From the Market Manager
Don’t you just love this time of year with all of the marvelous produce that we have available to us? The hard part is wondering what to do with all of it.
When one of my sons lived in Los Angeles, I used to go to the farmers’ markets there. I would buy way too much, but it was all so delicious. I remember having strawberries in February, and they were so sweet. They were from the Valley near LA, so they were very fresh unlike what we get in February here in New England.
There are some things I only buy when they are local, and I think they are worth waiting for—corn, peaches, and blueberries are 3 that come to mind. I freeze peaches and blueberries to enjoy during the cold months.
One of my neighbors gave me lots of plums from his tree recently. I have made jam, and a few plum cakes. I am eating them as fast as I can, and I am going to freeze some so that I can make plum crisps in the winter. I am fortunate that I have plenty of freezer space.
Even though my children are out of the “nest” I still like to make jam, and bake, and I entertain frequently, so I get to use up the things that I freeze.
WIC/Elder Coupons and HIP
HIP stands for Healthy Incentive Program. It is new this year. It is a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department of Transitional Assistance is the agency that got the grant and who supervises it.
Our market has nothing to do with it other than being a farmers’ market that has vendors who take HIP. It is up to the individual vendor as to whether or not they take HIP. Some do, some don’t.
We know that it is frustrating for many of you to understand HIP; it is for those of us at the market table also. Because it is new, it has had many glitches. Hopefully as time goes on, it will become very smooth. The purpose is to help folks who have SNAP benefits to eat healthier food.
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 use cash.
The coupons expire at the end of October; you can’t use them after October.
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. It goes from the first of the month to the last of the month; it doesn’t matter what date you get your SNAP benefits which is why it’s important to have a balance on your card. Even $10 because they can swipe your card more than once after the amount has gone back on your card. I know it’s confusing, but you’ll get used to it.
We have 3 participating vendors—
1. Rainbow Harvest Farm
2. Red Fire Farm
3. Riverbend Farm
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:
• Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
• Sturbridge Village
• Freedom Trail Foundation/Boston
• Cape Cod Children’s Museum/Mashpee
• Concord Museum
• Buttonwood Park Zoo/New Bedford
• Berkshire Museum/Pittsfield
• Emily Dickinson Museum/Amherst
Several people and organizations help us support our market. This year we thank The Forest Park Civic Association, The Davis Foundation, and Robyn Newhouse.
Sometimes we receive contributions from individuals also. Any contribution is welcome.
I think everyone knows that salsa means sauce. Sometimes it’s an ingredient, and sometimes it is meant to be used with chips, or as an accompaniment with prepared food. If you don’t want to make your own, (it’s easy) check out Maple Corner Farm’s offerings. Some salsas are meant to be used up fairly quickly such as those made with fruit. Salsa has either vinegar, lime, or lemon juice in it, and chopped up fruit and/or vegetables sometimes both.
Fresh Peach Salsa
1# ripe peaches or nectarines, skinned if desired, pitted, and cut into small pieces 1 medium red bell pepper (you can use other colors as well)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 T. fresh lime juice, or more to taste
2 tsp. honey, or more to taste
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. minced seeded hot pepper, or more to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Mix the ingredients up to the parsley and let sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Adjust the seasonings if necessary. Add parsley or cilantro just before serving.
Mix up your own blend of ingredients. Tomato, onion, garlic, basil, lemon juice, peaches. Be creative.
Caring Health Center—My Care Day
Taking care of yourself can be easy! Discover new ways to live healthier with a day of fun activities on August 17th, 1049 Main Street in Springfield. For the complete schedule, visit caringhealth.org/NHCW17.
Controlling Tomato Hornworms
Tomato hornworm caterpillars can be up to 6” long and cigar shaped. They are very well camouflaged since they are the same color as tomato plant stems.
Often you don’t see the hornworms until you see their damage and the dark green droppings on the leaves. A sure way to find the hornworm is to look straight up from the droppings on the ground, or at night take a black light into the garden. The worms will glow!
Hand picking them off is the best way to control them on a few plants. Drop them into a bowl of soapy water. For larger infestations spray Bt on the plants. This bacteria will kill the caterpillars, but not harm other animals, beneficial insects, bees and wildlife. However, don’t accidently spray Bt on other plants because it will kill other caterpillar larvae such as swallowtail butterflies.
If you see white protrusions on the hornworm’s back, leave it. Those are the cocoons of the braconid wasp that is parasitizing the hornworm and will help control it in your garden.
Read Aloud Program
If you would like to volunteer to read a book to elementary school children in a Springfield school, please contact Jennifer Valentin at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is for 5 months only, October to February. The books are
provided. It’s very rewarding.
Recipe—Plum, Blueberry, Peach, Cake
½ cup unsalted butter
3/4ths to 1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
purple plums, or blueberries, or raspberries, or peaches
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream the sugar and butter together; beat well.
Add the flour, baking powder, eggs, and beat well.
3. Spoon into a greased spring form pan. You can
use another type of pan, but the spring form
makes it prettier when it’s on a plate.
4. Put halved plums skin side up on top, or use
other fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
5. Bake about 1 hour. Remove and cool.
This ‘n’ That
If you look up Fathom Events on the Internet, you will find theater, ballet, and other entertainment that is presented in movie theaters. It’s a great way to see the Bolshoi Ballet, the National Theatre, and some Broadway plays. It’s very reasonable, about $18 a ticket.
Please put numbers on your house that can be read from the street.
If you pay to enter the park, come to the market table, and we will reimburse you. Just make sure you tell the person at the toll booth that you are going to the market, so you will only be charged one dollar
Follow us on Facebook!