Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager
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Market News – October 26, 2010

October 25th, 2010 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

   Please change your calendars for our winter market. We will have it on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, December through April. Of course since the fourth Saturday in December is Christmas, we will only have one market in December. Same time, 10:30-1:30, same place—the former monkey house next to the administration building here in Forest Park. Come in the Trafton Road gate, or if you come in Sumner Ave. go as if you’re coming to this market and you won’t have to loop around the park.
   You WILL have the opportunity to shop at another winter market in December as CISA is planning on having a WInterfare market here in Springfield. December 18th, 10-2 at STCC. You will see signs telling you where it is located once you are on STCC property.
   I was going through one of my scrapbooks the other day and it had cards and other stuff in it from my engagement and wedding 50 years ago. My husband and I went to New York City for our honeymoon and we stayed at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel. Our bill for one week was $97.26. A few years ago I found a receipt for one semester at Syracuse University where he had been a graduate student. In 1956, one semester’s tuition was $225.00. 51 years ago it cost a little less than $2000 for a year at Boston University where I first went to college.
   One place where prices have gone up, but not in comparison to many other things, is food. We pay way less for food in our country than they do in many other parts of the world. That is partially because so much of the agricultural industry is subsidized. Our local farms aren’t subsidized by any means.
   Sometimes someone says that farmers’ markets are too expensive. I truly don’t know if they’ve done comparison shopping, or if they’re comparing farmers’ markets to off-price produce stores. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but often they are confusing price and value.
   I just used some spinach yesterday that I’d had for 2 maybe even 3 weeks. Most of it was perfect. I knew when I bought it that it had been picked within a day or two of the market.
   I do not think that locally produced fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, etc. will ever be produced as cheaply as mega farms can produce them, but there is much more to food than just the cost. I don’t recall there being any salmonella outbreaks at any of the farms in the Pioneer Valley in all the years (13) that I’ve been managing this market.
   Intrinsic value is important also. Western Mass is beautiful; farms help to keep it so. When we buy local, we are doing our part as well.

A Community Garden Story

From Sheila McElwaine
   A true community garden story from Seattle:
   When Maxine moved into a condo, she managed to get a community garden plot across the street. That garden became her life. She could see it from her balcony. She grew flowers, ate off her vegetable harvest for months, used only "safer soap" (as the garden rules required), and made many friends there. It was in her garden plot that she had her stroke and where fellow gardeners found her and called 911.
   In going through her things, her daughter found a note she had written ages before, asking that when she died her ashes be sprinkled on her community garden plot. Other co-gardeners planted a cherry tree and put up a sign reading: "Maxine’s cherry tree, the community garden queen." Then a few years ago, the land was taken over and built on by a children’s hospital, but the garden, including the tree and the sign, was dug up (literally) and moved to a nearby park. Her daughters visit regularly.

   Community gardens are much more than they seem.

Want to Make Your own Vinegar?

   Sheila McElwaine has starters for making your own vinegar. If this interests you, call her at 788-8898 and she’ll give you a jar.

Recipe—Pork Stroganoff

Use boneless pork chops or tenderloin for this.
Ingredients—boneless pork, flour, salt, pepper, oil, butter, onions, mushrooms, sour cream, white wine, tomato paste, paprika.


Dredge pork in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, set aside. Cut up onions, slice mushrooms and sauté together until onions are softened. Meanwhile, melt some butter (not a lot) and add some oil in a skillet and sauté the pork until it is almost cooked through. Add about a tablespoon of tomato paste to the pan, add some white wine, put the mushrooms and onions back in that pan, add the sour cream and some paprika for color, gently heat through, add more salt and pepper if it needs it, and serve over noodles. You can do this with boneless chicken breasts also.

A few Hints

   Poke a couple of holes in winter squash, microwave it for about 8 minutes, and when it

cools off it will be easy to peel and cut. Cook it in orange juice for nice flavor.

   If you have a recipe that calls for cutting off bread crusts, use your food processor to make fresh bread crumbs out of them, but store them in the freezer so they don’t get moldy. If you have leftover crumbs from breading something, store those in the freezer to combine with new seasoning and more crumbs the next time you need them. 

Market News – October 19, 2010

October 18th, 2010 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

   My grandmother used to say that we learn something new every day. I am reminded of that on a regular basis. Last Tuesday I was talking with Rick Wysk from Riverbend Farm about cauliflower. I asked him if he had to tie the leaves of each plant together to prevent sunburn. He told me that the varieties he grows are self-blanching. Who knew?!
   I hope that you have tried the cauliflower that is here at the market. Look at the varieties—white, purple, yellow, and pointy green Romanesco which is an heirloom variety. There are so many ways to cook this vegetable. Try roasting it, make cream of cauliflower soup, or sauté it for a change.
   The maple tree in front of my house is usually a bright yellow, but this year it has lots of orange on it. When the sun hits it just right, it makes the room I am in glow. Lovely.

