For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
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Farmers Markets & Foodshed's, Succession Planting and Three Yummy Farmer's Market Recipes!

What's a Foodshed you ask?  Most people who call themselves Localvore's, Foodies or the like will probably be familiar with this term, but for those of you who are not, here is a brief description and how you can make or find one!  *Though it may be unfamiliar, the term "foodshed" was used almost 80 years ago in a book entitled How Great Cities Are Fed (Hedden, 1929) to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer. Seven decades later, the term was used to describe a food system that connected local producers with local consumers (Kloppenburg et al., 1996). In this project, the general definition of a foodshed is a geographic area that supplies a population center with food. However, the Mapping Local Food Systems Project focused specifically on potential local foodsheds, areas of nearby land that could theoretically provide part or all of a city's food needs (Peters, 2007).
*Used from Cornell University web site, 2012


If you search the web go to Foodshed Maps and you will be amazed at how much info is out there.
Some of these maps are interactive and can lead you the consumer to sources for organic produce, farmer's markets, orchards, artisan cheese makers, organic meat and egg producers or other specific categories within a 100 mile radius of your home- which happens to be the 'acceptable' radius for which we define things as local! I am currently working on creating one of these for our farm.  With us being a Co-operative farm, I think it would be very interesting for our CSA members as well as our farm market friends, (known to most as customers), to visually see where all the farms that we work with are located.  (see printable attachment Foodshed map for the Mad River Valley coop)

Food anonymity is becoming a thing of the past for some of us... we are tired of buying bread that came off an assembly line in a 'factory'... we want that hand formed sour dough bread from Fostoria Bread Factory or the beautifully imperfect baguette that Matt from Golden Wheat made...  we can hand the green stuff right into the hands that formed them... take them home and tell the family how nice Ed & Julie are and their boys are so sweet, and man they make the best sour dough anywhere around... We can rip up the fresh homegrown Heirloom lettuce that we just picked out of our raised beds, slice some Heirloom tomatoes hand picked off the vine and put some of Micheal's real goat Feta cheese from Hickory Knoll Creamery crumbled on top... oh it's so good!  Then of course pair all this together with Tracina's gourmet ricotta knocci... what more can you want?  All this can and will be had at the Farmers Market...

Most of you know that we are farmers at The Farmington Farmer's & Artisan's Market in Downtown Farmington, Michigan during the regular season where you can find all this great stuff and so much more! The farmers market is the best place for you to create your own Foodshed map... you will be able to share and talk to your market vendors. Building relationships are a natural part of the market atmosphere... I am so happy that I can honestly say that I know most of our market friends names as well as their children's... and they know our family~ they trust our family to provide them with great organic produce, eggs, pork, beef and chicken!  The Downtown Farmington Farmer's & Artisan's Market is the best summer time market anywhere in Michigan... come on out and see us!

**As a CSA farm and market vendor I need to be sure I will have produce all season.  Succession Planting is basically the following of one crop with another and is the most important tool for maximizing a garden's yield. It is a must if you want to have garden fresh produce for the full season we call spring, summer and fall!  Here are a few tips on how to plan your garden's planting:
*Get started by making a list of all the veggies you want to grow. You must have a good understanding of their individual growth habits and preferences.
*You need to take into consideration the days to harvest from planting, whether it be seed or plant; how long a plant will produce.
*Standard succession planting works if you plan to direct seed every two weeks~ although be sure to plan your last seeding according to the harvest date listed on the package.  For example, most radishes are about 40-45 days; therefore you can determine your last available seeding date by going to your calender, deciding on the last day you can harvest- typically your first frost date and then counting backwards 45 days and adding 5 days for safety- there you go, that is when you direct seed your last planting.
*Create a Planting schedule~ simplify this procedure by drawing a spring, summer, and fall diagram of each of your garden beds or raised beds. Plug in early and then late season crops.  Be sure to note the approximate date each crop needs to be sown or transplanted and when the expected harvest date will be.
*Manage same crop successions by sowing small amounts of seed or transplanting a few seedlings at regular intervals, either in the same bed or a different times in various parts of your garden.  Leafy greens can be seeded on a weekly basis.
*Planting varieties that mature at different times, such a early, middle, and late ripening sweet corn is another way to extend the harvest of a single crop.
*Choose the Right Varieties~ climate, weather and growing conditions affect variety choice and succession timing as well.  Sow cool weather varieties of lettuce in early spring and then sow heat tolerant varieties later for summer harvest and then cool weather ones again toward the end of summer for fall harvest. 
*Doubling Up~ When planning successions and selecting veggies varieties, consider how two or more crops might share the same space.  For example, planting scallions beside rows of potatoes... the onions will be mature before the potatoes need the room and they will also help deter pesky potato bugs.  Also, planting lettuce transplants along side tomato plants~ again the lettuces will be ready long before the tomatoes become gigantic and take over the space.
*Planting tricks~ be sure to space your plants accordingly, if they are crowded they will not grow to their potential.  Try planting seeds and transplants of the same veggie along side each other, the transplants will be ready to harvest as the seed's grow and then take over the space. 

Here is a **Three Season Garden Plan~ see attached copy of the plan.
Spring~ plant three rows- one Swiss chard, peas on a trellis down center and then baby beets on other side.  The beets and chard will grow short beside the tall peas. 
Summer~ When the peas are done pull the plants and then plant a row of cucumbers to climb on the trellis.  Leave the chard in place; harvest the beets as babies and then plant lettuce seedling and a  row of dill in their place.
Early Fall~ remove the summer veggies and plant half the row with spinach and the other half with alternating rows of tatsoi and bok choy. 
 
You can get some really great tips in Elliot Coleman's, Four Season Harvest!  Great book!
**Information adapted from Organic Gardening Magazine, "Keep It Coming" By Barbara Damrosch. Feb/Mar 2010, pg.s 42-47

Here are some yummy recipes for all the summertime yummies you can pick up at the market this weekend!
Roasted Basil Tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil from The Olive Oil Store
8-10 tomatoes from Garden Gate, halved
2 Tbsp. fresh basil from Garden Gate, chopped
salt to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat; place tomato halves cut side down in saucepan; cook 5-8 minutes.
2. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up in a lightly greased 8"x8" baking pan; pour any liquid in saucepan over tomatoes; Sprinkle with basil and salt.
3. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes; garnish with cheese.

Grilled Market Veggies
2 zucchini from Garden Gate, sliced 3/4 inch thick lengthwise
2 yellow squash from Garden Gate, sliced 3/4 inch thick lengthwise
1 sweet onion, sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 tomatoes from Garden Gate, sliced 1 inch thick
2 cloves fresh garlic from Garden Gate, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cup oil from The Olive Oil Store
1 Tbsp. EACH FRESH HERB: rosemary, minced; oregano, chopped; basil, chopped; parsley, minced
1 Tbsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste

1. Combine veggies in a large bowl; whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over veggies; toss to coat; marinate for one hour.
2. Remove veggies from marinade with a slotted spoon; arrange on a grill over medium hot heat; grill 2 to 5 minutes on each side, basting often with marinade, until tender.

Here's an old time favorite!
Fried Green Tomatoes

You can also use summer squash or okra using this method of preparation!
1 cup all purpose whole wheat or white flour- from Garden Gate
1 cup cornmeal, from Garden Gate
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 green tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup oil for frying, from The Olive Oil Store

1. Whisk together all ingredients except tomatoes and oil.
2. Dip tomatoes into mixture; heat oil in a cast iron skillet; fry tomatoes until golden and crispy on both sides.

Happy Day,
Jean
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