As a home cook and farmer of quality vegetables, I find inspiration and purpose in exchanging ideas, helping other cooks to feed their households, and overcoming obstacles that keep some from enjoying food. I receive positive responses to CSA weekly newsletters, questions at market and from friends and neighbors about vegetables. I suppose some would find a way to make a buck off the help or simple advice, I find the satisfaction of helping others more than enough.
I was inspired to think about this as the seasons last farmers market concluded in Vicksburg Friday. Our wonderful Market leader, Sue Moore, passed along kind words and thanks for helping out the market and making so many people’s experiences positive. All I could think was how much I enjoyed the interaction. I’ve learned so much from the market customers, I’m glad they feel the same way.
Some friends that come weekly to market and book the Kalamazoo Folklife Singers that entertain the crowd, were disappointed that we were out of beets. They weren’t beet fans till we shared some suggestions about roasted beet salads. They became beet-niks and enjoyed the broad varieties that we raise and offer at market. They learned to cook the greens and when greens weren’t available they gained a new love for swiss chard. They tried fresh carrots and groan about having to eat the poor tasting ones from the grocery when the season ends.
A market regular signed up for CSA this year and has become profuse in his praise for the CSA and how it has dramatically improved their enjoyment of their vegetables. Another family has already begun to ask about next season and shared their plans to bump up from their half share to a full. They get their basics covered with the half share but really want to try some other things and have a chance to maybe set a few things aside for later.
When someone asks how to fix a vegetable I always tell them how we enjoy them. Which methods we have tried and what became our favorites. This season was a great one for the Delicata squash. I would offer the suggestion to cut in half length wise, scoop out seeds and pith and place on a baking sheet cut side down. Put in the oven at 325 till fork tender. Let cool slightly and scoop out the flesh to enjoy. Soon the regulars were buying me out of squash. They’re all gone now but wait till next year…