From the Market Manager
Here we are at the end of the season, our 21st. Although we thought we might extend our season by one week due to having to cancel several weeks ago, we are ending today.
Our winter market begins on November 10th, so you won’t have to go too long without a market.
Thank you for your loyal patronage. A farmers’ market is many things. It is a retail market where vendors cut out the “middle man.” By selling directly to customers, they earn more money. It’s a lot of hard work to get ready for a market, but it’s worth it.
And, for us, the customers, we benefit in so many ways. One of the ways that you can’t put a price on, is the relationships that are developed with many of the people who grow/raise/make our food. Most of the food that we consume from stores travels over a thousand miles to get to us. At this market, I think 50 miles is the farthest that any vendor travels to bring their wares to us.
We started this market in 1998 with 5 vendors; Outlook Farm is our only original vendor left. The quality of what they bring to us has never varied; it’s always excellent.
We have been fortunate to always have terrific cooperation. From Goodwill where our market was for 8 years originally, from The X Main Street Corporation who was our original sponsor, from Trinity United Methodist Church who allowed us to use their parking lot for 4 years, and to Concerned Citizens for Springfield who became our sponsor at that time. Last, but certainly not least, the Springfield Parks and Recreation Department for allowing us to have our current beautiful space here in Forest Park for the past 9 years.
I have attended many meetings in the last 21 years, and we are so fortunate to have had such terrific cooperation. Many markets have not been as fortunate. I know that many of you are regulars. You appreciate the hard work and the excellent quality that is here. So, once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thanks to TD Bank at the X for copying our newsletter each week, to Robyn Newhouse for a generous contribution, to The Forest Park Civic Association for their continued support, and to some individuals who threw some cash our way.
We are saying goodbye to Phuong Trach from Phuong’s Asian Vegetables. She is moving out of state. She has been a wonderful addition to our market; she will be missed.
HIP is being suspended for the winter after Nov. 21st.
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 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.
It doesn’t 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. It is there from the first to the last of the month.
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. All of the vendors who sell produce accept WIC and elder coupons.
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.
November 10th begins the 9th year of our winter market. As you might imagine, it’s smaller than the outside market, but still, there is lots to choose from. We have many of the same vendors, and some new ones also.
This year we will be in a new location. Come in the front entrance to the park (you won’t have to pay), take your first right (it is one way), go around to the brick building. That’s where we’ll be. There will be signs.
Each week, twice a month, the hours are 10-2. Because of Thanksgiving, we will have a market on November 10th and the 17th. You will be able to use your HIP benefits on those days; it is ending for the winter months on the 21st.
From December on, we will be on the SECOND AND FOURTH SATURDAYS ONLY. NOT EVERY OTHER WEEK.
Lunch items will be available, so plan on having lunch at the market.
You will be able to purchase wooden coins at the winter market also. I know that some folks get confused about buying them if they have HIP. When you buy wooden coins, you are buying money. HIP is only used at the vendors who participate in the program. I know HIP is
confusing, but we didn’t design it, so…
Lazy Stuffed Cabbage
Tastes exactly the same as stuffed cabbage with less work.
Use a big pot.
Sauce: 2 cans tomato soup
1 soup can water
Brown sugar and cider vinegar to make a sweet and sour sauce to taste.
Bring sauce to a simmer. Cut up lots of cabbage and cook in the sauce until it’s softened. Check the seasoning, you may have to adjust it.
Meatballs: To each pound of ground beef add 2 eggs, one medium onion, salt, pepper, about ¾ cup bread crumbs or matzah meal, some garlic or garlic powder, about 1/3rd cup of ketchup, some water to make the meatballs soft enough to form. If too soft add a few more breadcrumbs. Place meatballs on top of cabbage in the pot; give the pot a shake, cover and cook until done. You may have to adjust the sweet/sour flavor some as every time you add something (cabbage, meatballs) you change the flavor. Serve over rice.
Best if eaten the next day.
If you insist on making stuffed cabbage rather than lazy stuffed cabbage, put the cabbage in the freezer, freeze until hard, take out and defrost. This will take some time, so don’t plan on making it on the spur of the moment. Because there is so much water in cabbage, the cells freeze and when defrosted, the leaves wilt.
This is the easiest way to prepare cabbage for stuffing.
Vote! Vote! Vote!
November 6th is election day although early voting is allowed in Massachusetts, so check out where you can vote. Please vote. Each vote matters. It is a privilege, don’t take it for granted. It’s too late to register to vote here in Massachusetts, but you can vote up to and including November 6th.
A Personal Note
I do not go through my life thinking that all is right with the world all the time. I don’t emphasize the negative.
But I don’t understand such hatred such as occurred this past weekend when so many people were killed and wounded in a synagogue. Even if a hundred people had been killed, how does that change the world in any way other than to make so many people sad and angry and
I go to my synagogue regularly. I have thought of how easy it would be for someone to come in and do us harm.
Why? Because we are Jewish. I know that I am not alone in thinking about someone harming me. Our history is such that for over 2,000 years we have been targets; it didn’t start with the Nazis. At our high holiday services, we have armed police officers. When I was a child, we
didn’t have that, and I have to say that it’s off putting to me. I understand why, but still…
What value is there to our society (and the world in general) to have such hatred all around us? I don’t understand it. I know that the tendency is to say that the people who perpetrate such horrors are mentally ill.
Perhaps some of them are.
But, I suffered from depression for many years, and when I was truly in the depths, I didn’t think about killing anyone other than myself. How would that have helped me?
The Holocaust didn’t start with people being rounded up and put into concentration camps and then ovens. It started with good people going along with terrible ideas.
We must ALL do more to improve our society.
Volunteer, let someone go at a traffic light, or in the grocery store, help your neighbor, donate food to the less fortunate. Do something, anything. Make a friend who is a different race, religion, or ethnicity than yourself; expand your horizons. Let’s live in peace and harmony. Our world depends on it.