Fairly often in this newsletter I mention that two of the things that are most difficult for farmers are weather and labor. On Sunday a friend and I went up to Outlook Farm to their cherry festival where they had a barbecue and a band. I sat and talked at length with Brad Morse who, together with his wife Erin, are the owners of Outlook Farm. We talked about some of his crops, specifically the fruit crops. There won’t be any peaches or nectarines this year due to the exceptionally cold weather that we had in February; it killed the buds. They’re not sure about the apple crop this year. Last year’s crop was exceptional, so they know they won’t be that lucky this year.
Brad said that he’s been working with the UMASS Extension Service on his blueberry crop. There is a fruit fly that is different than the fruit fly that we are familiar with. This one has teeth and will bite into a berry and lay its eggs which will destroy the fruit. So far there hasn’t been any infestation in Western Mass, but Brad just learned that they trapped one, so know they are around, so he will have to spray his crop. He is also going to buy netting to keep the birds away; that will cost about 2K.
In addition to the weather and bug problems, they need help in their kitchen and bakery and on the farm. He said it’s difficult to find people who are willing to work as hard as one has to work on a farm. And so it goes. It certainly takes a lot of resilience to be a farmer.
Meet the Vendors—My Main Squeeze
My Main Squeeze was established by Cassandra (aka Cassie) Cerasuolo in 2014. She started the business based on her own passion for fresh juice. She wanted her establishment to be a place where no matter what you purchase will be good for you. She uses no processed or refined ingredients, nor does she use any additives. Cassie purchases many of her ingredients from local growers, and uses as many other local ingredients such as Tom’s Wildflower Honey (our honey vendor) from Ludlow as possible.
She supports local and independently run businesses, and is part of an organization called Living Local. My Main Squeeze is located at 48 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow. The hours are M-F 7AM to 5PM, and Saturday 9-4. My Main Squeeze is also at our winter market.
Swiss chard is a member of the silver beet family. It has had many names throughout the centuries. All of the plant (except for the roots) is eaten. If the stems are large, they should be cooked a little first. Young leaves are often used in salads; older bigger ones are generally cooked. Chard can be sautéed, put into soups, or quiches, or steamed. In South Africa and Australia, it is called spinach.
In 1968 the Schrade family started a music festival in Worthington. The family lived in New York City (some still do) and the parents, some of the children, and now the grandchildren are/were musicians. They have performed all over the world. The parents and one daughter are deceased.
Each week beginning this year on July 10th, and for 5 more Sundays at 4PM, a concert is held. The Academy in Worthington is an all wooden building. When Ozowa Hall at Tanglewood was proposed, some people visited the Academy to hear the acoustics. Mrs. Shrade said that someone had told them that listening to music in that building was like being inside a Stradivarius violin.
It’s easy to get to from our area. Get to Westfield, continue on Rte. 20 to Rte. 112. Continue on 112 for 8 miles. Right at bridge, take a right. They serve free refreshments during intermission. It’s $20 or whatever you can afford. Next week it’s the
Greenwood Chamber Players: Flute and Strings. There are brochures at the market table.
Why Shop at a Farmers’ Market?
1. Real flavors—straight from the farm. No long distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage.
2. Seasonal finds—What you buy at the farmers’ market is fresh, local and flavorful. There is a significant difference in flavor for most of what you find at a fm.
3. Supporting family farmers—Now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S., small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their efforts. Your money stays local, and it filters down to other local businesses.
4. Eco-friendly alternative—On average, food in the U.S. travels about 1500 miles to get to our plates. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources, contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture. Food at a farmers’ market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
5. Variety—you will find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket. Part of the reason for this is that some of these vegetables wouldn’t survive the long distances that they would have to travel to get to us.
6. Promote humane treatment of animals—At the farmers’ market, you can find meats, cheeses, poultry, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have graced on grass and eaten natural diets, and who
have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of large-scale animal agriculture.
7. Know where your food comes from. You get to know some of the people who are growing/raising your food.
8. Learn cooking tips and meal ideas.
9. Connect with your community. Because a farmers’ market isn’t a daily occurrence, you are very likely to see people that you know when you go to the market.
Recipe—Martha’s Blueberry Cake
½ cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
2 tsps. Baking powder
1 cup milk
3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Topping: ½ cup brown sugar, 1/3rd cup flour ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ cup butter
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beating after each one. Combine 3 ½ cups flour, salt and baking powder and add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Stir in blueberries and pour batter into a greased and floured 10” tube pan (or 2 9x5x3 loaf pans. Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter and sprinkle over batter. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees.
Does anyone have a room to rent? A man from Vermont who comes highly recommended, has taken a job in Springfield. He only needs the room from Monday to Thursday nights. If you have one available, call Belle Rita at 737-1724, and she will connect you.
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