Westminster Farmers' Market

  (Westminster, Massachusetts)
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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 08-06-2010

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Getting the Most from the Farmers’ Market

 

Facebook…

Watch facebook on Friday as vendors will keep you informed of what they will be bringing to the market this week!

 

Farmers’ Market Finds are a terrible thing to waste…

A fun dish that REQUIRES leftovers is fried rice.  Even the rice should be made in advance.  You will want a farm fresh egg that is not leftover, rice, a bit of olive oil and leftover veges and meat.  If you don’t normally buy farmers’ market eggs, you may want to consider it for this dish as the majority of the dish will be made with leftovers so .25 per egg is worth the splurge for the high quality nutrition it brings!  This is a great meal especially when you only have a few ounces of high quality meat that you want to utilize in a full meal.  Amy Dacyczyn tells us to keep a quart container in your freezer, adding bits of meat and vegetables as you have them so you are always prepared for this simple and delicious dish.  I may start this practice this week by purchasing an extra ear of corn at the market and adding the kernels to the freezer for our next fried rice (which we will likely have in a month).  I never have leftover rice so I make that the night before when we are cleaning up after dinner, or earlier in the day that we plan to have fried rice.  I tried to find a good recipe for you here, but can’t find one similar to the one that I have been making my entire married life so here it is.  Take four cups of cooked cold rice and add some olive oil.  Cook for about 15 minutes (it won’t really turn brown like your take-out rice).  While this is cooking, clean out your refrigerator and freezer of all the pieces of meat and veges that you can find.  Tonight I’m using part of a fresh ham steak (it is like a really good pork chop) and some bits of corn and pea pods.  If I had shrimp, this would be going in, too – even if it wasn’t leftover!  After 15 minutes of cooking, beat 2 eggs and pour them over the rice.  Cook, stirring often, until the egg is set.  Mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with ½ teaspoon of sugar and pour this over the rice.  Stir until blended.  That is dinner for us tonight.  Quick and easy on this hot day – and everyone will enjoy it.  This is also a great recipe for the school lunch box.  We use the Thermos food jars, either the steel ones with the black covers or the newer steel ones with the design on the side and metal cover – both work really well.  Just pre-heat the thermos, add hot food (cook it slowly so it stays hot longer) and pack cutlery.  Along with this rice, tonight I have made a curry sauce.  I wanted pork curry with the leftover fresh ham steak, but Andy wanted pork in the fried rice.  So I made just the sauce (which is REALLY the best part of curry anyways) and we will serve this over the rice.  It is basically a spiced tomato and onion sauce loaded with healthy spices and anti-oxidants with plenty of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory (which I will write about more next week).  This will be great for our next picnic served hot from a thermos with homemade pita bread and raw veges.

 

Save some pesto for the winter…

In addition to using up our leftover farmers’ market finds, we made pesto this week.  About a month ago, I bought six plants from M.L. Altobelli and, like everything she sells, they have grown like crazy ever since.  I needed a cup and a half of basil and had at least double that (and will have double that again in about another week).  I dug two garlic bulbs that I planted last fall from Christine Rainville’s German hardneck variety (and you should try to procure some of that from her – if not at the farmers’ market, you can find her on Mass Local Food).  I located my olive oil and called Andy and asked him to pick up a chunk of parmesan on the way home – and he did.  But, I couldn’t find my pine nuts that I froze last summer.  They are not in my kitchen freezer and I didn’t think to look beyond that – so I used almonds instead.  I now have a large and delicious batch of pesto in which I have been indulging.  Served on a crispbread type of whole grain cracker is the ultimate summer snack!  If you don’t have time to get anything else into your freezer this summer, you may want to visit M.L. and get some basil planted for your own supply.  You will be ready to make it in about a month and it only takes about 10 minutes to make a whole batch, plus the time required to pick the ingredients and store them.  Well worth it!

 

