Westminster Farmers' Market

  (Westminster, Massachusetts)
Bringing you local food, friends and fun.
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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 10-09-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm


It’s Still Easy to Eat Seasonally!




Our market is still as active as it has ever been!  We had several new vendors last week and I hope you were able to find them and visit their booths.  This week we expect a new soap/lotion vendor and also a vendor who will be selling salsa kits!  Don’t think for one minute that our market is slowing down!!  A bit of a nip in the air, a few raindrops, no matter -- you still have to eat and you deserve farmers’ market fresh!  In addition, keep in mind that it is your patronage that keeps our vendors coming.  The reason that you are able to find such great food at our farmers’ market (when many area markets are closing for the season), is simply because you shop there!  Keep up the good work!




I hope you have been able to time your visits to enjoy our market entertainment!  So much thanks to Dr. B and the Homemade band and the father/daughter team of Ron and Megan McGuire for performing at our market over the past few weeks!  The music has been fantastic and makes the afternoon incredibly enjoyable for everyone!




This week Warren Rasmussen will be performing.  He is raising new awareness about ground nuts in this area and will also be selling his book, The Mary Rowlandson Story, which is a piece of local history involving Mary, Wachusett Mountain and Redemption Rock!)




And don’t forget that this is the week for our free raffle.  We will be raffling off 2 bags of farmers market products (each worth about $100).  Included in the raffle we have everything from Nancy Sampson’s pottery to a beautifully handcrafted cutting board from Bob Richard.  We have gift certificates from vendors, meats, cheese, a beautiful birdhouse donated by Bob Richard’s adorable grandchildren, spice rubs, photo cards and more.  These items will be divided into two baskets.  To enter the raffle, bring your free raffle ticket (handed out during the parade) and drop it in the picnic basket by the cooler.  We have extra forms by the picnic basket if you forget yours.  At , Dean Johnson will draw the 2 winning entries!




Next week (October 16th) is the pumpkin festival so come along, enjoy the festivities, bring your children to enter the pumpkin painting contest and enjoy a hayride.  Have a hot cup of soup or coffee and enjoy a homemade pumpkin donut!




It is still easy to eat seasonally 


We are in this great overlap of seasons where we can still have the freshest summer vegetables along with any of the fall and winter varieties which include leeks, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, kale, Brussels sprout, salad greens, onions and so much more.   Salads are not as appealing as they were on a hot summer evening, now it’s all about comfort food.  I made a crock pot of chili for dinner last night.  Two pounds of chili stew meat, tomatoes, peppers, and butternut squash (no one could tell) made a huge pot.  Normally I would make cornbread for chili, but we can still get great corn-on-the-cob.  We can have cornbread all winter, but corn-on-the-cob for just another week or two (so don’t miss this opportunity to savor the last of this summer flavor).  And the chili went to school/work in several thermos containers this morning with enough left over for a simple and fun nacho meal later in the week.  We will fry some corn tortillas just to make the nachos a bit more homemade (just a bit), heap them with chili, cheese and warm in the oven.  I’ll be looking to try one of Karen Sargent’s salsa kits for a farm fresh topping for yet another farmers’ market meal!




Now is a great time to put away a few more items for Thanksgiving dinner.  You may not be able to find blue hubbard or delicata squash – or a nice sugar pumpkin by the end of November.  Make sure you get five or ten (or 50 or 100) pounds of potatoes now, try some of the unusual varieties (remember most will store until Thanksgiving, but beyond that, some varieties are better for storage than others).  Carrots and beets and onions will store well and all can be used in your Thanksgiving menu.  Cellars in new homes may be too warm, but we tend to have good luck storing items in baskets in the garage under blankets up until the thermometer hits about 10 degrees which shouldn’t be before Thanksgiving.  If you have enjoyed local farmers’ market meals this summer, you will be glad you thought ahead for your Holiday meals.




Gardening – the season is not over…


The weather has been beautiful and I have been trying to get my vegetable garden in order so I can get the most out of it this fall.  I have spent time mulching with coffee, ash, compost and goat droppings.  My leeks are small but plentiful so I plan to get a few good winter soups out of them.  I transplanted some broccoli and borecole (seeds given to me by my friend from England last time she visited).  I still had some seedlings left over so I brought those in to add to a salad.  I still have tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and three struggling eggplants and two struggling okra.  I have dill and cilantro that has faithfully reseeded and I have shaken additional seeds from this year’s plants all over certain areas of my garden so I can look forward to plenty next year.  My carrots are coming along and could do well with 2 more weeks without frost.  This may be a possibility as it looks like we will soon be passed the full moon without a frost.  (The full moon usually brings cooler weather – and with it, a frost in October.)  Russell and I have started a few herbs and greens in the house, basil, marjoram, cilantro and lettuce.  In addition we have purchased more rosemary and will plant a pot of scallions.  I will also try to take cuttings from my Juliet tomato that has looked so healthy all year.  It doesn’t matter if we get tomatoes or not, it will be fun to try.




Russell spent the earliest part of our gardening morning complaining about being bored.  That lasted for a few minutes until he found his butterfly net (nice little net on a 3’ bamboo pole from Job Lot for $1).  When he couldn’t catch butterflies or dragonflies he turned his attention to an unfortunate Japanese beetle who is now living in a plastic container in our garage (hopefully with no chance of reproducing).  He is being fed well on bean leaves and raspberries (I told him raspberry leaves, but Russell found raspberries instead).  And Russell is already making plans for their afternoon activities together – I’m sure that little bug will be praying to be thrown into the chicken pen by day’s end!  Please tell me who needs full time kindergarten??  I’m glad to have one more year with that little guy.




For lunch, Russell wanted pasta.  I have so much broccoli in the garden that I decided to cook some up for myself.  I steamed it and then sautéed it with some of Christine Rainville’s gourmet garlic (which is now my favorite variety – my old favorite was whatever the grocery store had – I highly recommend that you try this), some olives (or artichoke hearts), tomatoes and some of Kelly Burstall’s hot pepper infused into olive oil, topped with some of Russell’s pasta and parmesan cheese.  Delicious and I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch! 




Entertainment for the Upcoming Weeks


We have the following appearances scheduled over the next few weeks.  And I so appreciate the performers that take time out of their busy schedules to support our efforts at the farmers’ market:


·        October 16th: Pumpkin Festival.  Art contest, hay rides, prizes, food, fun.  $5 donation for pumpkin art contest.  All proceeds will fund local Ag in the Classroom projects.


·        October 16:  Musical and comic talent of Gibby Lashua.


·        October 30: The encore performance of the award winning team of Ron and Meghan McGuire!




For your Christmas shopping pleasure:


Only four more shopping days left until Christmas!  Remember, two gifts each week while you enjoy the farmers’ market may make your Holidays stress free!  Don’t forget to use our farmers’ market bags for gift wrap!  The bags are on display by the water cooler and can be purchased through Al Magane, our market manager!




Help us find some coolers:


Mass Local Food is looking for coolers.  If you know what happens to Styrofoam medical supply coolers, please let me know.  Where do they come from?  Pharmacies?  Mail order medications??  Do they get thrown away?  Recycled?  Returned for deposit?  These would be a great size for us to use for orders and if these coolers are just getting thrown into the dump, we would put them to good use instead.  Remember that Mass Local Food is an all volunteer endeavor and there is really no budget to purchase supplies.  It would be great to reuse something that may be ending up in our landfills anyways!




Have a good week and see you at the market.




Kerrie Hertel    mapleHeightsFarm@verizon.net




Westminster Farmers’ Market: Fridays until until October 30th.

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