Friday, July 26, 2013

Can You Believe It?!!

Michigan  corn already ripe and ready at the HFM ?? Yes, Sat. July 27, there will be Michigan corn available for you to purchase and enjoy. Locally grown new potatoes also will be there. And next week? Michigan apples and peaches. Unbelievable!  What with ever-bearing produce extending the season, and hoop houses bringing in the produce earlier than usual, we can eat healthy and delicious all market-season long.
So last week, I bought all fruits. We were having my husband's family over for a BBQ and swim, so I wanted to make a fruit salad of all Michigan fruit. I'm experimenting with gooseberries, not having had them as a child. Found them a bit tart, but the flavor is delicious, reminding me of plums.  I added them to the raspberries, blackberries, cherries and strawberries and people just raved.
What I've learned recently at the HFM:
     - raspberries soak up water whichr dilutes the flavor. So don't wash them...but ask the vendor if chemical pesticides were used on the berries. Several vendors don't use these.
     - cabbage rolls: FREEZE the cabbage first. This makes the outer leaves perfect for making cabbage rolls.
     -for easy raspberry jam: Using a 1:1 ratio of sugar to raspberries, boil the berries at medium heat, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Add the sugar and boil and stir for four minutes more. Cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate. Use within two weeks. or freeze. The cool thing is that no purchased pectin is needed; the berries have enough pectin of their own. Another cool thing: if the berries don't jell? Just re-do the process! How easy is that?
Fred Long of Fred's Jerky Products, LLC is the featured specialty food vendor featured today. Fred has been making his wonderful, preservative-free, no-additives, just beef and seasoning jerky for many years. His secret mix was created by his wife, who now brings in tasty no-bake cookies and two kinds of fudge for his booth. Fred has been selling his jerky for several years, and enjoys meeting his customers at farmers' markets, and having them visit him on facebook, which he updates daily.
Contact him: 517-543-7597;
Meet produce vendor, Deepa Iyer aka The Greens Lady because she truly LOVES eating greens. Kale is her fave. Deepa and Gwen Kato raise their produce at Rainbows End Farm, Fowlerville. They use only natural fertilizers, etc. because they are dedicated to building healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people (their slogan). Find them in the smaller building, and at: 517-223-1079 for info about raspberry picking; cell : 517-294-4014;; and . New this year, in addition to fall U-Pick raspberries, hoop-house greens and Healthy Living classes, they are offering a Kids' Camp, where the kids will participate in growing food, picking ripe produce, making their lunches from their "pickings" and much more. Stop by their booth for more info.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Michigan's Abundance at the Holt Farmers Market, July 20, 2013

   The abundance of Michigan's produce will be flowing into the Holt Farmers' Market this Saturday: Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see the list of locally/Michigan grown goodies you can expect to see this Saturday.
 As for last Saturday, I may have bought a little more than usual, because there was so much to buy! My checkbook is safe when I shop at Kohl's or Younkers, but not so much at the market!  But I'm getting quite good at handling the fresh produce, and I'm happy to say I didn't have to throw anything out due my slowness in processing the items.  I froze some items  and happily ate the rest.
Sold-out: Rowe's Farm sold out of virtually everything again! So if you get there later in the day, as I usually do, feel free to stop and talk to Gary Rowe. Ask him about his kohlrabi. He's great to talk to.

Another sold-out: Rainbow's End farm sold out of carrots unexpectedly. They'll have more this Saturday, as well as lots of other chemical-free goods. I eyed their large cabbages, didn't get one, but will this week. Ask Gwen or Deepa how to make easy sauerkraut (tip: they don't use crocks anymore).

Elaine's love of quilting emanates from the beautiful colors of her creations. " I have a GREAT time sewing my quilts. It is just  pure joy for me." It must be so, for she's been known to awake at 2:00a.m. with a great idea and get up and sew for hours to finish the inspiration. Elaine creates all her own designs, and all are sold ready-to-hang. She makes little wall quilts,  purses, and the utterly charming, all cotton dolls in the photo. Elaine has been sewing since childhood, when she learned how to sew on a treadle sewing machine. Her legs were tooshort to reach the treadle, so her father had to make an adjustment for her. You'll find her in the smaller building on the north side of the market.
Swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower (from Michigan's thumb) pickling cucumbers and "regular" cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash, Mich sweet cherries and blueberries, a few strawberries and red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb and fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, onion chives, garlic chives, AND at long last: candy onions, the sweetest onion grown in Mich.
TIP from Dennis Greenman of Greenman Farms: to order items in quantity, please order in advance. Pick up vendors' business cards for contact information.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More Surprises and Featured Vendors

