Marshfield Farmers' Market

  (Marshfield, Massachusetts)
At the Market!
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The Dirt on Potatoes

Potatoes are low in fat, full of complex carbohydrates, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and also contain a surprising amount of protein.  First cultivated for food almost 10,000 years ago potato varieties abound with over 5000 worldwide.   Names like Prairie Gold, Blue Tomcat, Albatross, and Swedish Peanut evoke images of the various shapes, sizes and flavors available.  Varieties are suited to specific growing conditions, which includes altitude, temperature, rainfall, humidity and local pests and diseases.  However, in the US the onslaught of fast food and big agriculture the demand grew disproportionately for just a singular type of potato – something that fried well, had consistent size and shape for the cutting machines and produced high yields for the large monoculture farms.  The missing ingredients – taste, nutrition, and diversity!  There are only about 100 varieties in the US today,   and only a handfull are found in grocery stores.  While 100 may seem like a lot, it is a fraction of the 3800 varieties grown in Peru where spuds of almost every size, shape, color and texture you can imagine with equally generous taste differentials are found.  

Freshness counts as well as variety when it comes to taste.  At farmers’ markets and farm stands you will find a smattering of blue, red, gold, white, pink, and various shaped potatoes.  Some are better for boiling, others for stews, salads, baking or frying depending on their starch, moisture content, sugar content and texture.  Best to ask the farmer when picking your taters based on intended use.

Grocery store potatoes are usually scrubbed clean and unless organic they are also sprayed with a chemical to prevent them from sprouting.  Your local farmer will sometimes scrub potatoes clean for you.  It is a lot of hand-work and the farmer is assuming you will use them rapidly because the other drawback is reduced storage time.  Additionally that dirt has beneficial micro-organisms working with the potato skin for your health.  Basically the dirt on potatoes helps them remain fresher longer, maintaining better taste, nutrition, and other health factors. 

For best results store your potatoes in a cool, dark, very humid (80-95%) in paper or burlap bags with the bits of dirt on them, simulating the earth where they grew.   Temperatures of 45-60 degrees is best, and don’t let them freeze.   Never eat green portions of potatoes caused by sun exposure.  If your spuds sprout then either cut them out or save the tubers as seed potatoes to plant in your garden for a harvest of your own next year.  Never eat the sprouts as they are toxic, and for best results wash tubers only when you are ready to use them.  Use scrubbed potatoes within 1-2 weeks to prevent rotting. 

This week you are likely to find Cranberry Red, All Blue, Red Bliss, German Butterball, Kennebec, Red Gold, and Fingerling potatoes at the Marshfield Farmers’ Market.  Some will have their dirt intact, others will be scrubbed for your convenience.
 
 

Food For Thought

The Duxbury Food and Wine Festival is one week away, and the family friendly highlight of the festival is the Food For Thought Farmers’ Market and Fair. On Saturday September 27th from noon to 4pm, Food for Thought will get families thinking about where our food comes from, and exploring the benefits of eating fresh and organic. Admission is free of charge and no alcohol will be served.

Local farmers, foodies and chefs will come together to talk about growing fresh food, how to prepare it, and creative ways to serve it. Guests will be able to sample the food, and purchase their favorites. Presentations will take place inside and outside the DSU for the duration of the event. Here is what to expect.

Upon arriving at Food For Thought, guests will find an array of booths and tents set up outside of the DSU, populated with a variety of local vendors. Browse the Cretinon’s Farm stand for seasonal vegetables. Bee keeper Jenny DeFreitas will be at her booth sharing knowledge about the role of bees in food production, and sharing local honey. Also outside will be Foxboro Cheese Co., who will be talking to people about the benefits of raw milk, often used by allergy sufferers. Children will be able to interact with Alpine dairy goats, which produce a milk excellent for arthritis sufferers and digestive disorders.

Donde Thiago, a staple food vendor at local farmers markets, will be selling their famous stuffed arepas. Arepas are corn-based flatbreads typical of Colombia, filled with vegetables, fruits, meats, and cheeses. There will be two food trucks as well. There will be two food trucks as well. Old Harbor Catering will be selling lobster rolls, chowder, and roast beef sliders, while Sadie Mae’s Cupcake truck will serve cupcakes, including vegan and gluten free varieties.

