From the Market Manager
Today begins the second half of our market season. Our last day is October 31st.
The Boston Globe had an article in their Sunday edition about there being too many farmers’ markets in Massachusetts. I am on a list serve from the Farmers’ Market Coalition, and this is something I’ve been hearing from all over the country for several years already. If you think about it, you know that the work to attend a market isn’t over when it closes; the work goes on for hours more. And, it’s lots of work to get ready for a market. Face it folks, farming is hard work, and we need to truly appreciate all the work that goes into it.
We are fortunate in western Mass that we still have many farms nearby. We can enjoy fabulous fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and fall.
As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, sometimes someone will complain about the cost of some things at farmers’ markets. I would encourage you to concentrate on produce, dairy, meat, or poultry, rather than baked goods, or drinks, etc. if you are talking about price because you know that the latter can vary quite a lot from place to place. Of course, organic or chemical-free produce will be pricier, because those farmers do more hand work without the commercial chemicals. Also, small production farming is more expensive than large production farming, just as what you might buy at Home Depot might be cheaper than if you purchased the same thing at your local, smaller hardware store.
We know that time is money for many people, so if a farm is small, they might not have anyone to go to a market. Some farmers are having to go to more markets to make the same amount of money. So, if you think you need another farmers’ market, you probably don’t.
Not every market is going to be convenient for every person. That’s why they are every day of the week, mornings and afternoons, all over the place. Remember, EVERYONE must inconvenience themselves somewhat to go to a farmers’ market since they are generally not
across the street from where we live.
This ‘n’ That
WIC and elder coupons are only for produce. You do not change them for wooden coins at the market table.
If you want to buy dairy, or meat, or bread, etc., you either buy the coins with your debit/credit EBT card, or you use cash.
HIP is only for produce also. Several things to pay attention to with HIP: You MUST have a balance in your EBT account, or you can’t use HIP. You must use it each month, or you lose it for that month; it doesn’t carry over to the next month. We have 3 participating vendors—
1. Rainbow Harvest Farm
2. Red Fire Farm
3. Riverbend Farm
If you have cookbooks you no longer want, bring them to the market and put them in the blue bin at the market table.
If you aren’t registered to vote, pick up a form at the market table; we will send it in for you. Voting is a privilege; everyone should vote.
Grace Hill Farm (hard cheese) won’t be coming to the market anymore. Mt. Warner Winery is on vacation for 2 weeks
Please ask a neighbor who doesn’t drive if they’d like to come to the market. I bet they’d like to.
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. This week the offerings are:
• Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Boston
• Old State House, Boston
• The Greenway Carousel, Boston
• Fort Devens Museum, Devens
• Children’s Museum at Holyoke
• International Volleyball Hall of Fame, Holyoke
• The Old Manse, The Trustees, Concord
• JFK Hyannis Museum, Hyannis
There are numerous ways to make gazpacho. It is a liquid salad that is eaten cold. If you have access to the Internet, look it up and try different recipes. You can
even make a fruit gazpacho. Here’s my recipe. If you’d like another one of my recipes, go to our website (address above) and look at confetti gazpacho. I don’t give you amounts because it almost doesn’t matter.
When I make it for the market, I make gallons of it. When I make it for myself, I make a small bowl of it. I use my food processor.
• Sweet peppers
• Red wine vinegar
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper
Puree some tomatoes in the processor with some fresh garlic. Cut up and coarsely chop the cucumbers, peppers, onions, and some more tomatoes. You want the garlic and onions to be background, not prominent in flavor.
Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste. If you want it spicy, add some red pepper flakes, or siracha.
Remember the heat will get stronger as it sits, so don’t add too much. Refrigerate. You will have to take it out of the fridge for a little while so the olive oil can re-liquefy.
Put a couple of ice cubes in each bowl before you serve it, so that it is really cold. This is only good for a day or two, then make more.
Organic, Conventional, Integrated Pest Management—What’s the Difference?
Organic: of, relating to, or derived from living organisms. Of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides. Merriam-Webster.
Conventional farming can use chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides. Many of our local conventional growers use as little of these as possible.
Integrated pest management (IPM) is also known as integrated pest control. It is a broad-based approach that integrates practices for economic control of pests. IPM aims to suppress pest populations below the economic injury level.
If you’ve never made soup from scratch, do so. It is so easy, and inexpensive. This is a great time of year to make vegetable soup, because you can use almost anything. I wouldn’t use eggplant, but just about anything else works. I like a chicken broth base, but a vegetable or beef broth base works well also. After the vegetables have cooked for a while, you can put some macaroni or barley into it. Not too much because you want broth.
If you want a creamy soup do this—sauté onions until they’re soft, add squash, or cauliflower for example, cover with broth, cook until soft. Puree. You can add some dairy, half and half, heavy or light cream, or whole milk. You could add skim milk also, but you won’t get the creamy texture. Add herbs or spices that you like. I’m fond of curry, and that goes well with both squash and cauliflower. I don’t like using broccoli because it’s stringy and you’re going to puree this soup. Broccoli is fine cut up in a vegetable soup. There will be some little pieces in this, so if you want it smoother, put it through a strainer.
You can make carrot ginger soup this way also. All of these soups are good warm or cold. Try making a fruit soup also. I had cantaloupe soup once that was delicious.
For a 9 x 13” baking dish
2 sleeves Ritz or Ritz type crackers
1 stick butter
Several onions (can’t have too many)
Butter or vegetable oil for sautéing onions
2 cups half and half or whole milk, NO skim
3 cups shredded cheddar or another flavorful cheese
Old Bay seasoning
Crush crackers with stick of butter, press into the bottom of the baking pan, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Sauté onions until they are soft and have some color on them. After crust is baked, put onions in the pan. Cover with cheese, then mix up eggs and cream or milk with Old Bay, or another spice mixture. Pour over cheese layer.
Bake about 45 minutes. Excellent in small pieces as an appetizer, or larger pieces as a luncheon or dinner dish.
Follow us on Facebook! If you take pictures , please tag them with #FMAFP so we can find them!