From the Market Manager
A friend and I were talking recently about farmers, and how much they have to know. Although farmers have always had to know more than just how to grow things, today seems much more complicated than in years past.
Owning a farm is owning a business. It’s important to know how to run one so that not only can a profit be made, but also so that taxes, wages, and more can be paid.
I don’t know about all of our farmers, but I do know that several of the farmers at our market have college degrees from schools of agriculture. And, they are always learning.
I know that I say this every year, but I hope that you are adventuresome when it comes to trying something new. When we are children, we have likes and dislikes that carry into adulthood. But, as adults our taste buds are different and we often like things that we didn’t as a child, but if you keep saying, well I didn’t like that when I was younger, you may never try it as an adult. Also, try new recipes. Having variety in your diet makes eating interesting.
We have a new supply of t-shirts in all sizes, even some children’s. They are only $10, just a dollar more than what they cost us. When you wear one, you are a walking advertisement for us.
It’s back. Those of you who receive SNAP benefits should have received a phone call telling you that. Our legislature allocated some money in the supplemental budget to reinstate it until July 1st, and money in the annual budget that begins July 1st.
Remember to keep some money in your EBT account because the farmer can’t take money out of it if there is nothing in it. Keep at least $10 available for when you want to use HIP. It goes back into your account once your transaction is completed. Remember that it goes from the first of the month to the last of the month; it doesn’t matter when you get your benefits. And, remember that if you don’t use all of your HIP benefits, they don’t carry over to the next month like your regular SNAP benefits do. Massachusetts is the only state that has this program. It was written as a grant.
Many (possibly all) of our nearby libraries have Friend programs. You donate an amount of money (a very reasonable amount) and you become a Friend. One of the benefits is that you qualify to get passes or discounted tickets to several nearby museums.
Outlook Farm Festival Series
Outlook Farm has 6 festivals during the growing season. This Sunday, June 10th, will be their strawberry one. They have a pig roast and barbecue, winery and brewery tasting, live music, and a community tag and craft sale.
The hours are from noon to 3 for the barbecue and 1-3 for the music. The tag sale goes on longer.
Directions: Go to the center of Easthampton and take a left; just past Fleury Lumber you will see a small sign on a post that says Westhampton with an arrow, take a right. Follow that road all the way to the end, that will be Rte. 66. Take a left. Follow that to the top of the hill and that’s where Outlook is located.
• Don’t litter—rubbish, including cigarette butts ends up in our streams and lakes. Pick up some litter every day also.
• When camping, hiking or visiting local parks,always take out what you took in. Also, buy your wood near where you will be camping; don’t bring it in from someplace else.
• Before making big purchases, check out the manufacturer. Watchdog books like Shopping for a Better World, and Internet sites have reports on good business practices.
• When purchasing gifts, consider the environment. Locally-produced items made with sustainable technology, memberships in environment groups, donations to local organizations in the individual’s name, and plants or trees all make good eco-gifts.
• Gifts from the farmers’ market are also excellent, or you can purchase wooden coins to give as a gift, or have us print up a gift certificate for you.
The Hidden Cost of Food
I recently read a column by a woman who said that at her most recent grocery shopping trip she bought mangoes from Peru, avocados from Mexico, daffodils from Ireland, cheese from Spain, coffee from Costa Rica, and lettuce, tangelos, and kiwi from California. All combined her food traveled over 17,000 miles to reach her table. While she acknowledges that it is an amazing feat of technology that we have access to foods from all over the world at any time of the year, it is based upon the integrity of global oil production, refining, and delivery.
We tend to think of global warming and energy consumption of families in terms of home use, autos and large appliances. But according to Swedish scientist Gunter Folke, “those energy uses are far smaller than the energy used by the food system needed to support the
family.” Our food production system consumes 17 % of all fossil fuels used in the U.S., including uses for inorganic fertilizer, powering field machinery, transportation of raw material, irrigation, raising livestock, crop drying and pesticide production.
According to the USDA, food and agricultural products grown in the States are transported 566 billion ton-miles within U.S. borders each year. Worldwide 20% of all greenhouse gases come from current agricultural practices. A bag of potatoes weighing 5 pounds traveling
2448 miles from Italy to London is responsible for the emission of 1.7 lbs. of carbon dioxide, while 1 pound of asparagus traveling 7,800 miles from Chile to New York requires 73 pounds of fuel energy and releases 4.7 pounds of carbon dioxide. Not only is our food supply dependent on a finite resource, but it is also contributing to global warming through the release of greenhouse gases from the energy required to produce and deliver it to our tables. And global warming in turn is disrupting the very climatic processes on which agriculture depends.
Brisket is a perfect cut of beef to cook either in the oven, or on top of the stove. It takes a long time to cook because it is tough. You can purchase the whole piece, or the straight cut (leaner) or the point cut. This is my recipe.
Cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper
Sear the brisket in some oil until browned. Cut up LOTS of onions and mushrooms, place on top of beef. Use a lot of garlic also.
Add a can or two of mushroom soup and a little water; spread on top of beef.
Cover and either cook on top of the stove, or in the oven.
This will take a few hours to cook, and, as with any pot roast, it will be tastier the next day. It will also allow you to take some fat out because it will have solidified. If you use grass-fed beef, it won’t be as fatty, and you know it
will be delicious.
Pork and Greens
2 strips bacon
¼ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ to 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 to 1 ½ pounds spinach, stemmed
salt and pepper to taste
1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over mediumhigh heat until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool, then crumble.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon grease in the skillet and sauté about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and horseradish and let reduce.
3. Add the spinach and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, stir-fry until the spinach is limp and glistening. Just before serving, add more salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in the crumbled bacon.
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