5 Ways to Improve Your Farmers Market Experience

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The 5 Spot: Ways to Improve Your Farmers Market Experience
By Sarah Quallen, Co-op Volunteer Writer

If I’m in town, and if it’s not too cold and rainy, I spend Saturday mornings downtown cruising the Farmers Market. My children are used to this routine and, since we have designated Saturday as “treat day,” they
have come to expect either mini-donuts or a scoop of ice cream upon our arrival. My children are three and five; prior to this year it has taken most of my husband’s and my energy just to keep them from getting lost. So
now that we can focus more on the complete Farmers Market experience, I’ve collected some ideas on how to make the shopping part as good asthe social part.
Arrive Early: But not too early. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Well, at the Farmer’s Market, early birds don’t get the worm, rather, they get the best possible produce and vendors still have their full
selection of products. But if they get there too early, then shoppers get vendors who aren’t completely ready to serve customers.
Arrive Late: Seems a little contradictory to my first suggestion, doesn’t it? Late arrival does limit one’s selection, but it can provide more frugal shoppers the opportunity to get lesser quality produce (usually the stuff
that’s bruised or damaged in transportation) at a lower price. Since it is the end of the farmers’ day, they may also be willing to sell at a lower price just to clear out their inventory.
Bring Cash: Often vendors accept cash only, and if everyone pays with large bills their change gets depleted quickly. Having exact change expedites the transaction and helps the line move quickly. And remember,
small bills are always appreciated!
Bring Your Own Bags/Boxes/Coolers: While vendors often have something to package your purchases in, it raises their expenses (and therefore, yours), and it’s just one more way you can participate in reducing
waste. Another helpful move is to bring your empty boxes from last week back to the vendors so they can reuse them.
Try Something New: The Farmers Market provides an excellent opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. If you have questions about a food–like how to cook or prepare it or what to pair it with–ask
the farmer. Talking with the farmers is also an excellent way to show your appreciation for them.
While this list focuses on improving your shopping experience, remember that our Farmers Market is about so much more than shopping for produce—it’s also about community, socializing, and fun.

Facebook Giveaway! Onyx + Green School Supplies

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School is just around the corner! And while you parents are probably busy rejoicing at the fact that your little ones will be occupied all day again, the cost of school supplies can add up. Fret not co-oppers! We’re offering a fantastic giveaway of some of the coolest school supplies around from Onyx + Green- a company dedicated to making the greenest (and best looking) stuff around. To be entered to win a basket full of school supplies head on over to our facebook page and find the post about Onyx + Green. Then you need to like, comment, AND share the status. In the comment section tell us what your favorite school supply of all time is. We’ll then pick a winner on Wednesday, August 13th. Happy facebooking!

Preserve the Season: Fridge Pickles

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If tang and crispness is what you crave and simplicity is your style, then we have the perfect recipe for you! A bunch of our local growers have a ton of cucumbers right now (along with garlic) and this fridge pickle recipe is an easy way to put them good use and to make them last a bit longer. Although after we made them, the jar was gone within the day!
To make this recipe you will need:
8-10 firm cucumbers
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 sprigs of fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
Slice cucumbers into very thin rounds, about 1/8 inch thick. Place them in a large jar with a lid. Add all ingredients then add enough water to cover the cucumbers. Place the lid on and gently shake to move the ingredients around. These were delicious even about 15 minutes after making them and became more delicious as the day went on. And they’ll keep for about 3 months in the fridge (if you can keep your paws out of the jar!)
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Let’s Toast: Stone Fruit + Herb Sangria

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Peaches and plums and apricots, oh my! We have the most delicious local stone fruit in right now and since the weather doesn’t look like it’s cooling down anytime soon, here’s a recipe for a chilled sparkling sangria featuring the juiciest fruit of the season. If alcohol isn’t your thing, this is fantastic made with sparkling apple or pear cider too! It’s lovely made in a large pitcher and ladled into individual glasses with pieces of fruit and sprigs of herbs.
To make this drink you will need:
2 bottles of sparkling wine (like Prosecco or Champagne) or 2 bottles of sparkling cider
3 plums
3 apricots
2 peaches
2 nectarines
2-3 sprigs of rosemary
2-3 sprigs of thyme
Remove pits from fruit and cut into slices. In a large pitcher combine fruit, herbs and wine. Stir to combine.
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Beet Read | Turn Here Sweet Corn: A memoir on growing local, organic food

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By Rachel Clark, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

Join us in reading the August Co-op Good Food Book Club selection, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works by Atina Diffley. The Book Club will meet Sunday, August 31, from 7:00-8:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss Turn Here Sweet Corn. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

With all of the support for farmers’ markets and local farming movements in our area, we couldn’t pick a better book. Atina Diffley’s courageous and vivid account of her journey to successful organic farming offers an inside view of the nitty-gritty challenges and extraordinary satisfactions that come with local, organic farming. Publisher’s Weekly says, “”In addition to being a charming memoir of love and living off the land, Diffley’s debut is a timely tale of modern farming, the growing organic movement, and the problems that arise when urban development runs up against fertile fields. Equal parts anecdote and practical organic farming guide, this book is a powerful testament to the Diffleys’ passion for their work and a terrific guide to the trials and tribulations of sticking to the land…and going organic.”

If you’re itching for the pleasures and inspirations of armchair farming—the kind that just might nudge you to growing and selling your own food—this book’s for you. Plus, it’s more than just another farming tome. This book’s a page-turner, complete with a gripping opening scene:

“An explosion of light rips me out of a deep sleep. Behind the flash is a deafening boom. The sky sparks again, a fused web of tearing lines…Damn.  I look at the date on the clock. June 8, 2005. Not now.” It’s a hail storm; hitting her farm with the fury of “cold, hard water.” And she’s got to deal with it.  Right then. Right there.

Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets, writes, “What strikes me most about this amazing memoir is that for those of us who aren’t farmers but who are versant in such issues as organics, soil building, diversity, GMOs, certification and more—it is utterly different to hear how the farmer herself grapples with them in her daily life. Unlike reading about the same issues in an article, it’s immediate, powerful, tender, heartbreaking and above all, encouraging.

Come join us to discuss Turn Here Sweet Corn (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) by Atina Diffley, Sunday August 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Turn Here Sweet Corn is also available through your local library.  Check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount.

 

Grilling Guide: Pork Chops

PorkChop2We just got in a huge delivery of locally raised pork from Jason and Margaret over at Omache Farm. Our Meat Department has a case full of chops and this recipe for Grilled Lemon Rosemary Pork Chops is delicious!

To make these pork chops you will need:

6, 4-ounce boneless chops
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place pork chops in a shallow dish and pour marinade over top. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate 4-12 hours. Prepare and heat grill. Place chops directly over flame, grilling 5-7 minutes per side, flipping once. Let chops rest 10 minutes before eating.

Appy Hour: Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

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Local tomatoes are exploding on their vines right now and we are fully stocked with beauties from several local growers. Be sure to check out our visual guide to some of the heirloom tomato varieties we currently have here! It uses naan made from scratch in our bakery, whole  milk ricotta cheese, fresh local heirloom tomatoes and pink himalayan sea salt for flavor and crunch.

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Spread ricotta cheese over naan and sprinkle with sea salt. Slice tomatoes and layer in rows. Sprinkle more salt on top and sprinkle with fresh herbs- we used rosemary, but thyme or oregano would be delicious too. Cut into slices or squares and serve with a sparkling white wine.
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