From the Market Manager
Last Tuesday, a micro-burst hit Red Fire Farm in Montague; they suffered serious damage. I am sure that there is some insurance, but we all know that insurance doesn’t take care of everything. So, if you would like to send them something to help, you can send it to 184 Meadow St., Montague, MA 01351. Or, we will have a large jar on the market table that you can put some money into.
Farming is hard work; no surprise there. I’ve never wanted to work that hard. Fortunately, there are people that do. We are so fortunate that we still have so much agriculture here in Western Mass and Northern Connecticut. It is so important to support their work.
Once in a while someone complains about the cost of some of the things at our market. We in the U.S. pay less for our food than most people around the world do. Farms in New England are smaller than most farms in the country. The cost of land here is expensive. They are not factory farms; they don’t farm on a huge scale which lowers cost. Farmers are entitled to be paid for the work that they do.
When you purchase local products, they are generally fresher and will last longer. We also get varieties that may not show up in a grocery store. That could be because they are more delicate and wouldn’t stand up to the average 1500-mile trip to get to us.
If you don’t think you can spend the extra however how much, think of these things when you come to a farmers’ market or shop at a roadside stand. You are not only helping a farmer, you are helping our local economy. We all spend money on items we don’t need; spending on quality food is money well spent.
About 12 people still owe us money from the time that we gave out tokens to use at the market when the terminal wasn’t working. Please come to the market table so that we can swipe your card and settle up.
Highland Foundation Free Fridays—August 9th
Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park—Boston
Davis Museum at Wellesley College—Wellesley
Hancock Shaker Village—Pittsfield
JFK Hyannis Museum
Museum of the National Center of Afro-American
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Old Colony History Museum—Taunton
The Greenway Carousel—Boston
Worcester Historical Museum—Worcester
Recipe—Warm Weather Potato Casserole with Tomatoes and Summer Herbs
2 T. olive oil
4 T. (½ stick butter)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped into
¼” pieces (2 pounds)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 ½ # white or red potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8” thick
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9” pan.
2. Heat the oil and 2 T. of the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions are transparent, about 8 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and remove from the heat without further cooking.
4. Spread 1/3rd of the onion-tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Arrange half the potato slices over that, followed by half the Swiss cheese and Parmesan. Repeat, finishing with the last third of the onion-tomato mixture.
Dot the top with the remaining 2T. of butter
5. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the potatoes are very tender. Serve right away, or cool first.
NOTE: use waxy type potatoes, either red or white because they hold their shape better than russets.
Don’t be tempted to rush the baking time. As with all scalloped potato dishes, it takes that long for the potatoes to soften and combine with the other seasonings.
You can use dried herbs instead of fresh.
What’s at the Market?
Summer squash, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, collards, potatoes, blueberries, peaches, yellow and green beans, onions, herbs, carrots, peppers, Japanese turnips, ground cherries, watermelon, beets, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries, dairy,
meat, baked goods, kombucha, honey, more.
This ‘n’ That
• If you make corn chowder, include a can of creamed corn; you won’t have to use any other thickener.
• If you use sweet (unsalted) butter when baking, you control the amount of salt in the recipe.
• If everyone picked up at least 3 pieces of litter every day, imagine how much cleaner our city would be.
• Our market is not a producer only market. Our vendors can and some do bring products from other farms. Please take a look at the signs at each stand to determine where what you are buying is from. It’s all good, but it may not all be from the vendor that you’re purchasing from
In 22 years, Rachel’s Table’s nearly 300 volunteers have delivered well over 8 million pounds of food to over 40 agencies, and contributed to serving over 13,000 meals per week. They also have specialty meal programs like shelf-stable milk, protein, holiday projects, and the Essentials program for kosher families. They also have a gleaning project at this time of year that engages youth from all over the Pioneer Valley where they go to farms and glean produce from the fields. Last week they got 320 pounds of summer squash. All food pickups are delivered to agencies the same day.
RT started in Hampden County, and has expanded into Hampshire and Franklin Counties. It is a cooperative program of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass and WWLP-TV.
Farmers’ Market Week
This week, August 4th through 9th is National Farmers’ Market Week. When we started our market in 1998, there were 98 markets in Massachusetts; now there are over 300. That growth is all over the country to the point that many people say there are too many markets. If a vendor can’t make enough of a living at a market because there are too many others nearby…
Just because someone wants a market nearby, doesn’t mean they should have one.
Please talk up our market. Bring a friend with you. Come on a rainy or hot day. Produce grows, cows and goats get milked, bread and cookies get baked; life goes on even when it rains or is hot.
Beneficial Insects in Agriculture (National Pesticide Information Center)
When you think about bugs on your crops, you probably think of the pesky little buggers feasting on your fields and orchards. 95% of insects don’t cause trouble. You might be surprised to find out how much they can actually help you out. Here are some steps that you might consider taking to help them help you.
• Include a variety of native plants (including flowering varieties) in and around crops to attract different types of natural enemies.
• Break up your plantings. Consider inter-planting a variety of crops to attract and shelter a variety of natural enemies.
• After harvesting consider planting the areas with cover crops to provide habitat for some types of beneficial insects.
• Practice integrated pest management (IPM) Identify the pest, decided how much damage can be tolerated, and select control methods that will be the most effective while minimizing risks.
• If you choose to use a pesticide, consider selecting one that will target your pest specifically, rather than using a broad-spectrum product. Biological pesticides, for example, often target a specific insect or group of insects.
• Avoid treating plants that are in bloom. Pollinators and other beneficial insects may be visiting flowers. Don’t forget—this also includes flowering “weeds.”
• If possible, avoid applying pesticides to plants when natural enemies are present and active in the area.
• Make sure that your plants will get the right amount of nutrients, water, air circulation, and sunlight. Healthy plants are often less susceptible to damage from insects and disease.