Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm Cast your vote for your favorite farmers’ market at Local Harvest! Next week I’d like to report to our Ag Commission that we are in the top 100! So help me out and vote today!Orders are closing for Massachusetts Local Food on Monday – so don’t forget to get your order in. Delivery day is next Friday at the farmers’ market. Last week we had 20 vendors again! And I actually set aside time to walk through the market. I spent over 2 hours doing this and enjoyed every minute! I really had to rush at the end and my only regret is that I didn’t have more time! Our market produce variety now surpasses what you are finding in the grocery store. I haven’t been to the produce aisle in more than a month but I don’t remember seeing purple beans there, or yellow carrots! At our market I found these along with Easter egg radish, purple carrots, tomatoes, CORN, shallot braids, broccoli, chard, new potatoes, squash, garlic, onions, cucumbers, peaches, and fabulous looking berries! And that is just the vegetables and fruit. We also had the usual variety of Beef, Pork, Cheese, Eggs, Bread, Maple Syrup, cut herbs. I didn’t need cheese this week, but next week I’m going to try Westfield farm’s “Classic Appetizer” which is goat cheese with sundried tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil. It will be pretty easy for me to turn that into a local meal! I did get a chance to try Patty Hurd’s meat rub (on our London broil steak). It was delicious and very easy. Well worth a try! While I walked around I was surprised to see the variety of functional non-food items. Everything from art and birdhouses to soaps, flowers, photo note cards (many with photos from our town and all within a 45 minute radius). I saw some beautiful hats, both knit and felted, beautiful baby sweaters, plant stands, jewelry… Now is really a great time to put an item or two away each week for Christmas. I know it’s early but you can really enjoy doing it now rather than waiting for the stressful Christmas crunch time. I know I’m going to be hinting for one of Robin Springfield’s father’s cutting boards for Christmas this year! Just a small one is all I need – you can let Andy know when you see him. He doesn’t read this! And he usually needs pretty big hints. According to MDAR, “When food goes directly from the farm to the table, flavors are at their peak and nutrient levels are highest. Fruits and vegetables are living organisms that change physiologically as soon as they are picked. Temperature changes, air exposure, artificial lights and improper handling cause sugars to change rapidly to starch and enzymatic reactions to cause speedy loss of flavor, appearance and texture, while vitamins and minerals deteriorate.” That is probably a lot of deterioration in your store bought 16 day old lettuce! So, eat our gorgeous, fresh, local food!!! We have been enjoying our local meals and those are by far our healthiest meals! Since we have a surplus of zucchini (we planted 4 different types). This week we will try this egg based zucchini recipe that would work beautifully for lunch or dinner. If you try this recipe, you will need to comb the market for fresh eggs, zucchini, onions. Now you’ll need some nice bread for this recipe too, and if you don’t want to bake a loaf, you can find quite a variety of whole grain (and/or gluten free) loaves at Ann Patsis’ (which you can review online at Mass Local Food), or you can try it with our English Muffin Bread. Serve this with some raw or steamed vegetables from the market and you have a very nice, local meal. When do you start thinking about Thanksgiving? Now is a really great time to just run the menu through your head (or pull out your menu from last year and review it). I start thinking about putting some vegetables in the freezer so we will have the highest quality and most nutritious food available for our feast! Beans come to mind while they are at the market -- or in your garden. And believe me, there is no corn that you will be able to buy, now or in November, that can possibly compare to what you will have for Thanksgiving if you freeze your own. Within the next month we will be seeing several varieties of Westminster grown corn (which you should compare to the early varieties that you have been eating). Purchase an extra half dozen and while you are cooking corn for dinner, remove your 6 ears after they have been boiled for 5 minutes, throw them into ice water to stop the cooking. While you are waiting for your remaining ears to finish cooking for dinner, scrape the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife and put kernels into zipper freezer bags. You don’t have to do a lot, just enough for that one meal (and possibly for Christmas too). You can truly make Thanksgiving a harvest festival! And while we are thinking of Thanksgiving, have you planted any vegetables this year? Do you know it is not too late? My vegetable gardening book that is getting me through this season (and probably forevermore) is The New Victory Garden by Bob Thomson. He takes the reader through a month by month gardening agenda which simplifies the whole process for me. It’s like having my own expert directing my efforts. And this book is available at Forbush. The book does not follow organic practices so I use the information about discovering pests and then follow my own organic methods to keep them under control. Same with fertilizing. My compost is looking good so whenever Mr. Thomson side-dresses with chemical fertilizer, I head to the compost and manure piles and use that instead. Anyways, his recommendations for planting are for the following vegetables: Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cucumbers, Kale, Peas and Summer Squash. In addition to this, I will plant chard, lettuce, turnips, and kohlrabi. Consider ordering from Baker’s Creek to avoid any genetically modified seed and guarantee that you are growing heirloom plants that have not help fund Monsanto! This week we (at Maple Heights Farm) will be completely restocked on beef and we are expecting pork to be restocked by the following Friday. We will have our usual breads: Cinnamon, English Muffin, Finnish, Hamburger Rolls. We will also bring our limited supply of vegetables which should include mixed variety of carrots, zucchini, beets, winged peas, and cucumbers. All our vegetables are grown with no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers – not even “organic” pesticide. And Meghan is still running her coffee shop so enjoy the market while you are sipping on coffee or her ginger iced tea.
Items that vendors can use at the market: Canning jars. If you are buying items in canning jars, and you do not need them, please consider returning them to vendors. If you find it easier, you can place them in the recycle bins and we will get them to where they need to be…
See you at the market! And thank you for your support!
About this report: please consider forwarding it to your email lists. The more customers we can remind to attend the market, the better the market will be. Vendors that do well each week keep coming, supplying you with more products. I am happy to add anyone to the list and would like to increase the circulation of this report for the sake of the market. If you are receiving this as a forward and want to be added to the list, just email me and I’ll add you to the list.
Our market is now listed on www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/M24478. Don’t forget to log on, read our information, and vote for your favorite farmers’ market!
Posted by Dean
@ 08:38 PM EDT