Inside the DSU, guests will be treated to sights, sounds, tastes and smells of local favorites. There will be a chef demonstration, a presentation by Simpson Springs about water, and a talk about oyster farming by Paul Hagan of King Caesar Oysters. The DSU will host its own version of Fear Factor, where they encourage kids to experiment with such fearsome foods as kale. Julia Swartz will be giving her famous “Food and Mood” talk, which demonstrates the connection between what you eat and your emotional and physical well-being.

This family friendly event is free of charge. For more information, or to purchase tickets to the other Duxbury Food and Wine Festival Events, visit www.duxburyfoodandwinefestival.com

By Cynthia Rosenfeld, originally appeared in Duxbury Clipper 

 
 

The Magic Draw of the Barbeque

As one reflects back on summer after summer of great family outings, beach evenings, and neighborhood gatherings one item tends to infiltrate the internal film festival of memories.  It is such a strong aspect of our culture you can even smell it in your imagination. The quintessential hub of the American summer party, large or small, revolves around the grill.  There are even competitions for grill master, bar-b-q king, or best rib man.  Surprisingly, although many can light up the grill, prepare the charcoal, or get a weber “smoking” hot very few know the secrets to great tasting, slide off the bone, tender, moist and delicious barbequed meats.  From selection and preparation to the temperature and cooking time to keys of when to season and when not to add sauce this Friday’s market will help make you the neighborhood legend on manning the grill.  It is the way to be well remembered at your party, for the unforgettable ribs and the best wings of the summer.  There will be two free demonstrations being offered by two caterers who specialize in the world of the bar-b-q. 

First at 3:00 pm, Wardell Loatman, the South Shore Bar-B-Q Man (AKA PPD2 BBQ) who has competed and judged several competitions and been a part of the summer markets for several years shares his knowledge.  Loatman, will start at the beginning, teaching you how to select great cuts for the grill, discuss the early preparation tips that make the difference between an average and an excellent outcome regarding methods for rubs, sauces, and cooking.  Loatman works to bring you prepared foods using local meats and his sauces and sides are developed with fresh local vegetables, herbs, and fruits whenever possible.

At 4:00 pm, “Introduction to Smoke” is the topic of the second free demonstration as new prepared food vendor, Old Harbor Catering of Hingham, teaches his popular class on smoking meats.  During market days Old Harbor is offering lobster rolls and clam plates but both vendors offer barbeque catering services on non-market days.

Both talks should enlighten even the regular grill chefs in the family to improve upon their skills and surprise your palate at the next event.  Additionally Marshfield resident, Peter Burrows, will have his own cuts of heritage pork raised humanely with love and great care on pastures available at the Brown Boar Farm booth inside.  Brown Boar Farm comes just once a month, so this is a fantastic opportunity to stock up for the summer grilling of sausages, ribs, or roasts.  Foxboro Cheese offers cuts of beef from their home pasture-raised cows in Foxboro, nice and lean.  Of course other grill favorites are eggplant, zucchini, onions, potatoes, corn on the cob, and peppers, all of which our farmers have for sale.  Finish the meal with a bowl of mixed berries, cupcakes, or a tart.
 
 

Blue Pearls

Sometimes the tiniest things bring happiness.  This week my little pearls of happiness were a few blueberries from our garden.  Seemingly trivial over which to get excited, but several years without a single berry made this morning’s handful of plump berries a trophy to tout.

It started 5 years ago with 10 select bushes of 3 year old organic plants.  Location selected, prepared, and soil amendments properly incorporated, all directions were carefully followed for transplant.  The first year the flowers are plucked, allowing the plant to develop a strong root system, so no berries.  Year two, spring came and the worms from nearby infested tress decimated the leaves yet some berries did appear.  However, they fell off before coming ripe due to weather conditions.  So I focused on growth of the plants, again.  Unfortunately the hired help for fall clean-up decided the bushes looked like weeds and pulled each one out with much tugging.  Devastated, I rapidly replanted back in the same holes somehow hoping that would magically assist in recovery of what had been, just minutes earlier, strong and vigorous plants.  Then a friend moved, she dug up her blueberries and gave them to me. Surely, I thought, with three times as many bushes we have much better chances to yield a great bounty despite the replanting!  Next spring there were hoards of green berries, and bird netting went onto the bushes just as I had seen done by my neighbors, but the birds simply went under it for the feast, not one berry was had by a human. 

