From the Market Manager
Our opening last week was glorious. The weather was perfect. We are often chilly on opening day even though it’s always May, but not last week. It was so nice to see so many regular customers again. There is something very special about any farmers’ market, but especially one like ours that isn’t too big or too small. We get to know each other. Vendors get to know what some customers like, and customers have favorites that they like to shop with every time they’re at the market.
One of the delightful things about shopping at a farmers’ market, is that every week is different. Last week, because April was so chilly, we didn’t have any asparagus; this week we probably do.
I don’t get asked the questions about having oranges or bananas at our market very often, but when I do, I always tell the person that those aren’t locally grown. We are all so used to having produce from all over the world available to us at all times, that we sometimes don’t stop to think about the rhythm of the seasons and the times of the year when the local produce becomes available.
There are some things I never buy unless they’re local. Peaches, blueberries, and corn are in that group. It’s just not worth it to me to bother with non-local because the locally grown stuff is so far superior.
When I moved from New Hampshire to California in 1976, there weren’t a lot of ethnic items in the grocery stores here. But, when I moved back 5 ½ years later, there were. Much of that had to do with the influx of immigrants from Southeastern Asia. We also used to have to go to Boston or New York to purchase most Asian groceries, but not anymore.
Also, some of the restaurants that we have now are due to that influx, and aren’t we fortunate. It makes going out to eat so much more interesting.
FYI, Sportstuff, the athletic wear store at the X, is going out of business at the end of May. They are retiring after 28 years. Thanks for being such good neighbors. Enjoy your retirement.
FYI, NEVER put a cigarette out in a plastic pot of soil especially if the soil is potting mix. The fertilizer is flammable. A few weeks ago someone in the area did that and the apartment complex went up in flames.
If you lose a credit, debit, or EBT card at the market, contact me through either Facebook or our website. I probably have it at home.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Collection
Bring your unwanted household hazardous wastes to the following collection days for safe disposal. Saturday, May 12th and June 2nd. 8:00 to Noon by appointment only. 787-7840. Springfield residents only. NO medications, needles, asbestos, or ammunition. Grochmal Avenue in Indian Orchard.
You know that just about anything can go into a pasta salad, so let what you have on hand be your guide. I make this pasta salad with orzo; it looks like rice, but it’s pasta.
Grape tomatoes—cut in half
Cooked shrimp, or chicken--optional
Vinegar, any type
Salt & pepper
Add everything to the orzo. Taste until it is to your liking. Bring to room temperature before serving
Master Gardeners and Springfield Garden Club
Both groups will be at our market on occasion this season. The Master Gardeners will do some soil testing on My 22nd. Bring soil from a few spots in your garden, mix it together, and bring that to the market for testing. The cost is $1.
SNAP Food Benefits Could Help cut Health Care Costs
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could help to cut health care costs for participants according to a new study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association.” Roughly 1 in 7 Americans is enrolled in the food benefits program. Researchers controlled for health disparities among those recipients and found that annual health care costs for SNAP recipients were roughly $1400 less than costs for low income people who don’t participate in the program. Dr.Seth Berkowitz, the author of the new research, says the paper provides evidence that tackling food insecurity might have a measurable impact on health outcomes. “I think it supports the idea that we can help people be healthier by addressing basic needs, and not solely focusing on medical issues,” he says.
Rhubarb is the first fruit at the market in the spring. Most of us use it with sugar in a recipe, but sometimes someone will tell me that they used to dip it in salt and eat it that way. It’s so sour, I can’t imagine eating it that way. Rhubarb is terrific in muffins or a quick bread. It’s also good in an upside-down cake. If you’ve never made one, try it; they’re easy. I like to use my black cast iron pan for an upside-down cake. It cooks evenly. These are cakes that are served slightly warm. Purchase some of Trinity Farm’s heavy cream and whip it; it would be superb together.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycle all empty plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard. Keep food and liquids out of the recycling. Empty recyclables directly into your cart—NO bagged recyclables. You can save your plastic bags and bring
them to a grocery store. Glass is not good to recycle because there isn’t a market for it now.
• Aerosol cans—recycle only EMPTY aerosol cans that contained non-hazardous materials such as health & beauty products. They must be completely empty (no hissing sound when tab is pressed.) Don’t puncture, pierce, flatten, or
remove nozzles prior to recycling.
• Place cans that had contained hazardous materials in the trash.
• Asbestos—There are strict removal and disposal requirements for asbestos. Please don’t remove it yourself; use a professional firm. Don’t try to save money by doing it yourself.
• Automotive products—Do not dump in the trash, on the ground, or down the drain. Even a small amount of motor oil will contaminate water and soil. We can’t be too careful protecting our environment.
• Batteries—Common single use household batteries manufactured after 1996 don’t contain mercury or other hazardous/recyclable materials and can be thrown away as trash.
• Bubblewrap is plastic and should be recycled with plastic bags.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You, the customer, gives a farmer a certain amount of money, and the farmer gives you a share of what they grow or raise. Red Fire Farm and Chicoine Family Farm each have a CSA. Red Fire’s is for produce and flowers, and Chicoine’s is for meat, and poultry. Since most of the payments are done during the winter, it gives farmers some operating money prior to the busy season. Often half shares are available if a full share is too much.
WIC and Elder Coupons
Usually these coupons are distributed in June. They can be utilized at any farmers’ market that accepts them. They must be used prior to the end of October as they don’t carry over to the next year. Anyone on WIC is eligible for them, and as far as the senior coupons are concerned, contact your senior center and ask to be placed on a list to get some when they are ready.
Cucumber Feta Salad Dressing
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
¼ cup drained feta at room temperature (Sweet Pea)
½ cup plain yogurt (Sweet Pea or Trinity)
1 small garlic clove, chopped and mashed to a paste with ¼ tsp. salt ground black pepper to taste
Chop enough of cucumber to measure 1 cup and in a blender puree with feta, yogurt, and garlic until smooth.
Transfer dressing to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Chill dressing until cold, about 30 minutes. Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Makes about 1 cup.
You know that any recipe like this can be added to if you want more cheese or garlic, or whatever.
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