Surprises: Curly-cued garlic? Yes, there is such a thing!It is green, curly-cued and milder than regular garlic. Also is easier to chop for recipes. Strawberries? Still? Dennis Greenman of Greenman Farms will continue to have a few pints of ever-bearing strawberries throughout the summer. Rowe's Farm, returning for the first time Sat. July 6, was SOLD OUT by noon, before I even arrived at the market! And the French pastry vendors were sold out of their wonderful, gluten-free, delicate and delicious pastry-type cookies when I arrived, though they had plenty of their other pastries. I may have to get to the market earlier than my usual 12:30 time!
Country Products, owned by  Wilbur and Susie Hochstetler, Amish farmers of Charlotte (517) 543-2973, is one of the four produce vendors. They stock a wonderful variety of items, including fresh produce, organic grains, range-free chicken and eggs, honey, jams, maple syrup, butter and cheese, homemade noodles, grass-fed beef and more. Stop by and see Samantha Lass and Sherrie Siemon who work the booth and they will happily answer any questions you may have about the products. You will find them in the smaller building.  
 The  HFM Salsa Lady is Sherrie Schenk, of Schenk's Salsa. Her award-winning, home-made personal recipe is a labor of love. She uses it for soups, chili's and many more items. "My salsa is not just for chips. I use it for marinades, stir fries and lots more, " she told me. Her booth features recipes she is happy to share with customers, and yes, her "Ghostly Hot Salsa" won the Board of Water and Light's  contest in 2012. You will find Sherrie and husband Mike in the larger HFM building, next to the Golumbki Gal, who, by the way, sells the salsa if  Sherrie can't be there. Pictured with Sherrie is her loyal helper, son Donovan.  
Schenk'sSalsa: Sherrie Schenk c. 420-6860 Mike Schenk c. 420-6883,
 The Card Lady, Originals by Carol (Nevins) makes beautiful cards for all occasions, and sells them for practically nothing! Which translates to $2.00/practically nothing. As with all the crafters, she loves what she does, and will take special orders for just about anything. If she doesn't have exactly what you want, she'll happily make it for you and have it ready the next Saturday. So far, I have purchased birthday cards, Father's Day cards and graduation cards from Carol. She's located in the smaller building, usually next to Anna's Creations, although the craft booths are sometimes located in the tents outdoors. Carol is helped by her efficient, cute-as-a-button granddaughter, Olivia. 
Produce at the HFM, Sat July 13: New: Michigan blueberries, zucchini and summer squash, swiss chard. Continuing: gooseberries, ever-bearing strawberries, green beans, fresh herbs, lettuces, rhubarb and more. Expect to enjoy, and try something new.


Friday, July 5, 2013

July 6, 2013

(and other surprises, too)
... were available last Sat, which took me by surprise since it's a little early.There were plenty of lovely strawberries last week, too. So seldom the two berries are available at the same time. I also bought some delicious blackberries, which my husband just loved.
 Also good salad-making stuff: sure, fresh lettuce...but also fresh radishes. Their bright red color, and gentle, tangy taste add color and crunch to a salad. Plus additional greens: spinach and kale, and perhaps some Swiss chard and collard greens. If you're a newbie to greens, start slow. Although a bag of spinach looks like a HUGE amount, the bag actually cooks down to about two servings. Don't let the size of the bag intimidate you!
To put in salads: add some spinach leaves to your iceberg lettuce and you'll enjoy the taste, and before too long will be eating the salad without the iceberg lettuce at all.
To cook the spinach: put some oil in your non-stick pan, heat to medium heat, put in a handful of spinach leaves, stir a few times until the leaves are wilted. Then add more leaves and repeat the process. It's surprising how many leaves you can put in the pan to get a single serving! 
Kale tips: Try beating it up before adding to salads or cooking. Seriously! After washing the leaves, and before using them, take a leaf in hand, roll it, punch it, pound it until the leaves soften, and are pliable. You'll see a BIG DIFFERENCE in the kale leaves, and this process helps release the nutrients, and makes the kale easy to work with.
TIPS for shopping at the HFM:
 ASK THE VENDOR: how to handle the item, how to store it, how to cook it, and for recipes. Not all vendors will have recipes, so  check the HFM Bulletin Board. I try to put up new recipes each week.
ASK THE VENDOR: whether the item is locally grown (hint: the limes and lemons are not :) ), ask if the item is organic. They will happily answer any question you have!
Remember: It's always sunny in the Holt Farmers' Market!