The next year’s attempt included a wood-frame cage with bird netting tied to the fencing and posts, the bottom draped to the ground with extra to spare.  Those pesky devils found their way through the ¾” netting, leaving only when lifting the net to free them.  Persistent, I nearly declared war on the birds I adore and feed year-round, but I wanted a ripe blueberry!  Instead I got really serious with the netting.  A heavy gauge  ½” netting that I tediously hand sewed together and meticulously formed over a strong metal framework tall enough to walk inside with the bottom held down by 4x4’s, there’s not a gap anywhere.  It is a fortress with a plastic owl sentry warning birds of my intended wrath. 

Finally, this morning’s yogurt was adorned with a handful of nickel sized, deep blue, sweet blueberries, absolutely delightful.  Those blue pearls have made my summer wonderful!

Blueberries, anti-oxidant rich pearls great for snacking, salads, desserts and breakfast, are now in season.  You can get plenty without fighting the birds, netting, or Mother Nature as locally grown blueberries are at the farmers market for the next 5-6 weeks perfectly ripe and ready to eat. 

Other, slightly larger, pearls this week include quail eggs.  The adorable brown spotted eggs could easily be confused with candy coated malted milk balls.   Katie O’Donnell, a 4H member then leader for many years, has been raising quail and will share her wisdom gained with a display of birds, her special coops and cages, prized quail eggs and recipes from 2-5 pm this Friday.  After viewing the quial kids can make their own hatching chick craft at the kids’ table.

The Marshfield Farmers’ Market is open 2-6 pm every Friday at the Marshfield Fairgrounds, 140 Main St. with free Parking/admission/talks/kids’ activities weekly.  www.MarshfieldFair.org/fm.htm
 
 

Sowing the seeds of our Future Farmers

Sowing the Seeds of our Future Farmers

Eat local, buy local is the proverbial phrase these days, and one well worth supporting.  However I believe that being a locavore reaches farther into the hidden gems of our lives.   The teachers of our next generation of farmers, many of whom are volunteers, are those gemstones.  These special people provide encouragement, excitement, and priceless grains of wisdom to youngsters as they discover the joys of growing plants and raising animals.  The volunteers are literally sowing the seeds of our farmers to be. 

This week the Market eagerly welcomes the 4H Farmtastic Club.  This group of dedicated caretakers and potential farmers will bring several farm animals to the market.  I encourage all, young and old to not only visit the animals but also to ask the kids a question.  It shows them that people care and want to know more.  Questions make them think, learn, and prepare to be teachers themselves.  Most of these 4H members will be showing the animals at the Marshfield Fair in August where they will be judged on the condition of the animals, as well as their knowledge of how to properly care for and work around the animals.

I personally want to give thanks to the 4H leaders.  Their efforts are amazing and perpetuate the future of local farming, local sustainable meat, and the engagement of youth in agriculture in addition to giving a boost to the kids’ self-confidence and leadership skills.  So many volunteers had a hand in my most impressionable childhood years where animals were easier to talk with than humans and the opportunities meant the world to me.   So pay it forward, thank a 4H leader or volunteer on Friday for the next decade’s food supply!

 
 

Make bread not dough, at the market

Groom a pony and bake some bread, At the Market!

Other than the smell of brewing coffee nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked bread.  Shelley Vaugine of Comfrey-Thyme gardens has some of the most sought after breads at the farmers’ market. At 3:30 pm on Friday, Vaugine strives to make life easier for you in the kitchen with a less intimidating approach to baking bread.   She will provide a demonstration this week on using pre-made dough to bake bread two ways, in the oven and the crock pot!  With her step-by-step approach you will have the confidence to bake bread at home like a professional.  There will be opportunities to sample the outcome as well as purchase dough.  This talk is suitable for older children as well as adults, Shelley strives to teach children about cooking and will take the extra time if needed to work with a youngster who wants to learn about cooking.

For the kids there will be a special opportunity with the ponies.  Cheryl of Pony-Go-Round will teach kids how to safely groom a pony and help those who wish to try it all day this Friday, June 20th from 2-6 pm during the market.  This is a weather permitting event.  Inside there will be a pony craft too.