Winter Market

   We WILL be having a winter market right here in the park. It will be in the old monkey house, which is right next to the administration building. If you come in the Trafton Road entrance you will find it easily. The market will be on the FIRST AND THIRD SATURDAYS OF EACH MONTH, DECEMBER THROUGH APRIL FROM 10:30- 1:30. You won’t have to pay to get into the park for this market either. We will also be using the card machine for credit/debit and EBT just like we do now.
   Except for our lack of visibility from the street, moving into the park this year has been a good move. Not only is it pretty, but we have plenty of room for the vendors with enough parking, and the park personnel have been terrific.
   We will be selling park passes as soon as they are printed. Hopefully before Chanukah and Christmas so that you can give them as gifts.

Breakfast with the Mayor

   The Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Springfield is hosting a breakfast on November 20th from 10 AM to noon with Mayor Sarno. Everyone is welcome. The cost is $25 per person. For further details please call 348-1431 or 736-2324.

Planning for Next Year

   As you might imagine, planning for our market continues through the year. We are always grateful for your suggestions. Now that we have a winter market, suggestions for that  are also welcome.
   Butler Farm will not return next year. Farming was Glenn’s avocation (he was a systems analyst), and Louise is a teacher, so she can’t do all that he did. I am not going to replace them with another produce farmer. Frankly we don’t need more produce as all of our vendors have the capability of bringing more to the market. Since the Butlers started coming to our market we have evolved so the other farmers who grow produce can supply us well.
   I continually receive requests to join our market most of which I have to decline. If a vendor has something that we don’t already have, I will consider them.

Recipe-Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi

From Gourmet, September 2009
1 ¼# kohlrabi, bulbs peeled and greens reserved for another use
½ tsp. lime zest
2 T. fresh lime juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2# kale, stems and center ribs discarded
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
Very thinly slice kohlrabi; whisk together lime zest and juice, 2T oil, and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing. Finely chop kale, Heat remaining 2 T oil in a 12” heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in

skillet reduces. When all of kale is wilted, sauté with ½ tsp salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios. Kohlrabi greens can be combined with other greens such as kale, collards, turnip, dandelion etc. for cooking.

   Kohlrabi can be eaten cooked or raw (it makes a good vegetable for dips, peel first); it has been cultivated for hundreds of years.

Learn About the Asian Longhorned Beetle

   This Wednesday, October 20th, 7PM at the Greenleaf Community Center, 1188 Parker St. in Springfield. there will be a meeting to learn about the Asian longhorned beetle which has been responsible for destroying many trees in central Massachusetts. We also have an information sheet at our market table about them. The MDAR is being vigilant to preclude destruction of trees in other parts of the state.

Jewish Community Center

   In our neighborhood of Forest Park we have a magnificent facility that is open to all—the JCC. There are programs there for toddlers through senior citizens. They also have  fabulous physical education programs for all ages including several programs for children who have disabilities. Check them out. Their website is .

Market News – October 12, 2010

October 12th, 2010 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

   Although I like to cook and bake at all times of the year, the cooler fall weather has me in the kitchen more often. The fabulous selection of fall fruit and vegetables complements many meals. I always like to use as many local products as possible.
   Last Friday evening I had several friends to dinner. I didn’t have any appetizers since dinner was after services at my synagogue and it was late enough already. I made cream of broccoli soup with local onions, broccoli, and cream, green salad with local mesclun, rice pilaf with local onions and parsley, chicken piccata, and blueberry/apple crisp with local fruit. 
   Because I have a big freezer (actually 2) I am able to pull things out in the middle of winter that I’ve frozen. I love to announce that what I’m serving has local ingredients in it. I especially like to announce when I serve blueberry anything that I picked the berries. A little awe goes a long way in my life.
   There is still plenty of time to purchase fall produce and preserve it for the winter. If you haven’t made applesauce yet, do so. It’s easy, especially if you have a food mill, and it freezes perfectly.  Wash and cut the apples into halves or quarters, put into a pot with a tiny bit of water so they don’t stick, then when they’re mushy, turn off the heat. When they’ve cooled a little bit, put them into a food mill over a bowl and start turning. When they’ve been pureed, add sugar (or not) a little cinnamon to taste, and you’re done.

   I make lots of applesauce and give much of it away. The other night I gave some to a friend who has two children. A short while later I got a phone call from her and she was raving about it as were the kids in the background. Said the kids had practically devoured it already. The difference between home made applesauce and what you buy in the store is huge, so try making it yourself. Buy utility apples or pick apples. Don’t buy perfect apples for applesauce; it’s too expensive.

Poem/Prayer (Again)

   I printed this poem earlier this year, but some of you wouldn’t have seen it. I think it’s worth repeating. It’s by Max Coots who is a Unitarian minister.
Let us give thanks for a bounty of friends.
For generous friends with hearts and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we’ve had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn;
For plain friends, who, like potatoes, are so good for you;
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;
For serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;
For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;
For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening time;
For young friends, growing as fast as radishes;
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;
And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;
For this bounty of friends we give thanks.

Planting Perennials

   Fall is an excellent time to plant perennials. The roots get a chance to grab hold and get established before the winter. We have a lovely supply here at the market.


