From the Market Manager
Good news! From now on any of you who need to use the Sumner Avenue entrance for the market can do so for $1. Then you can come to the market table and get reimbursed. The Trafton Road entrance is still free.
If you have cookbooks you no longer want, bring them to the market and put them in the blue bin at the market table.
Don’t forget to check out the free Fridays at museums and locations throughout the Commonwealth this summer. Highlandstreet.org for all of the details.
If you aren’t already registered to vote, we have the forms at the market table. We will send it in for you.
Make sure that the numbers on your house can be read easily from the street. I was looking for a house the other day, and many houses had numbers that were obscure.
Annoying at the least, but if an emergency vehicle has to get to you, it could be dangerous.
Although last week was a holiday, we were here. Not many of us, but some. It’s only the second time in our 20 years that July 4th has fallen on a Tuesday.
This is the time of year when we are loaded with the bounty that our region has. Strawberry season morphs into blueberry season, and not long after that peaches will arrive. Last year we didn’t have peaches, this year should be a good one. There should be a good apple crop also.
I like reading cookbooks, but if I am looking for a recipe I am likely to go to the Internet. As many of you know, I make gazpacho to give out at the market each August when everything is local. There are probably hundreds of recipes for this cold soup. My son told me that he made a watermelon gazpacho recently. Watermelon goes well in a salad also. A hint of sweetness in a tossed salad is nice.
Riverbend Farm will be back at the market next week.
Grace Hill Farm and Crooked Stick will also be back next week.
If you’d like to share a recipe or two with us for the newsletter, please do.
HIP—Healthy Incentives Program
By now, all of you who receive SNAP benefits will have received a letter explaining the HIP program to you. This is a 3-year program done with grant money from the USDA.
Something that you MUST be very aware of is that you MUST have a balance on your EBT card. If you have spent all of your SNAP benefits, or only have a couple of dollars left in your account, and you have HIP benefits left for the month, you won’t be able to utilize your HIP benefits. So, pay attention to your balance.
Most people will utilize HIP throughout the month since most families don’t need 40, 60, or 80 dollars of produce all at once. Just be aware that you have to have a balance. Also, if you don’t use your HIP benefits each month, they don’t carry over to the next month. It is a use it, or lose it proposition.
Three of our vendors, Rainbow Harvest Farm, Red Fire Farm, and Riverbend Farm have signed up to take HIP. Of course, you can still use wooden tokens throughout the market.
It’s Blueberry Season!
It is definitely a bonus that blueberries are healthy for us. We can feel virtuous eating them to excess. If you like to pick them, plan on going up to Maple Corner Farm’s patch in Granville. I am sure that Jess Taylor has directions at their stand. It’s a nice ride, and the setting is lovely. There are many other places in Western Mass to pick them. Check out the new edition of CISA’s Buying Local magazine at our market table for listings.
Blueberries freeze perfectly. Lay them on a rimmed cookie sheet, put into the freezer, let freeze solid and then put them in a freezer bag. Use them just like that when you are going to bake or make pancakes.
And, speaking of pancakes, there is no need to buy a pancake mix as they couldn’t be simpler to make from scratch. Go to either a cookbook or the Internet for a specific recipe. Flour, eggs, milk, plain yogurt, or sour cream, or buttermilk, baking powder if using milk, baking soda if using the other dairy products, a dash of salt, blueberries, and that’s it. You can add a little sugar if you want, but since most of us eat pancakes with syrup, it’s not necessary. Sugar is necessary if you’re making waffles.
Also, only use real maple syrup. The commercial syrups aren’t maple syrup at all.
Arts in the Pioneer Valley aka Western Mass
We are surrounded this time of year by wonderful places to go to enjoy the arts. Not only do we have many museums, we have theater, concerts both formal and informal, children’s programs, and more. The Majestic Theater in West Springfield had both children’s and adult programming. New Century Theatre has 3 plays in 2 new venues, and The Chester Theatre Company has 4 plays from the end of June through the end of August. The Sevenars Music Festival runs from July 9th to August 13th in Worthington. If you’ve never been to any of these artistic performances, treat yourself. We are so fortunate to live where we live
Goat Cheese Appetizer
You can use plain goat cheese, or a seasoned one as long as it’s savory. Slice the cheese into rounds, (and the cutting is the hardest part of the recipe), dip each round into beaten egg then panko bread crumbs. Let it sit for a while for the crumbs to adhere. Sauté gently until the crumbs are golden brown. Put a small amount of marinara sauce on a plate with a round of cheese on top. Garnish with fresh basil. Make sure you make plenty because this is absolutely delicious.
If you go to Massnrc.org, you will find lots of information about agriculture in Massachusetts. One of the pages gives you information about where you can have a farm vacation. It is a terrific thing to do with children.
Make it Yourself
Barbecue sauce, salad dressing, applesauce, jam, it’s all easy and can be so much better than store bought (and cheaper.) Keep a few brands of olive oil, a variety of vinegars, some fresh lemons and different herbs on hand, and you can make salad dressing very easily. Barbecue sauce always has something sweet in it, then you go from there. I have marinated chicken in Italian salad dressing which doesn’t have anything sweet in it, but it was good. If you want to use the barbecue sauce after you’ve marinated your meat or chicken, boil it for a few minutes then use it as a sauce.
Will you fall for a Scam?
How gullible are you? How about your parents? I read an article recently about an elderly woman who was scammed out of $85,000 because the “IRS” called her to tell her that she was going to be arrested due to owing money. Now it’s possible that this woman suffers from some dementia, and if so, her family should have had a better grasp on her finances than they did (if she had a family .)
You should know that the IRS doesn’t call. Also, if you get a call saying that your child/grandchild is overseas and has lost their wallet and needs money to get home,
well, that is also a scam. So is someone telling you that they have found some money and are willing to share it.
Often the person is told that they have to go to a store and get a gift card in a large dollar amount. Stores should train their employees that they should be suspicious of this. Tellers in some banks are aware that this sort of thing happens, and have stopped this type of thing because they know the customer.
I know that we can be overly cautious, but it is very important to pay attention.
Summer squash comes in many varieties. Often someone will say they like summer squash and zucchini which is also summer squash. It can be prepared so many different ways. Grilling it with some olive oil on it is a quick and easy way to make it. Make squash pancakes by shredding it, squeezing excess moisture out, adding eggs, some bread crumbs, some cheese (I like Parmesan/Romano), some black or white pepper, and mix together. Don’t add extra salt; the cheese should be salty enough. Don’t mix this up a long time before you are going to cook the pancakes because the cheese will leach the moisture out of the squash and they won’t form as a pancake.
They are good by themselves, or as a side dish. Squash is good in a casserole, or just steamed or stir fried with onions and garlic.
Squash soup is delicious. Sauté onions, add squash, cover with chicken or vegetable broth, cook until squash is soft, puree, add some dairy, milk--half and half, or cream and some curry if you like that. Good hot or cold.
You can strain it if you want a smooth soup. You can try it with different herbs or spices to get the combination you like best.
Go to the Internet for other recipes.
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