With July on the wane and some recent rain, produce options are increasing at market every week. Vegetables are becoming plentiful enough to think about putting food by for winter, something hard to imagine with Wednesday’s forecast of 90° temperatures.
My favorite cook book for New England produce is The Victory Garden Cookbook. Back in the 1980’s when I worked for Wilson Farms in Lexington Massachusetts, we had the launch party for the first edition publication of this comprehensive book. It’s an invaluable reference on harvesting, cooking and preserving locally produced vegetables.
Wild blueberries can’t be too far off, corn, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants will start to roll in, adding color to the menu, in addition to all the greens, beans and summer squash, carrots, broccoli, garlic, onions and more are coming into market. There isn’t much in the way of Maine grown fruits and vegetables that you can’t find at the Belfast Farmers’ Market. Fresh, local, in season. Nothing trucked in from warmer climates here.
Scott Canon will be playing at market this week.
Some day soon Kevin of Hubbard Brook Farm will be offering those peaches to die for that he grows out in Unity.
TOO WARM TO SLAVE OVER THE HOT STOVE?
Market offers a fine selection of ready to heat and serve meals. Check out Maine Meal, Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood & Maine-ly Poultry for their offerings. On any Friday, you might find main dishes from crab cakes and chicken pie to pasta alfredo.
Speaking of putting food by, here is my family recipe for Kosher Garlic Dill Pickles
NOTE: We always called them kosher, on account of the salt we used. My old family recipe does call for alum and I never cut off the blossom end as is recommended these days. Also, this recipe was from the days when we weren’t as paranoid about food contamination as folks are now. I never refrigerated these, but you probably should. I’m including this recipe for reference, and make no claims about the safety of this method. Please do your own research. A great place to start is this article from Penn State Extension . It addresses how to make crispy pickles, and answers the alum and blossom end issues among other tidbits. The Internet is full of pickle recipes.
KOSHER GARLIC DILL PICKLES
Soak cukes over night in cold water ( I always wash them in cold water and rub off the spines before soaking)
For 1 quart of pickles you will need:
1/8 tsp alum
1 – 2 cloves garlic
2 heads fresh dill with seeds
1 small hot red pepper
a grape leaf
For 6 – 8 quarts of pickles. Bring this to a boil in a stainless steel or enamel kettle:
4 c. white vinegar
3 c. water
1 c. kosher salt, the rough kind
Prepare your jars by submerging in water and simmering for ten minutes, hold in hot water until ready to use. You will want to pack and seal the jars one at a time to keep the jars hot for sealing.
Pour in some brine, add the ingredients list, placing the grape leaf over the top of the pickles and add liquid to cover at least a half inch. Cover and store in a cool dark place at least 6 weeks.
Last Sunday was Open Farm Day and several members participated. Billi Barker, Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm got some fantastic publicity from Channel 7 News. You can check it out if you missed visiting her farm in St. Albans. Looks like it was a rain or shine success. http://www.foxbangor.com/news/local-news/10502-local-farms-celebrate-open-farm-day.html
QUALITY MAINE MADE GIFT ITEMS
Market is more than produce, fruit, meat and seafood. The following members offer hand made items and value added foodstuff that would make great gifts.
Half Moon Farm – wreaths, catnip and other herbal items, dried seasonal bouquets, hand carved wooden utensils, jams, chutneys, pickles.
Hubbard Brook Farm & Baskets – hand woven baskets of all types, jams, jellies and preserves.
Fire Flower Gardens – hand built functional pottery vases, spoons, bowls and trays
Appleton Creamery – Sisters Goats Milk Soap
Gardiner’s Honey & Pollination – honey, hand cream and beeswax candles
Freyenhagen Family Farm – Maply syrup and maple products
Good Karma Farm – yarn and soaps