From the Market Manager
Some of you have asked about The Kitchen Garden, so here is the news once again. They aren’t returning to our market this year. They were invited to the Copley Square market which is also on Tuesdays, so that’s where they are going. Although that market isn’t larger than ours, they get many more customers as you might imagine. So, it’s on to the big time for the KG. However, we are most fortunate to have been able to recruit Rainbow Harvest from Greenfield to join us. Although they aren’t certified organic, they are chemical-free, so you can be assured that you will have the same type of vegetables available to you that you had from the KG.
Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find information about Rainbow’s owner and the farm.
Mother Nature is amazing, but we all know that. I have a Facebook page, and every so often they put a posting on it that is a memory of something that was posted previously, usually within the last few years. This week I noticed that my gorgeous deep pink rhododendrons were just beginning to flower. On my page that day was a picture taken 3 years to the day of the just beginning to flower rhodies. Even with the mild winter and the chilly spring, MN does her job right on time.
One of the things that I have hoped to accomplish by writing this newsletter each week, is to emphasize the hard work that goes into farming. I think that we all understand that on some level, but it needs to be a conscious thought for us.
In Sunday’s paper there was an article about the asparagus crop this spring. It hasn’t been as prolific as the farmers would like it to be due to the cool spring. Asparagus grows quickly when the temperature is warm. As I have written many times, weather and labor are two aspects of farming which are the most difficult.
You all know that I love this market. I have conversations on a regular basis that leave me feeling uplifted. Last week I met a woman who lives part time in Longmeadow, and is a judge in Chicago. I don’t know how we got to the subject of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (one of our Supreme Court justices for those of you who don’t know) and she told me that she and RBG have been friends for years. I was star struck. Yes, I know, I’m a geek that I now know someone who is friends with her, and am excited by it.
Meet the Vendors
Rainbow Harvest Farm is a small farm in Greenfield owned and operated by David Paysnick. Rainbow Harvest focuses on growing high quality, ecologically grown vegetables, herbs and plants. They also grow a small amount of mushrooms and small fruits, two enterprises David hopes to grow over the next few years.
While the farm is not certified organic, David does not use any materials that would be prohibited by organic standards. Ecologically grown means that the farming principles used are based on a desire to maintain a harmonious relationship between food production and the environment. Even certified organic farms are able to spray a variety of materials that can be toxic to humans and beneficial insects.
David does not spray any pesticides on his farm, instead, he relies on good soil fertility, beneficial insects (like ladybugs), and row covers (thin woven blankets that cover field crops) to control unwanted pests. David’s favorite crop to grow is chili peppers, and last year he began making a line of infused sea salts which he also has available at the market. The salts are infused with ingredients grown on the farm such as chilies, garlic, and herbs. Some of the most popular flavors include chipotle smoked sea salt, habanero smoked sea salt, and garlic infused sea salt.
David grew up in the Springfield area, and is excited to be returning to sell his farm products.
More on Asparagus
It is normal to have bunches with different size stems, and colors in them. Don’t wash the stalks before using them. Wet asparagus wilts much faster than dry. Wrap the entire bunch in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag, and store in the fridge. It should stay crisp for several days. If it gets a bit limp, you can restore its crispness by standing the bunch upright in a bowl of water in the fridge for about a half hour. Washing asparagus is easy; just submerge in cold water, rinse and pat dry. The lower white part of each stalk is typically woody and tasteless. Bend the stalk and snap it at the border where the white begins to turn green. If the stalk is very thick, consider peeling it as well. You can use the discarded stalks and peels for soup stock. There are many ways to cook it–stir-fry, roasting, steamed, all are good.
Serve it drizzled with olive oil or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. That’s what you roast it with also, nothing more.
Senior Farm Share Lottery
CISA’s Senior Farm Share program offers low-income seniors access to low cost, fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at the height of the growing season. Applications will be accepted until June 1st.
Eligible seniors can apply to participate at one of 14 distribution sites throughout the Pioneer Valley, and participants will be chosen by lottery. The program is based on the CSA model, so participants receive a share of produce, delivered weekly by a local farm for pickup at a set time.
Participants pay a $10 cost per share and receive $125 in produce; the program runs for 10 weeks beginning in July. Eligible seniors must be over the age of 60, and have an income below $23,540 or a combined income below $31,860. Distribution sites are in Athol, Charlemont, Greenfield, Turners Falls, Shelburne Falls, Chesterfield, Huntington, Northampton, Chicopee, Holyoke, Palmer and Springfield.
To find contact information for each of these sites in order to request an application, visit the website, buylocalfood.org, or call Brian Snell at CISA (413) 665- 7100.
Senior Farm Share is one of the “Local Food for All” programs, and representative of the agency’s commitment to making local food available to the most vulnerable members of the community.
Now in its 12th year, Senior Farm Share will distribute $60,000 in vegetables to 475 seniors in 2016. Funding for the Senior Farm Share program is provided by the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs, individual contributions, and by grants from church communities.
CISA is also the sponsor of the $10 bonus for those of you who use an EBT card at the market.
This market primarily runs on vendor fees, but we also receive contributions and grants. As it is said for many things, it takes a village. Thanks to Concerned Citizens for Springfield, our sponsor. And to Robyn Newhouse, The Forest Park Civic Association, Berkshire Bank Foundation, United Bank, individual contributors, and, of course our wonderful Park Department for all of their help.
We pay rent to use this space, but they go above and beyond to help us.
Zoo on the Go
Next week, here at the market, Zoo on the Go will be here about 3 o’clock for a couple of hours. The last time the adults enjoyed it as much as the children did.
The Jewish Community Center offers transportation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9-2 and Friday from 8:30-1. Call 739-4715 for more information or for reservations. Cost is $2 per ride or buy a card for 12 rides for $18. Use them to come to the market.
This ‘n’ That
• About 1/3rd of the U.S. is covered by forests.
• Trees increase the property value of homes by 10-20% and attract new homebuyers.
• Trees can reduce the need for air conditioning by 30%, and heating by 20-50%.
• If you have Netflix, watch “Cooked”, a 4 part series based on the book by Michael Polan. Our own Berkshire Mountain Bakery is part of it. Richard Bourdon, the owner of BMB said they spent 3 ½ days at their bakery filming them. It is a terrific series, very interesting. Polan said that he didn’t think that we became human until we started to cook.
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