   Soup is so easy to make. It’s hard to screw it up, but if you do (other than burning it) you can easily fix it by adding more broth, or bouillon cubes for flavor. Since soup is always better when the flavors have had a chance to blend, strong seasonings should be added carefully when cooking. You can always adjust the seasoning when you warm it up. If you’re making a creamed soup, you can always cook a few potatoes with your vegetables, which will make the soup thicker when you puree it.
   Some soup freezes well. If you want the base of a creamed soup, sauté your onions, add broth, add your vegetables, cook, then when it’s done and cooled some, puree it. At this point you can freeze it. When you go to warm it up is when you want to put in the dairy and seasonings other than salt and pepper which you can add when first cooking.
   I understand that restaurants have to charge a significant amount for a cup or bowl of soup because they have overhead, but it is cheap to make and makes a wonderful lunch or supper. When you don’t know what to eat and you open your ‘fridge and see soup there, you’re going to be satisfied. Add some warm bread and a salad, and you have a meal.

Market News – October 5, 2010

October 4th, 2010 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

   We’ve all had the experience of not seeing something that is right in front of us. That’s where the head slap and “duh!” are appropriate.
   Someone asked me where Trinity Farm was one week. I said they’re in the same spot they always are, and they’re always here, week after week; she had walked right by them. Someone else emailed me and asked why we don’t take the food stamp card at our market since the Mason Square market does. I emailed her back and said that if she attends our market she isn’t paying attention. We have been taking EBT/debit and credit cards since 2008. It is in all of our advertising, it is on a sign right in front of the market booth, and I put it in this newsletter on a regular basis. Plus, it is in every brochure or website that mentions our market including the one listing all the farmers’ markets in Massachusetts this year. Other than asking all of you to mention this when talking about our market, I don’t know what else to do to get the word out. Suggestions are welcome.
   Although our market is continuing until November 16th, 3 weeks longer than previously, if you have elder or WIC farmers’ market coupons, you must use them by the end of October. WIC is for produce, and the elder coupons may also be used for honey.

Special Meeting of the Forest Park Civic Association this Thursday

   At 6:45 this Thursday, October 7th at the Forest Park branch library there will be a special meeting with Rita Cappola-Wallace who will inform us on the latest information regarding the renovation of the Forest Park Middle School. We must be out of the library by 8, so please be prompt.

Sector H Beat Management Meeting

   It’s that time of month again for the neighborhoods of Forest Park and East Forest Park to meet with the police officers who are responsible for our sector. The meeting is open to everyone whether or not you have a problem, and it is this Wednesday at Sinai Temple, 1100 Dickinson St., at 7PM. Go in the right rear door.

This ‘n’ That

   Susan Parks and her partner are having a great time in Italy. She said that they are doing most of their cooking at home because the markets are so wonderful and eating out is expensive. The open-air markets that they have attended have many other offerings besides food.
   New England Wild Edibles won’t be coming to our market anymore with his marvelous mushrooms. He has a day job, the mushrooms didn’t do that well due to the lack of rain, and his son went back to Australia. We will miss Paul and his interesting produce.
   Trinity Farm said that the kefir (liquid yogurt), a new product for them this year, is fabulous in smoothies. What a great way to get good nutrition into a child’s body. Or anyone’s for that matter.
   Don’t forget to check out the recipes in the green crate at the market table. We only have seasonal recipes in the crate.
   I was recently told that more people are buying goat meat, not just those who grew up eating it.


Shepherd’s Pie (my way)
This will fill a deep 9” pan
1 # grass fed hamburger
boullion or broth
butter, salt, pepper
vegetables fresh cooked, frozen or canned (corn, peas, combination whatever)
Peel, cut up, and boil about 5-6 large potatoes (you want lots of mashed

  1. potatoes for this, can’t have too many potatoes for this dish.)
  2. Meanwhile, sauté onions in a little bit of oil until they are softened. You can also sauté some garlic with them.
  3. Add hamburger and break up into small pieces; cook until red is gone.
  4. If using boullion cube, dissolve it and put the broth in the pan with the meat mixture. Mix a little cold water with some flour and shake well to mix. Add this to the meat mixture and cook until the liquid is thickened some. (You are making gravy.) If you need more, then add more. If it’s too thick, add a little more broth.
  5. Drain cooked potatoes and mash adding butter and milk or cream. Mix up vegetables that you are using. Last time I made this I used frozen peas, corn, and drained diced canned tomatoes. I like the frozen corn/creamed corn combination also.
  6. Place meat mixture in baking pan, put vegetables on top and finish with a layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika, and bake until the edges are bubbly, maybe a half hour. I cook so much by looks that I really can’t tell you how long to cook it. Of course you can prepare this and refrigerate it, but allow for the longer cooking time when it’s cold.

uNi Coffeehouse Concert Series

   The second concert of the season will be on Saturday, October 16th at 8 PM. It is held at the Unitarian Universalist Society Meetinghouse on Porter Lake Drive in Springfield. Priscilla Herdman is performing. Cost is $15. Refreshments are sold.