Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Exciting News!

Have you heard? The Holt Farmers' Market has been awarded a $10,000 grant that will help us create some new ways for customers to enjoy their time at the market. Although the grant covers items like improved signage, on-site compost unit for food and plant waste and a recycling receptacle...the item I am MOST excited about is the Portable Module (3 units) Mobile Demonstration Center. Yes! The market will now be able to do demonstrations of how to cook various foods, how to can produce, and so many more applications. The possibilities are virtually endless. The unit should be up and running in mid to late September. I'll send more details as I get them so stay connected!
     More news: because of the new and exciting things happening at the HFM, I've been told there are openings for several new volunteers to help out. Volunteers due a variety of things; my personal fav is spending a couple hours each Saturday at the market, schmoozing with the vendors, helping customers find what they are shopping for and helping wherever I'm needed. I love the positive vibes at the HFM, and I go home with delicious, fresh food and feeling high on life.
Did I mention fresh flowers as well? Divine Creations, tucked in the back of the bigger building, sells fresh flowers including my personal favorite, hydrangeas. But lots more as well, including wedding flowers and accessories, center pieces...the list goes on and on. Plus, this is the stand where you can pick up FREE coffee.
This week at the market the vendors will be selling Michigan apples, beets, bell peppers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, blueberries, greens, cucumbers as well as small ones for pickling, kale,sweet onions, peaches (probably Red Havens! so juicy and delicious!), potatoes, raspberries rhubarb, some strawberries...yes, the "season" is over, but not for these ever-bearing ones! summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, sweet corn and tomatoes galore! Plus a full line of fresh herbs. So plan your menus and buy fresh. Remember to ask the vendor if the item is locally grown, Michigan grown or from out of state.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gone on vacation

I won't be writing a blog this week due to our vacation. We are going to Camp Minitonka on Lake Michigan and I am super excited! I haven't been to Lake Michigan yet this summer, and it's not summer for me until that happens. My husband is from the Bronx, however, and has said he'll try to have a good time camping...for my sake...and has said he'll try not to complain too much. Does that sound like a recipe for success to you? Yeah, same here. I mean, we're sleeping in a cabin, not a tent. What more could he want? 

The real downside to this vacation is that I won't be shopping at the Farmers' Market this Saturday! But I will get vicarious enjoyment from YOU shopping there. Lots of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies...Mich. apples and peaches...maybe cantelopes, summer squash, zucchini....corn and tomotoes, of course. Hand-made, beautiful crafts and specialty foods. Just have a good time there and enjoy living in Michigan.

I'll be back in touch next Friday


Friday, August 16, 2013

Featuring two specialty vendors

Meet Marcie Bishop Kates, owner and CEO of Incu-Bake. What's that? Incu-Bake is a kitchen (business)incubator. Being the creative person she is, Marcie was searching for a commercial kitchen to use for her catering business, didn't find one, so decided to create one herself! She's changed her focus a bit from running a catering business to helping other entrepreneurs start their own businesses. To date, 59 food businesses have used her commercial kitchen to prepare their food items and have been licensed to do so.  A number of these sell their items at the Holt Farmers' Market and have been featured in this blog e.g. The Golumbki Gal. In addition, Marcie sells items for Incu-Bake graduates at her market stall, including wonderful dips, sauces, granola and much more. Stop by and see why we're excited about this vendor!
Willow Blossom Farms is truly a family  affair. Lorrie and Shannon are beekeepers, and Willow is their daughter. Mom makes all the products: lip balms, lotions, soaps, honey sticks all made with honey of course. Then she offers many forms of honey: liquid honey in plastic or glass containers; 8oz.,  half-gallons, full gallons, creamed or whipped. She sells honey lolli-pops, honey-pecans (newest hot item) and honey in the comb. Last but not least are her two oz. baby bear containers of honey...which are airplane legal. Meanwhile, Dad works outdoors with the hives, and Willow helps Mom sell items at the HFM. Stop by! you can't miss their bright yellow shirts..  
 I loved the delicious Super Sweet corn from  Greenman's Farm booth, picked that morning. My husband did, too. My favorite apples, McIntosh, also made it to my table, and delicious Michigan peaches. THIS WEEK: Red Haven peaches will be available! The ones I had last week were delicious, I'd give them an A. Red Havens are the A+ of Michigan peaches, in my opinion. So stop by the Holt Farmers' Market, and revel in the tastes of a Michigan summer. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

August abundance

Another long list of wonderful, fresh food available tomorrow, August 10, much of it grown locally, some items from other locations in Michigan and some from out of state. Remember to ask the vendors!
Michigan apples, and Michigan peaches; locally grown green beans, beets, bell peppers, hot peppers, blueberries and blackberries, lettuces, three kinds of onions: red, sweet and Vidalias; new potatoes: red, golden and fingerlings; fresh herbs, sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes as well as their larger siblings, zucchini and summer squash, and last but certainly not least: sweet corn, including bi-color Super Sweet corn, at the Greenman's Farm stand.

