From the Market Manager
Last week someone was at our market table and was complaining about prices at our market. She receives SNAP benefits, and therefore is eligible for HIP benefits, but she told me that prices for produce were cheaper at Price Rite and Aldi’s. I’m sure that’s true, but she doesn’t
get anything free at those markets.
Some things to understand about pricing at any farmers’ market: Farmers at farmers’ markets are small production farmers. Even if they farm 40 acres or more, that is a small farm by national standards. Therefore, they don’t have economy of scale. Small production farming is ALWAYS more expensive than large production farming. A lot of the farming is done by hand; there are no gigantic machines picking the produce.
Even if the produce at the above stores is fresh, farmers’ market produce is fresher. The food on our plates travels an average of 1500 miles to get to us. The farthest anyone at our market travels is less than 50 miles. And, don’t confuse price and value. What you purchase at farmers’ market will last longer.
Then, remember that Americans pay less for food than most countries in the world. We spend an average of 6% of our income on food; there are only 8 countries in the world that spend 10% or less, and we’re one of them.If you are one of the people who complains about the cost of groceries, take a good look at what you buy. A large percentage of our grocery bill is spent on meals that need little or no prep. Do you buy potato chips? Yes, they’re delicious, but a pound of potatoes might be $1, (and potatoes are often on sale) whereas a 12-ounce package of chips is usually $3. You can make potato chips. Sure, it takes some effort, but it can be done for way less. And how often will you have them?
Don’t forget to include the paper goods, cleaning supplies, or pet food that you buy at the store that’s included in your grocery bill.
I do all of my baking from scratch. I notice that muffins in the store are about $1 each. Muffins are very easy to make, and you can get many more muffins for the same price. It doesn’t take much time to mix up a batch either.
Become a good shopper. Cook from scratch instead of using so many convenience foods. You’ll save money and you’ll have more variety in your diet.
Since you are already shopping at our farmers’ market, you appreciate the quality and the flavor of buying local food. Another thing to consider is that the money you spend here goes into our local economy.
FYI, I include the same information about HIP in every newsletter because, hard as it is to believe, there are still some people on SNAP who aren’t paying attention to it, and who profess to know nothing about it. It has been available since the spring of 2017, and the Department of Transitional Assistance has done its best to notify everyone who has an EBT card about it. Use it, it’s there for you; don’t throw away hundreds of dollars every year.
HIP is funded for this fiscal year, so use it if you have SNAP benefits. Make sure you have some money in your EBT account so that the vendor can swipe your card to take money to pay for your HIP produce. Keep about $10 in your account. Remember, the money you spend goes
right back into your account, so it’s not as if it’s gone. You get $40 if you have 1-2 people in your family; $60 if you have 3-5, and $80 if you have more than 5 people in your family. You can spend it over the course of the month, or all at once; it’s up to you.
If you check your EBT balance, the HIP money doesn’t show up. Just know that it is there from the first of the month, no matter when you get your benefits, and no matter how much you get from SNAP. Even if you only get $15 a month, you still get $40 in HIP.
We have 5 vendors who accept HIP. New England Wild Edibles, Rainbow Harvest Farm, Red Fire Farm, Riverbend Farm, and Urban Artisan Farm. They all have signs saying that they take HIP. Outlook Farm and Phuong’s Asian Vegetables don’t take HIP. Maple Corner Farm doesn’t take HIP, but they do accept WIC for their blueberries. All of the vendors who sell produce accept WIC and elder coupons.
You should walk around and see who has what and what the prices are before you shop. Each vendor sets their own prices. WIC coupons are NOT HIP coupons. Not everyone who is eligible for WIC qualifies for SNAP benefits.
WIC Farmers’ Market Coupons and Elder coupons can be used whenever you like through the end of October. Both HIP and the WIC and elder coupons are ONLY for produce.
This ‘n’ That
• If you feed ducks, don’t give them bread; It isn’t good for them.
• If you use dryer sheets, you don’t need to use a full one; a half does a good job.
• Use your dehumidifier water in the washer, or use it to water plants. No chemicals in that water.
• Outlook Farm has an apple festival coming up on September 16th. They are located in Westhampton on Rte. 66. It starts at noon. They have a pig roast, and a barbecue where you can buy different items.
Kitchen Garden Chilifest—Sept.15th & 16th
Chilifest will be held at Warner Farm/Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, 23 Main St. There is chili sampling on Saturday, chef demos starting at 1 o’clock and music all afternoon. Opens at noon. There is a fee to attend.
Recipe—Leek and Goat Cheese Tart
There are lots of ingredients that you can purchase at the market.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
10 T. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-5 T ice water
Stir together the flour and salt. Add the butter and using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or a food processor, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is light and has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Slowly begin adding the ice water, stirring and tossing until the dough just holds together. Using your hands, gently form the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
On a floured board, roll out the pastry into a 14” round. Fold it into quarters and transfer to a 9 or 9 ½” tart pan with 2” sides, preferably with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan without stretching it, and trim off any excess. Press the dough against the sides exerting enough pressure to extend it slightly above and just over the rim, so that a tiny lip of pastry rests on the rim. This prevents the sides from shrinking down as the shell bakes. Partially blind bake the shell at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then remove parchment paper and whatever you’ve used (rice, weights) and prick the bottom with a fork and bake for another 5 minutes.
2 T. unsalted butter
1# leeks, including tender green parts well cleaned, and sliced crosswise.
Salt and ground pepper
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded Gruyere, Emmenthaler, or Jarlsberg cheese
3 T. chopped fresh chives
¼ # fresh goat cheese, crumbled
In a large heavy frying pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it foams, add the leeks, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly until the leeks are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips.
In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolk, and cream until blended. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry crust. Top with leeks then chives, and finally the goat cheese. Pour in as much of the egg mixture as will fit, stopping within ½ “. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.