Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm
Preparing your Pantry for Thanksgiving
Our Pumpkin Festival has been postponed due to a chance of showers predicted for tomorrow. Painting pumpkins gets incredibly messy if the weather is at all wet. So, plan on next week for our harvest activities. Come this week to enjoy the market, work on your Christmas shopping, and stash a few more morsels for Thanksgiving.
Drizzle and a chill did not dampen the spirits of our vendors or shoppers last week! The market continues to thrive as shoppers seek out the last of the great summer flavors. Our free raffle was a great success! We gave away two bags full of farmers’ market treasures, fine food and gift certificates! Congratulations to our winners Francis Landry from Westminster and Jean Brady from Gardner.
What’s in the market…
Westminster grown cranberries, all the fall (cool weather) vegetables that taste so good this time of year, beef and pork roasts, cheese and most of the usual items that you expect to find. Don’t forget to get your last meal of corn in (if we are lucky enough to have it available), and get an extra dozen for your freezer (remember to blanch it first). I continue to hear a buzz about Robin’s (Honeybee Baking Company) scones. I would appreciate it if you all would finally leave a few for me to try! I’m hoping this is the week I can get some before they sell out. I have visions of Saturday lunch (in between FOUR cold soccer games) of some hot tea with a warm scone slathered with fresh Farmers’ Market raspberry jam and some of Brenda St. Claire’s chocolate goat cheese at room temperature.
Have a Local Thanksgiving…
Think about stocking up. Cranberries for this very easy sauce, Baked goods that can be frozen for breakfast and dessert (but definitely don’t get scones until I at least get to try them!!!), onions, celery, butternut, pumpkin and other squash, breads that can be cut up for stuffing, sausage and ground beef for meat pies and stuffing, herbs that you can hang in your kitchen until you need them, apples if you think you can keep them fresh until then, cheese for appetizers, and dessert. Don’t leave anything out! It may be a bit of work now, but it will be worth it. It will make your shopping easier when the grocery stores are elbow to elbow with shoppers – and you will enjoy dinner so much more because you will know where it all came from.
In the Garden…
As the last few petals of dahlias fall from a vase on my nightstand, so go the plants in our gardens. We have had a few nights into the lower thirties and it seems to me that most areas around town have experienced a frost.
My daughters picked some grapes off some ancient vines that had been touched by frost. I have cranberries piling up in my kitchen, tomatoes in all sorts of shades from green to red, pumpkins and squash awaiting attention, and the remains of Russell’s bean teepee drying in the garage. Grapes have been turned into a delicious juice (about as easy as making a cup of tea), cranberries will be refrigerated for jellied cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner, tomatoes wrapped and stored with the hope of a few fresh ones left for Thanksgiving, beans dried for a few baked bean meals this winter… The garden is still loaded with plenty of cold weather vegetables that should get us through until December or January.
As the weather warms next week we (Russell and I) will be composting the remains of the tender vegetables and preparing the beds for next year. Lime, compost, manure, mulch where needed. Fight back nature in the form of raspberries and sumac as they fight to get a foothold in the garden. I’ll plant some garlic and prepare a bed for peas. Perhaps I’ll even try planting a few seeds that will come up in early spring. I have read about success doing this with peas and lettuce, perhaps I may try kohlrabi and spinach, too. If nothing else it will give me an indicator about when it is safe to begin planting outside next spring. I am lobbying for a couple of cold frames, but it seems that everyone is too busy to make them for me. Perhaps I will try to make them myself (it will take me a LOT longer than it would take Andy or Max what with having to read all the circular saw manuals and all – just finding those manuals could take hours). I’m thinking I may be too busy making those cold frames to clean the toilets, do the laundry or prepare meals. Hmm, I may be onto something here…
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 23rd: 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 23rd: Musical and comic talent of Gibby Lashua.
· October 30: The encore performance of the award winning team of Ron and Meghan McGuire!
Andy and I will not be at the market this week, in our place, Max will be filling in. If you would like to pre-order, please email and we will prepare your package so it is ready for you when you arrive. Please note that if the weather is particularly bad, we won’t expect him to stay until 7:00, so please arrive as early as possible.
For your Christmas shopping pleasure:
Only three 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 3:00 until 7:00 until October 30th.