Why is it important to support your local farmer’s market? “No farms no food”, says Abbey Feierstein succinctly summing up the Historic Lewes Farmers Market approach upon entering their fourteenth season as a producer only market. If you want to listen to my podcast about this Lewes institution every Saturday morning from April to November, tune into Food Therapy with Chef Gretchen
The first farmers market to begin in our local community now boasts thirty five vendors, two hundred plus volunteers and a wide diversity of locally grown produce, culinary products, meats, dairy and seafood.
A producer market requires a lot of due diligence in researching the farming and animal husbandry practices of the various applicants to sell at the market. Each new perspective vendor is visited by market volunteers to assess both sustainability and farming practices. If not a certified organic farm, which pesticides are used? Are the animals truly cage free? Are antibiotics used only to treat sick animals rather than prophylactically? What are crop rotation and soil amendment practices? Are the workers paid a living wage? Each question is carefully considered before a decision is made to allow a new vendor.
The Historic Lewes Farmers Market also provides SNAP, EBT and WIC matching programs which allows members of our community access to locally grown produce with a 100% match. Customers swipe their SNAP card for up to $20 and receive purchasing power of $40. The Markets mission statement of making the freshest locally grown food accessible to all members of the community is taken seriously by the volunteers who staff these programs.
The Gleaning Program, run by Cathy Burke who is affectionately called the ‘Queen of Glean,’ also allows vendors to donate food to Casa San Francisco, a food pantry in Milton, and receive a tax deduction of an equivalent amount. To date the Gleaning Program has netted approximately $55,000 in food donations.
This Saturdays upcoming market, October 16th is the yearly Jazz Festival themed market, featuring Mr. Everett Spells and his wandering saxophone.
Additional programs sponsored by the Market during the year include children’s story hour from 9-10, school gardening programs, chef partner demos, and scholarships for local farmers to attend conferences in sustainable agriculture.
The last market of the year, the Holiday Market, is scheduled for November 23rd, 2019. In addition to Christmas trees and Holiday wreaths, the market will be conducting a food drive for Casa San Francisco and requests customers donate both perishable and non-perishable items for the holiday season. The pantry drive will take place November 16th and 23rd. Those who wish to donate but cannot attend either market may donate directly to Casa San Francisco.
The fall season boasts many cruciferous vegetables, fresh ginger and turmeric root, hard squash, mushrooms, apples, pears, figs, okra, honey, radish, salad greens, winter greens and fresh flowers.
The Market is always looking for new and excited volunteers. If you wish to add your name contact Linda Darling through the volunteer form on the Market’s webpage.
SOME FALL TRICKS AND TECHNIQUES
Cut root vegetables into squares that are roughly uniform in size. Don’t mix different types of vegetables in the pan like Brussels sprouts with sweet potato, although you can mix ALL root vegetables with all other root vegetables. Last time I did this it was a jewel medley and I cut carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes and had them all in the same pan. Coat liberally with extra virgin olive oil or organic safflower oil (don’t use an expensive variety because the flavor will burn off) and bake on high heat (380-450) stirring frequently. You want them to sear hard on the outside and stay nice and moist on the inside. The smaller the cubes the more likely the texture will be uniform (not my favorite) but you need to turn frequently so you can cook evenly. Use oil liberally and when you are done let drain and save the oil for other dishes. Carrot oil is especially aromatic and tasty.
JEWELED ROOT VEGETABLES
2 whole medium sweet potatoes
1 lb. carrots
1 lb. parsnips
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cayenne
1-2 TB agave or maple syrup
Peel and cut in small ½ inch dice. Toss with extra virgin olive oil being careful to evenly distribute. Season. Roast at 375-400 for 30-45 minutes stirring frequently.
BAKED WINTER SQUASHES
For some reason everyone thinks they must peel and cut and seed the squash BEFORE you cook it. Winter squash is hard and round and squirrely to cut into pieces so the best thing to do is put the whole unpeeled squash into the oven and at least par cook it before you try to peel or seed it. My favorite technique is to turn on the oven to 350 when I’m cooking dinner and put a whole winter squash on a cookie sheet. When you are done making dinner in about 30 to 40 minutes turn off the oven and just leave squash inside. Take it out the next morning and it will be perfectly cooked through every time. The skin peels off like a bad sunburn you get to peel all yourself. Seed and scoop.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PECORINO
Clean root end off sprouts and cut in half. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, about 2 TB per 3 cups of uncooked sprouts. Roast in high heat oven about 375-400 degrees stirring frequently until cooked through, browning and crispy. For every three cup batch of Brussels Sprouts toss with 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 2 TB balsamic reduction or really good balsamic vinegar and 4 TB of shredded Pecorino or similar hard cheese. Sprinkle more cheese on balsamic glaze on top before serving for presentation.
BRUSSEL SPROUT SLAW
2 lbs. cleaned Brussels sprouts
¼ red onion, diced
Handful of baby kale, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup raw walnut pieces
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB vegan mayo
Juice of ½ lemon
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp Herbamare
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp agave or maple syrup
Shred Brussels sprouts in food processor, toss with all other ingredients. Keeps well and tastes better after being refrigerated for a couple of hours.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH CURRY SOUP
2 medium butternut squash
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 quart vegetable stock
1 – 1 1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 to 2 TB yellow curry paste (or more start with 1 TB and keep adding until you have the heat you want. I always use MaPloy if I don’t make my own. Check ingredients to make sure no fish products)
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1-2 TB local honey
Bake, peel seed and mash squash. Add to all other ingredients and simmer on stove. Keep checking curry and nutmeg levels for adjusting.