This week strawberries will be in abundance, peas and broccoli are available as well as lots of lettuces/greens, garlic scapes, beets, radishes, and hot-house tomatoes and cucumbers.

The Marshfield Farmers’ Market is open every Friday rain or shine, 2 – 6 pm at the Fairgrounds (140 Main St).  Enter from route 3A or South River St across from the fire station.  Grounds are wheelchair & stroller friendly, parking and admission are always free.  For more information visit the website, www.MarshfieldFair.org/fm.htm or call 781-635-0889.

 
 

Foodie Friday includes Firetrucks

I was watching a period drama put on by BBC where several small businesses worked together to cross utilize their wares and provide a better end product to the customer.  Our own community teams together with the Farmers’ Market at its core to bring foodies a unique assortment of delectable flavors and wares.  There is so much cooperation behind the scenes and this Friday even the Marshfield Fire department is teaming up with the farmers’ market.  A shiny red fire engine will be accompanied by a beloved heroic community figure, a firefighter, starting at 2:00 this week.  All are invited to come see the truck, ask questions, and learn about fire safety and a free kids’ craft will be making a fire dog, a trusty Dalmatian.

Here are some examples of our teammates at work.  Most wonderfully, Marshfield’s elementary schools have gardens and are selling their freshly picked organic produce from the Martinson and South River School Gardens at the farmers’ market.  These young business-boys and business-girls are learning about farming, harvesting, math, weights and measures, handling money and many other aspects of running a small business.  This includes interfacing with customers both at the market and with chefs at local restaurants.  Should you seek out the school’s booth (inside, under the grandstand) you can also read about the three stages of their gardens, the work they are doing, and where they are headed, which includes a cooperative with a new high school cooking program.   A conversation with the school children is entertaining too.

There is a Marshfield farmer, Garretson Cranberry & Market, who grows collards for the South Shore Bar-B-Q Man to cook and offer with his unique blend of spices to bring the flavors of the south to the table.  Then there is the newest Marshfield food vendor who reaches farther south, to Columbia and Venezuela, for the flavor s of her goods while using local and organic ingredients to create authentic arepas.  This would be Molly Drane, a Marshfield graduate who traveled and returned home  to create Donde Thiago.  This Friday, at 3:30 pm during the market, she will tell her delightful story of how her arepas came to be a business, answer questions, and offer free samples.  The fresh ingredients wrapped in warm corn based arepas and drizzled with authentic sauces are bursting with flavor and are a welcome new addition to “Foodie Friday”. 

Other great partnerships include those between farmers and chefs from Renaissance Cooking and Jenny Dee’s Bees, Pembroke and Kingston/Duxbury based businesses, respectively.  Renaissance cooking has pickles, sauces, jams and take-home sides utilizing local fruits and vegetables.  Once the cucumbers and green beans are in season you can expect lots of bread and butter pickles and dilly beans!  They also offer amazing vegan burgers and not-so-vegan marinated grass fed beef tips.   Meanwhile, Jenny  D infuses her own lavender & honey into fabulous lavender lemonade and takes in-season fruits to create flavor-popping all-fruit popsicles that you can feel good about eating.  No food coloring, preservatives, or artificial anything is used.

The Marshfield Farmers’ Market is open every Friday rain or shine, 2 – 6 pm at the Fairgrounds (140 Main St).  Enter from route 3A or South River St across from the fire station.  Grounds are wheelchair & stroller friendly, parking and admission are always free.  For more information visit the website, www.MarshfieldFair.org/fm.htm or call 781-635-0889.

 
 

Foodie Friday Challenge

A reflection on our town's local food system and how Big Ag dependence in a year of environmental stress may boost the local diversity of crops into a more successful light.  [Read More]
 
 

At the Market, a visit to the Black Forest

Marshfield’s local community of small farmers, chefs, and creative businesses gathers 10 am- 2 pm on the third Saturday of the month from November through May before switching to a weekly Friday afternoon market for the summer.  You’ll find resources passionately dedicated to their trade, selling direct to the consumer, able to answer questions and help as needed.  No middlemen, no television commercials, just old fashioned homemade items with friendly faces creating them and free admission, demos, and parking too.  For more information visit our website or call 781-635-0889.  [Read More]
 
 
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