly slice the garlic. Wash the broccoli raab, removing the heavy stems and chop the leaves and sprouts coarsely. Put a large pot on to boil. Liberally cover the bottom of a sauté pan with the olive oil and sauté the onion over high heat. When the onion has begun to wilt and brown then add the garlic and pepper flakes to taste, and salt. Toss briefly then add the broccoli raab and a splash of water. Lower the heat and cook until tender, stirring or tossing frequently. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Taste the broccoli raab for seasoning and add a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss with the freshly cooked pasta and garnish with the cheese.
BASIC BRUSCHETTA—CUT ITALIAN OR FRENCH COUNTRY-STYLE BREAD (BERKSHIRE’S BAGUETTE IS PERFECT) INTO ¾” thick 3-4” long slices. Toast on both sides over a charcoal fire or under the broiler until barely golden and still supple, not hard. While still warm, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of a lightly crushed garlic clove half. Place the toasts garlicked side up on a platter and drizzle each slice with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the best olive oil you have.
You can serve it as is, or put on a topping. Figure 1-2 per person.
Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with shredded basil over the top.
A mix of tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
A toss of chopped vegetables—tomatoes, black olives, green olives, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, and crushed garlic.
Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and minced oregano, basic and garlic seasoned with black pepper.
A mix of chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, Italian parsley, oregano, salt and black pepper.
Market Begins May 26th. 12:30-6 This will be a limited market.
Please be prepared to shop and not linger. Face masks are required .
Because of the current pandemic, please consider whether to bring your children with you to the market. All children over 2 must wear a mask.
Please leave your pets at home.
Use the Trafton Road Entrance
From Sumner Ave. take right on Cliftwood to Dickinson St., take a right. First right is Trafton Road. Follow that to back entrance. From the Longmeadow end, take your first left after Temple Beth El. Follow that to back entrance.
10-2 on Saturdays. Second and fourth in November, second and third in December, and second and fourth every month after that through April. In the Monkey House, second building on the left as you come in the Trafton Road entrance. Forest Park, Springfield, MA
The Farmers’ Market at Forest Park is committed to promoting healthful eating and sustainable agriculture in Massachusetts by providing fresh agricultural products from small farms to urban customers thereby building community and preserving farmland.