From the Market Manager
I thought our opening day was terrific. So many people stopped at the market table to say how happy they were that the market was open again.
Farmers’ markets are community events. They are on the same day each week, and the same hours, so everyone knows that if they want to shop there, they have to go during those hours. Sometimes people stop and chat for quite a while. I often joke with them and tell them that I am going to charge them rent.
What’s the best way to shop at a farmers’ market? Walk around the market to see who has what and what the prices are. Then start your shopping. Each week is different.
I encourage you to purchase something that you haven’t had previously. The only way you are going to know if you like something is if you try it. Sounds obvious,but especially for the younger shoppers who often say I don’t like…I tell them that our tastes change as we get older, so they should try something that they didn’t like as a child. What’s the worst thing that you can do? Throw it away.
Someone once said to me, “Oh Belle Rita, you’re such a good cook I bet you never make mistakes.” I told them that everyone who cooks makes mistakes. We get to throw them away so no-one sees them.
I always say that we New Englanders earn our spring. This year it’s pretty cool, but everything is greening up, and flowers and shrubs are blooming. I have dark pink rhododendron bushes outside the window where I sit at my computer. Each year I marvel about how Mother Nature knows just what to do to make these bushes bloom. I get such pleasure from them.
New this Year
If you do not have a park pass, in order to get in free to the park, you must enter through the Trafton Road entrance. Come in that entrance and take a right. There is a 2-week grace period to come in via Sumner Avenue, but after that if you don’t have a pass, you will have to pay. The park pass is for any park with an entry fee.
These are the park pass fees:
• Senior Springfield resident--$7
• Springfield resident--$13
• Massachusetts resident, not Springfield--$23
• Out of state resident--$28
These are annual fees. Very reasonable and worth it.
EBT Bonus, etc.
If you swipe your EBT card for $10 or more in the month of May, you will receive an additional bonus of $10. THIS IS ONLY FOR THE MONTH OF MAY.
A new program called HIP—Healthy Incentive Project will start soon. It is being implemented by the Department of Transitional Assistance. If you have not already received a letter from them, you will soon. HIP is a program to help people who use SNAP benefits to eat healthier food.
What’s in Season?
Asparagus, fiddleheads, ramps, mushrooms, rhubarb, herbs, radishes, some Asian vegetables, and probably more.
Meet the Vendors
Christina Bozza is the owner of Saltbox Seasonings a new vendor at our market. She lives in the Cozy Corner neighborhood of Forest Park Heights in a lovely 1896 Victorian with her partner, who is a botanist and environmental consultant, and their three cats. She was raised at the beach in NJ, went to school at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and then to graduate school at Tulane in New Orleans. She has lived on both coasts, in the South, and the Midwest (Detroit, Michigan) and has traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, gaining inspiration from different places, people and cuisines along the way.
She is an avid gardener who especially loves roses and lilies. She likes to build wine racks AND collect the wine to fill them. She collects all kinds of art, and loves reading, great jazz, cooking Mexican and Italian food, and grilling in the backyard -- especially pizza, hiking in the New England forests, and playing golf. She is studying to become a Master Gardener at UConn Extension and is doing a lot of volunteer work in gardens around Connecticut as part of the program.
She is also a refugee from the insurance corporate world after more than thirty years of underwriting management and training -- and is very excited to be a new entrepreneur
with several start-ups, including Saltbox Seasonings.
They moved to the Pioneer Valley 11 years ago, and they love the wonderful farm to table foods, the music scene, and the healthy lifestyle here.Christina says life is lovely and getting better every day!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plastic bags are not to be put into your recycling barrel. Save them and bring to a grocery store. They get melted down. All kinds of plastic bags. Make sure they’re clean.
Batteries—common single use household batteries, don’t contain mercury, so can be thrown away in the trash. Take the contacts on 9-volts and lantern batters before disposal or storage.
All other battery varieties contain hazardous materials and require special disposal. Many communities have convenient drop-off options.
Search online with your zip code at earth911.com.
Button batteries found in watches, hearing aids, electronics and some toys will be accepted by the retailer from whom you buy a new one. They are required to take one back at no charge.
Lithium batteries look like alkaline batteries, but these should ideally be recycled properly; some municipalities take them.
Rechargeable batteries are accepted at many stores. Look online for more information at call2recycle.org
Beer and soda packaging—although it looks like paper, it contains plastic, so it is not recyclable.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You give the farmer a set sum of money, and you receive a share of their harvest. CSAs are for produce, meat, bread, flowers, and possibly more. Some CSAs box the share up for you, some have you go to their farm and pick your own, and some have a setup where everything is picked, and you go and take what they tell you the share is for that week.
Stanley Park Events
Stanley Park in Westfield is open to the public with no admission fee. The season runs from the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November. They have band concerts, garden workshops, nature workshops, carillon concerts, Zoo on the Go, and Teaching Creatures. On Friday mornings beginning in July, they have programs for children.
This coming Sunday, May 14th, “Nesting Birds and Tropical Migrants” with Seth Kellogg is scheduled. It’s from 7:30-9:30 AM. Bring binoculars. The workshop will meet at the main entrance to the Frank Stanley Beveridge Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary located across from the recreation field and will cancel if there is heavy rain. Wear spring hiking attire, sturdy boots, bring water,your field guides and a camera. Their website is Stanleypark.org.
This ‘n’ That
• Don’t give your personal information to anyone over the phone.
• Shred credit card offers. Shred checks that come in the mail also. (the ones from the credit card companies.)
• Don’t put boxes from major purchases out in your recycling until the day of pickup, and make sure you break them down.
• Have numbers on your house that are large enough to read from the street.
• Shrubs should be kept trimmed and kept lower than the windows.
• Install motion sensor lights, and focus them down toward the ground to illuminate the driveway and yard.
• Keep your front lights on all night. A lighted neighborhood is a safer neighborhood.
• Use a 3” steel screws to attach strike plates to studs.
• Air conditioners need to be secured at both the top and the bottom with duplex (2 headed) nails. Left unsecured, they can be lifted out of the window opening.
• Use a local security company for your security system. And USE it.
• Take precautions when you are going on vacation. Stop the mail and newspaper, turn off the water, and put return address labels on your copper piping in the basement to deter thieves from stealing it should they break in. Also, let a neighbor know that you won’t be home. Use the automatic light switches for your inside lights