From the Market Manager
This summer seems to have flown by. The kids are almost back in school, distressed trees are beginning to change color, mums are being advertised for sale, and among other things, native apples are beginning to be in the market. I bought early gold apples at an orchard in West Brookfield last week. As you know, we have peaches this year. We have plenty of peaches at our market. All are local, but not all are grown by the vendors who have them. We aren’t a producer only market, so they are allowed to bring things from other local farms.
15 years ago (I remember when because the boy I am going to mention is now 20) my grandson Evan was at my house. I gave him one of Outlook Farm’s peaches that I had bought 2 days earlier. I hadn’t put them in my fridge.
A few hours later, I picked up his brother, Alex, who was 8, and brought him to my house. I offered him a peach also. He didn’t want one, whereupon Evan said, “Alex, you really should have one, you can smell the inside from the outside.”
I tell this little vignette every year because, to me, it is the essence of why local peaches are the best.
A few years ago, I received a call from someone who worked at an agency in the North End of Springfield. He wanted help establishing another farmers’ market. I asked him why, and he said that he wanted his clients to eat healthier food. I told him that even if he had another market, there was no guarantee that they would shop there. I suggested that he teach them how to shop and cook.
Several years ago, when food stamps were paper, I was behind someone who was buying ice cream treats with them. I thought to myself that if she purchased a half gallon of ice cream (when they had half gallons) her children could have ice cream more often than with just the treats she was buying.
If you cook from scratch, your money goes farther. While some cooking from scratch is involved, not all of it is, so if you’re not used to cooking like that, start with easy recipes; your family and your budget will thank you.
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. It is only here in Massachusetts.
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.
So far, I am told, it is getting more users than they had anticipated at this time in the program. They will have met the dollar amount of purchases in September that they expected to get to in the second year.
You do NOT use your HIP benefits at our market table; you use them ONLY with the participating vendors.
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. You will NOT see the HIP benefit in your SNAP balance until AFTER you have used it; it doesn’t show up before you use it. I know it’s confusing, but you’ll get used to it. HIP will be accepted at our winter market also.
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. This is the last week. Highlandstreet.org for all of the details. This week the offerings are:
• Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park
• USS Constitution Museum/ Charlestown
• Plimouth Plantation/Plymouth
• MASS MoCA/North Adams
• Nantucket Whaling Museum
• The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River
• Museum of African American History/Boston
• Cape Cod Museum of Natural History/Brewster
• Heritage Museums & Gardens/Sandwich
The Highland Street Foundation was established in 1989 by David J. McGrath, Jr., the founder and owner of TAD Resources International, Inc. David died in May 1995, and TAD was sold to Adecco, the world’s largest temporary help company in 1997. In his lifetime, David and his wife JoAnn contributed to a number of varied and important charitable causes through their personal philanthropy. With the sale of TAD, the Highland Street Foundation received the
majority of its current endowment.
Today, JoAnn and her 5 children, who make up the Highland Street Foundation board, continue the traditions that she started with David. Since 1989, the McGrath Family and the Highland Street Foundation have contributed more than $170 million to hundreds of remarkable non-profit organizations.
This ‘n’ That
If you have a de-humidifier, use the water for plants, or put it into the washer before you do a load of laundry. It has no chemicals in it, so it’s perfect for either use.
When you purchase local melons, they are already ripe. Put them in your refrigerator, not on the counter or they will get mushy.
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.
Try new recipes. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t like what you make, and you have to throw it away. Just because you didn’t like something when you were a child, doesn’t mean that you won’t like it as an adult. Our tastes change as we mature. Pay it forward. Often the little things that we do will help to brighten someone’s day. Let someone go at a traffic light, bring a new neighbor something home-made, ask an elderly neighbor if they need some help.
Ask a neighbor who can’t drive anymore if they’d like to go to the store with you.
Instead of getting your quarter back if you shop at a store that has that system for their baskets, hand it over when you’ve put your groceries in your car.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Use tomatoes that aren’t perfect.
25# of tomatoes make about 4 quarts of roasted tomato puree.
Wash, core, and cut up tomatoes. Lay them on a rimmed cookie sheet in one layer; they can overlap some. Drizzle some olive oil over them and sprinkle with some kosher salt. Bake at 375 degrees until they’ve shriveled and look roasted. You don’t want them overdone. Cool then puree in your blender or food processor; put into containers. Let this cool a little more, then cover and put into the fridge. Freeze after they are cold.
1 # firm, ripe fresh plum tomatoes
1 medium onion
6 pitted green olives
2 medium cloves garlic
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 T. finely shredded fresh basil
2 tsps. drained capers
½ tsp. paprika
fresh or dried oregano to taste
1 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1# uncooked spaghetti
Chop tomatoes, coarsely. Chop onion and olives. Mince garlic. Combine tomatoes, onion, olives, garlic, parsley, basil, capers, paprika and oregano in medium bowl; toss well. Drizzle vinegar over tomato mixture, then pour oiltomato mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed Refrigerate covered at least 6 hours or overnight. Just before serving, cook spaghetti in large kettle until al dente. Drain. Toss hot pasta with cold marinated sauce.
Serve right away.
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