From the Market Manager
Last week someone commented on the way some of you are parking, so please be aware of this. Don’t park on both sides of any driveway, and make sure you park within the lines in the parking lot. It’s nice that we’re so busy that parking is sometimes problematic.
This past Sunday I went to New York City for the day. We are so fortunate to live so close to major cities where we can get our museum or whatever “fix” we want, and then come home to Western Mass. I always say it’s good to go, and good to come home. One of the places I always
try to get to is Zabar’s, a mostly food store on the Upper West Side. I like to see what New Yorkers are doing with food. I am sure that if I lived there, I’d be a regular customer.
Sometimes someone says that they’d like the market to last longer. We, at 5½ hours, are a long market. No market is going to be perfect for everyone. We did change our hours a couple of times. Opening at 12:30 allows some people to come during their lunch hour. Closing at 6 allows some people to come after work. But, our hours don’t work for everyone, and for that we are
sorry, but we aren’t going to change our hours again. It’s important to think about the hours that the vendors put in. They start early, and after the market is over, have lots of work yet to do. As much as we would like to accommodate everyone, it just isn’t possible.
I have a Facebook page. Every so often they put up a picture that was posted in a prior year. Last week they put up a picture of one of the rhododendron bushes that are in front of my house. About 2 days later they started to bloom. I always marvel at Mother Nature. Doesn’t seem to matter if our winter and/or spring was cold, wet, or dry, they bloom just about the same time every year.
Our market doesn’t survive on just our vendor fees. We are grateful for community support. Thanks to these people/organizations who have contributed to us this year: Our sponsor, Concerned Citizens for Springfield, Robyn Newhouse, The Davis Foundation, and The Forest
Park Civic Association. If you write a check make it out to The Farmers’ Market at the X. Thanks.
We are sponsored by CCS which is a 501-C3 organization so contributions are tax deductible. If you’d like to contribute, we won’t say no.
Our market falls on July 4th this year. We will be open probably with limited hours. It will be strawberry season then. Maybe corn, who knows.
New this Year
If you do not have a park pass, in order to get in free to the park for the market, you must enter through the Trafton Road entrance. Come in that entrance and take a right. The grace period to come in via Sumner Avenue is over, so if you don’t have a pass, you will have to pay if you come in that way. 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
You can purchase a pass at the administration building just inside the Sumner Avenue entrance every day until 3:30.
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. You will get money each month put onto your EBT card that can be used at a farmers’ market or a farm stand for produce only.
Meet the Vendors—Skalbite Farm
Robert Skalbite always wanted to be a farmer. After his dad died in 2009, he took over the farm. He is a graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMASS. He earned a BS in Sustainable Food and Farming.
The farm, located in Monson is 125 acres; it has been in the family for over 70 years. Robert (aka Bob) raises belted Galloway cows. That’s the cow that is black on both ends and white in the middle. Kind of like an Oreo cookie. He now has about 15 and wants to increase the
herd to 40. He also has 25 pigs (heritage breed) on pasture, and raises chickens as well.
Robert’s current job aside from farming his own farm, is as the assistant superintendent at the UMASS farm in Hadley.
This ‘n’ That
• There are about 4-5,000 beekeepers in Massachusetts.
• There are about 40-45 thousand hives in our state.
• Over 45% of our crops rely on bees for pollination.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
Canning jars are not recyclable due to their thickness. Either give them away, or put into the trash.
Cartons & drink boxes, the type used for milk and juice, are recyclable with bottles and cans. Discard the straws.
Don’t include drink pouches; they can only be recycled through Terracycle.com.
Cell phones should be thrown away due to their reuse value & hazardous/recyclable components.
Numerous charitable & for profit organizations accept cell phone donations. Search online for cell phone donations. Stores that sell phones will also accept them for free recycling.
Coat hangers—don’t put them in your household recycling bin; they clog up the machinery at the recycling facilities. Bring the wire ones back to the cleaners. Plastic hangers aren’t recyclable; throw them away.
Clothing and textiles should be brought to Goodwill or the Salvation Army even if they are stained or ripped as they sell that kind of stuff in bulk to recyclers who then make it into insulation.
Some animal shelters re-use old sheets, blankets, pillowcases, bedspreads, throw rugs
Recipe--Savory Bread Pudding Layered with Asparagus, Cheese and FreshHerbs
Heavy chewy bread will make a denser pudding; lighter breads result in a softer, more traditional texture.
12-16 thick slices of dry bread
2 ½ to 3 cups milk
1 pound asparagus
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and tarragon, or sage, thyme and marjoram)
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
4 oz. fontina cheese, slivered
4 oz. Swiss cheese, slivered
1 T. butter, cut into small bits
Place the bread in a single layer in a shallow dish. Pour 2 1/2 cups milk over the bread. Let soak until the bread has absorbed it and become soft, about 30 minutes. Press the bread slices to extract the milk. Measure the milk; you should have ½ cup. If not, add milk to make ½
cup. Set aside.
While the bread is soaking, trim the asparagus, removing the woody ends. Cut the stalks on the diagonal into thin slivers, about 2” long and 3/8ths” thick.
Arrange on a steamer rack and place over gently boiling water. Cover and steam until barely tender, 2-3 minutes. Immediately place the asparagus under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 3-quart mold (a soufflé dish works well.)
Beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, and the ½ cup milk until well blended.
Layer one third of the bread in the prepared dish. Set 6- 8 asparagus slivers aside; top the bread layer with half of the remaining asparagus and half of the mixed herbs.
Strew 1/3rd of the cheeses on top. Repeat the layers, using half of the remaining bread, all of the remaining asparagus, and herbs, and half of the remaining cheese.
Arrange the remaining bread on top, strew the remaining cheese over it, and garnish with the reserved asparagus slivers.
Pour the milk/egg mixture over all, then dot with
Bake until the top is crusty brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Serves 6-8. Substitute broccoli if you don’t want/have asparagus. Par cook the broccoli.
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