Instead of pics this week, I thought I'd feature some FAQs:
1. Why should I buy fresh  Michigan produce from the Holt Farmer's Market when I can get the same item, grown in Michigan, at the supermarket, for less money?
I would suggest two reasons:
     - at the HFM your money goes directly to the farmer, not to some mega-corporation.
     - at the HFM you can ask all the questions you want, and get really good answers, from the people who grew the food, and take pride in their products. They can tell you how they grew the item, how to store the item, how to prepare it. Try that at Kroger!

2. Why is the food at the HFM so expensive? I can't afford it!
I would suggest that the affordability of the produce at the HFM is a matter of perspective and values. When I shop at the supermarket, I see carts loaded with bottled water, pop, lots of packaged food, and maybe a few items from the produce department. Those few items from the produce department may indeed be cheaper than those at the HFM. Folks who value their health could decide that they don't need those nutrition-lite items in their cart, or  could find less expensive ways to satisfy those needs, and buy their produce at the HFM, where the produce has all the advantages listed above, plus the advantage of not having been shipped hundred/thousands of miles to get in that cart, and so it hasn't been irradiated/processed/GMOd so it can travel all those miles and arrive looking fresh.
You can tell what my values are!!

Here are some tips from the website:
Food storage: Store fresh fruits like strawberries, lettuce, and  herbs in the 'fridge at 40 degrees or less. Keep high ethylene fruits like apples separate from other fruits to help prevent over-ripeness.
Food Preparation: Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded (and mention it to your vendor the next week!). Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate form other foods such as raw meat, or poultry and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
Wash cutting boards, dishes , utensils and counter tops with soap and hot water between the preparation of those products listed above and any produce that will not be cooked.
Using plastic cutting boards? or other non-porous boards?  You can run them through the dish washer after use.
I'm excited to tell you about my recent experience with storing fresh lettuce, of course from the HFM. Two weeks ago, I bought a bag of mixed greens from the Lansing Roots Farm, which is connected to the Lansing Food Bank. I put them in the 'fridge vegetable drawer just the way they came: in a plastic which I added a half- sheet of a paper towel. I made a salad of them yesterday, and it was as fresh and tasty as the day I brought it home!!!
So, thanks for shopping at the Holt Farmer's Market, and thanks for reading this blog!

It's always sunny at the Holt Farmers' Market! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Did I mention FREE coffee and FREE WiFi ?

Yes, get your free coffee at the flower booth, and then ask Misty, the HFM assistant, how to access the free WiFi. Then sit back and enjoy the fun, positive ambience of the Holt Farmers' Market.
Here's the list of all the wonderful produce you can see at tomorrow's market, 8-3-13:
green beans, prossibly  yellow wax beans too; beets, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli and cauliflower; cucumbers as well as the the smaller variety for making pickles ( remember to order these in advance if you want more than a quart), lettuces, sweet onions, peaches, new potatoes, including reds, whites, golden and fingerlings; a few raspberries; ever-bearing strawberries, gooseberries, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, scallions and super sweet corn.
Featured today are two specialty vendors: 
Denise Brzozowski is the Golumbki Gal. She has made golumbkis, which are stuffed Polish cabbage rolls, from an old family recipe for years. So when the Great Recession hit and money got tight, she and husband, John, decided to take this delicious food to the next level, and make some money at the same time. They connected with Incubake (another HFM vendor) learned how to start their own business and moved forward, doing something they love doing. Their golumbki's come in three varieties: traditional, gluten-free and vegetarian, made with portobella mushrooms. While I was interviewing Denise last week, a customer came to the booth, someone who hesitantly had his first golumbki last week. This time, he bought 16 of them and said they were the "best ever!" Find Denise, John and niece, Rachel, in the larger HFM building.
Teresa Norton is the doggie-vendor at HFM. Her dog, Shayla, a Papillion, is the namesake of the business. Teresa has been making doggie treats for 15 years, and went commercial in 2012. She is licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture, a difficult license to obtain. In addition to treats, she makes doggie birthday cakes on order, and sells doggie toys made from re-cycled pop bottles, and doggie embellished bandannas. Teresa is located in the larger building.