Mt. Washington Adventures…

This Monday, we finally carved out a day for our family (minus Andy who is too busy working) and our hiking-sidekick family, the Greenlees (minus Doug who also had to work), to head off to Mt. Washington for our annual hike to the summit.  We chose Tuckerman Ravine as the most favorable trail as this was to be Russell’s (5 years old) first Mt. Washington hike on his own power.  We left Westminster at 4:50 a.m. for the drive to Pinkham notch with the car loaded up with our hikers, packs, and breakfast of oatmeal (which is practically a miracle food – and those of you who eat it know what I mean), mixed with chopped raisins and molasses (30% RDA for iron, naturally!!) and off we went.  All was well when we left Pinkham notch at 8:45, arriving at Hermit Lake shelter in 90 minutes, well under the AMC projection of 130 minutes (yes, even with a 5 year old carrying all his own food, water and foul weather gear – a very strong and determined 5 year old).  After a break including water, trail mix, oranges, “breakfast cookies” (a delicious 17 ingredient cookie with no white sugar, little white flour, and all kinds of healthy ingredients), and extra thick peanut butter sandwiches, we set out for the headwall as we ascended into the bowl.  When it started sprinkling, we should have pulled out our sweaters and raingear (“showers” were forecast), but it WAS just a few drops.  On we went and as we began climbing the headwall it started to rain.  I can tell you, we have been hiking Washington with our children for about 10 years and “showers” are different here.  The rain doesn’t simply FALL from the sky, but seems to be THROWN down with force in great quantities of outrageously enormous drops!  As we continued up the headwall out of the ravine (a 600’ elevation gain or .66 Mt. Wachusetts), thankful that the rain was at least a warm rain, the trails actually turned into WATERFALLS (Tuckerman Ravine, waterfalls and an unfortunate hiker made the news last month, but we were trying not to think of that).  This is only a shower, right?  So it should pass with the cloud that is causing it… so, on we went.  By now, our boots were filled with water, clothing soaked, eyeglasses rendered useless, and packs getting wetter (and heavier) by the moment.  As soon as we cleared the headwall and after about 30 minutes of getting soaked, the cloud passed, the sun came out and we took the opportunity to pour water from our boots, wring out socks and fleece and other clothing, and enjoy the incredible view looking back over the ravine toward Pinkham notch and Hermit Lake shelter.  Max and Chris Greenlee went on ahead to the summit, after which, they planned to return to Pinkham notch to bring up the car for our ride down (Russell is capable of getting up, but the round trip would likely prove too much for him – which can be translated to mean that it would be too much for everyone hiking with him).   After a minor bout with what seemed to be an increasing case of hypothermia in Russell (constant shivering that wasn’t getting better), we dried him off a bit more, changed his clothes, added a few layers, a hat, mittens and two hand warmers.  Then added a drink of water and half a Snickers bar and he was off and running again.  We scrambled up the last .8 miles with an altitude gain of 1.3 Mt. Wachusetts (it’s mentally easier for me to gauge the hike in terms of Wachusett’s Pine Hill Trail – the whole mountain being 5 Mt. Wachusetts!) while racing what seemed to be a thunderhead (it wasn’t but you can be assured that we do know what it is like to be on the cone in a thunderstorm with children – BEYOND SCARY).  As we approached the auto road about 100 feet below the summit, we met Chris and Max on their return to the car (about a 2 hour hike back for them).  All that was left of our climb (but not our adventure) was the staircase leading from the parking lot.  For those of you that have not hiked, but driven up and climbed that staircase, I don’t know why, but it is the absolute HARDEST part of the trail.  It is my opinion that if you can climb that staircase, you can actually climb the whole mountain.  I’ll take the steep climb up Tuckerman headwall over that staircase any day!  After a few hours, Chris and Max returned with the car.  They got it into the parking lot okay and luckily got the car shifted into park – before the cable from the shifter to the transmission BROKE!  Now, I’d like you to know that getting eight tired hikers and a giant disabled SUV off the summit of Mt. Washington was NOT part of the plan.  After much deliberation, it was decided that three of us (one teenager and the two smallest children) would take the very expensive van ride back to Pinkham notch.  I, being very capable of being TOO frugal and TOO stubborn, decided that I was capable of walking down the auto road rather than pay $45 per person for a ride.   Margaret and Meghan didn’t debate, but decided they would walk with me.  And so what if we would not make it to the bottom before dark?  And so what if there WERE (and there were) hungry black bears eating their dinner at the base?  My true friend and my devoted daughter would walk beside me rather than talk some sense into me – and I thank them both for that (I think they knew I wouldn’t be listening anyways).  Max and Chris (unaware of impending car trouble, left their wet hiking shoes at Pinkham notch and drove back to the summit in FLIP FLOPS!!!) would wait for the tow truck and get a ride down in the cab.  We were all set with this crazy plan when our luck finally changed for the better.  A man from the road crew showed up and saved a bit of the day as he was able to manually shift the car into low so we were able to drive to the bottom (PHEW).  And then, Westminster’s own Hal Smith got word to us that it would be okay to have the car manually shifted into drive and drive home (though we would not be able to shift into reverse or park (or restart the car) en route).  I was so relieved to be able to get my car home to have our trusted Hal Smith handle the repair and not end up stuck in a hotel in the White Mountains as we search for a mechanic that may or may not fix it correctly and may or may not be fair about the charges!  And all is well.  We arrived at Hal’s at about 10:00 p.m., 17 hours and a grueling hike after starting our day. 

Today, we are trying to dry out our shoes (where is the sunlight to sterilize them???) and packs and sort everything back into a bin for storage for next year’s hike.  Everyone has plenty of energy and we do not have even a single complaint of sore, achy muscles.  No achy muscles is a first that I attribute almost entirely to fresh, chemical-free farmers’ market food and eliminating processed foods, and to a smaller extent Couch to 5k (ask me about it if you are interested) and a small amount of arnica.  I’m modifying my packing list to include a new pair of hiking socks for everyone and a pair of inexpensive croc’s in each pack so we can have a pair of comfortable shoes to change into at the summit next year.  The extra 7 ounces for crocs will be well worth it as I would have done anything to have dry comfy shoes rather than wet socks and waterlogged boots while we waited (there is an opportunity that is missed in the three gift shops at the summit!!).  In addition, we will be shopping the yard sales this year for gore-tex children’s jackets as our cheap rain gear did not hold up to that shower…  We are already planning our hike for next year and even Russell is looking forward to it.  Perhaps we will try the beautiful Ammonoosuc trail, stopping at the serene Lakes of the Clouds hut for a hot chocolate or clam chowder before climbing the cone.  And perhaps we will leave my car at the trail head next time!

 

Entertainment this week…

Kevin Jones returns this week along with Sue who will be playing her flute.  I look forward to hearing them both! 

 

We will also have our regular blacksmith demonstration which continues to be a huge source of entertainment and education.  And at 4:00 and 6:00, plan to spend a few minutes with Button Box Shadow Theatre for a puppet show (donations are welcome for all our performers).

 

Visit our Westminster Farmers’ Market website…

The Westminster Farmers’ Market website is being updated with vendors for the 2010 season.  Visit for ideas on how you can help the farmers’ market, participate as a vendor, or get information on our schedule for the season.  Visit us at www.WestminsterFarmersMarket.com. 

 

Kerrie Hertel   

 

 

 

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