From the Market Manager
This has been quite a week for me. On the upside, I attended the graduation of my grandson Alex from Champlain College in Burlington, VT. Although I am not old by today’s standards (I’m 74) I am nevertheless very grateful to have lived to see such a wonderful life cycle event. It seems like just yesterday that I was cradling him in my arms.
The downside (with a good outcome) is that my daughter Jennifer, who is 48, and who lives in Washington, DC was rushed on Tuesday evening to the hospital with severe chest pains. She didn’t have a heart attack, but what she has been diagnosed with, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, can be fatal. The doctors told her that it is genetic and they surmised that that is what killed her father at age 40, 42 years ago. I’m sure that all of you have read about athletes who died suddenly. This is the condition that is largely responsible.
Once again I say that I am grateful that we live where and when we do.
My daughter hasn’t lost her sense of humor. She was taken to one hospital first and then because of the seriousness of her condition, she was taken by helicopter to another one. I’m sure the traffic at that time of day in D.C. was a consideration. She told one of her brothers that now she could take a helicopter ride off her bucket list.
I certainly enjoyed the asparagus from our market that I had last week. I ate the whole bunch myself. I will buy it when it comes from California prior to our local season, but once it’s local, I don’t buy anything else. There are some things that are so special, that I think they should only be eaten in season. They’re worth waiting for.
I went to the Burlington, VT farmers’ market on Saturday. It has 99 vendors. Their prices are about what ours are. With 99 vendors they have more than we do, but we have almost the same products here. I remember years ago, after I had gone to the Union Square market in New York City, that Caroline Pam from The Kitchen Garden said she thought our market compared very favorably to theirs even though theirs was much larger. She had been one of the managers at that market.
This was my first trip to Burlington, VT, and I noticed a few things. One was that it is clean. I didn’t notice any litter although I’m sure there is some, but not so much that it is noticeable, and they seem to have done a good job preserving their older homes and commercial buildings, so the city is interesting.
We, on the other hand, have way too much litter. Please, when you see some, pick it up and dispose of it. When you go for a walk bring a small plastic bag (the kind you get at a store) and fill it up. I find it so discouraging to see so much trash in our streets. I don’t understand people who litter, and I don’t understand how people in the homes and businesses who have it can just leave it there.
Remember the Date
On May 31st, we will have a visit from Zoo on the Go. They will be here at 3 o’clock and will stay about 2 hours. The last time they were here, the adults got as big a kick out of them as the children did.
Senior Farm Share
Contact CISA at 413-665-7100 to find out how you qualify for a share this year. For $10 you can get over $100 worth of produce this growing season. CISA raised $100,000 to expand this program and to give those of you who have SNAP benefits a bonus.
This is a term that is used when full-service grocery stores aren’t that available to residents of a particular area. For instance, if you are living in an area where you have to travel a pretty good distance to go grocery shopping, you live in a food desert.
We don’t live in a food desert in the Springfield area. We have many full-service grocery stores, (Stop & Shop, Big Y) grocery stores that aren’t full service, (Price Rite, Aldi’s, Shop & Save) that carry many products, many ethnic stores, specialty stores etc. And farmers’ markets of which there are several in Springfield
The problem for some people is that they don’t have transportation. Most of us don’t live with a bus stop in front of our homes, so even if taking the bus is convenient, walking home with lots of groceries isn’t. PVTA will take someone who is elderly or disabled grocery shopping if they have made a reservation for the ride. Cabs are available, but they are pricey. What to do?
Instead of building more grocery stores, let’s figure out ways to get folks to stores so that they have choices for healthy food. And, if you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who can’t get to our market, offer them a ride.
This ‘n’ That
Of course you recycle, but can you do more? Most of us probably can. Do you save plastic bags and then drop them at the grocery store? They get melted down.
Never put oil or any fat down the drain. Sop it up with a paper towel and put into the trash. You can bring egg cartons back to this market and give them to the people from whom you buy your eggs. The paper cartons can be ripped up and composted if they aren’t good enough to re-use.
If you have vases that you aren’t going to use, bring them to a florist.
If you go camping, don’t bring any firewood with you; buy it at your destination. There are too many invasive insects, and this is a way to try to control them.
Bring cookbooks you no longer want to the market and put them in the blue bin for someone else to take.
Meet the Vendors—Phuong’s Asian Vegetables
In 1985 Phuong emigrated to the United States from Travinh, South Vietnam. She lived in Richmond, VA for 6 months, and then moved to Springfield because some relatives who had moved here in 1982 needed some help; she was 7 months pregnant. She now has 3 adult children, and grandchildren.
Her husband got a job almost right away, then 2 jobs. In 1988 she started working at Hasbro, and worked there almost 23 years.
Her family in Vietnam had a big farm. They grew rice and all sorts of fruit and vegetables. She had a big garden there also.
After she was laid off from Hasbro, she continued growing vegetables in her back yard, and now also rents land to have a large enough supply to sell at our market. All of her vegetables are chemical-free.
In addition to growing vegetables, Phuong makes some delicious Vietnamese delicacies that she brings to us.
Recipe—Cannellini Beans & Wilted Greens
You can either cook your own dried beans in water or chicken broth adding onion and carrot while they’re cooking, or use canned beans. Drain the canned beans, but save the liquid.
Cannellini beans, large bunch (about 1#) chopped spinach, kale, chard, turnip, or mustard greens, 6 cloves garlic, 5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.
Finely chop the garlic and saute gently with the rosemary in the olive oil, about one minute. Add the drained beans and their liquid (you may have to add some water or chicken broth to have enough, or if you’ve cooked the dried beans, use a cup of the cooking liquid.) Cook for about 5 minutes or until some of the beans have crumbled. Add the chopped greens, stew together uncovered until the greens are wilted and tender. Add more liquid if necessary. Serve with olive oil drizzled over the surface.
The used book sale at Storrs Library in Longmeadow is this week. Thursday is for the Friends from 4-8, and Friday, 10-5, and Saturday, 11-4 are for the public. Longmeaddowe Days start on Friday evening, so parking might be problematic on Saturday.
The UU church on Porter Lake Drive is having another weekend of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2. You can purchase tickets by going to Click4tix.com/unityhouse, or get them at the door.
The Town of West Springfield still needs an assistant cook for their senior center. Salary is $13.50-15 per hour depending on experience. Contact Sandy MacFadyen at 263-3232 if interested
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