Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm
Come to the Pumpkin Festival
This Friday, The Westminster Farmers’ Market will hold its annual Pumpkin Festival. All proceeds from this festival will support Mass Ag in the Classroom projects and provide scholarships to teachers that wish to attend the fall conference. There will be the annual Pumpkin Art Contest with prizes awarded to children in grades k-2 and 3-5 ($5.00 fee for pumpkin and supplies). Stop by to watch the children paint, enjoy a cup of hot chowder from the Old Mill Restaurant, sip some coffee, hot chocolate or cider, and enjoy the market. There will also be a raffle for a giant pumpkin (tickets are 4 for $1 or 20 for $4)
Since we have made it to the last weeks of October without a widespread frost, many of our local farms are still producing all the vegetables you expect to see earlier in the year. Many of our local gardens are planned in locations that are protected from wind and harsh weather and have not even seen the slightest nip of frost! Though it’s certainly closing in on us! We are expecting frost later in the week. So take the opportunity to enjoy the last few vegetables of summer.
As usual, the market will also be stocked with gallons of milk, award-winning cheeses from Smith’s (in Templeton) and Capri (in Hubbardston), Beef, Pork, Free-Range Roasting Chickens, Fresh Artisan Breads, Fine Baked Goods, Jams, and everything you would expect at a great farmers’ market.
We hope to see you there!
Award Winning Chili
I have been asked to divulge our award-winning chili recipe. The prize was won at the 250th anniversary cook-off by Meghan Hertel and Caitlin Bell and I must own up to the fact that they DID receive a few extra points for the cute-middle-schoolers-that-entered-a-chili-cook-off vote! But the recipe is fantastic in its own right! Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. All those flavors are needed to make this chili what it is. Someday I'll experiment to rid the recipe of the "chili beans in spicy sauce", but we love this recipe so much that I have been afraid to eliminate that! Often, we double the recipe so we have easy meal preparation for a few meals during the week. We may have nachos one night (loaded up with veges) and then find other creative ways to enjoy this. We make our own corn chips by frying corn tortillas (and that may also have contributed to winning the contest). I don't recommend making your own tortillas and then frying them -- it's just too much work (ask me how I know).
What I really like about this recipe is that it is as much a vegetable chili as a meat chili. You'll see as you cook it. It is just filled to the brim with veg. We use our own, Maple Heigts Farm sausage and hamburg and bacon so we start out with ingredients that healthier and less greasy and the flavor is fantastic.
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon bacon bits
- 4 cubes beef broth or bouillion (we use our homemade broth)
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
- Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
- Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
- To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.