July 2008 Weekly Updates

(Please note: Archived material contains some out-of-date information. Check current portions of web site for details on this year's market.)

 

July 31, 2008    *Plain or Fancy*

Westside Community Market • Saturdays, April 19 to November 8 • 7 am to 1 pm • Hill Farms DoT Building parking lot • Madison, Wis.

Hi All,

After a busy week Evie needed to sleep in and Jen stayed home to do housework, so last Saturday I came to the Market alone. Too bad for them they didn’t get to witness the bounty in person.

Sweet corn and tomatoes—have I died and gone to heaven? We’re now into the height of summer produce, and the living is good. As Jen’s mother said recently, with so much fresh food available, you don’t really even have to prepare anything. Of course that doesn’t stop me from fussing over elaborate meals, but that’s just because for me it’s a hobby. (Be advised: The corn will sell out.)

I found something fun at Blue Moon Community Farm (Stoughton)—Dragon’s Tongue beans. A gorgeous white bean with purple striations, it should appeal to Harry Potter fans of all ages. See what kind of witches’ brew you can come up with using Dragon’s Tongue.

The American Cheese Society has bestowed national awards on two of our WCM vendors: Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery (Monticello) won a first place award for his Emmantaler, and Brunkow Cheese (Darlington) won a first place for their Jalapeño Brun Uusto. Congratulations to both. Bruce will be bringing a 40 pound wheel of Emmantaler to Market this week, and his goal is to sell the whole thing. Stop by and congratulate him, and take some of the country’s best cheese home with you.

Bell peppers are starting to come in: I saw them offered by Vivian Green at Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard (Stoughton) and by the Bauman family (Athens). And this year’s fresh garlic crop is starting to mature. Maybe a roasted garlic bruschetta with some of the great fresh tomatoes and basil available?

And the season is just starting for one of our family’s favorite vegetables—romanesco. We picked one up from Primrose Community Farm (Middleton) last week. It really is one of the most spectacular-looking things you can buy, and if you feel the need, you can use it as a math lesson: The buds are arranged according to the famous Fibonacci sequence (just like the classic spiral to a nautilus shell). But keep the lesson short, because the best thing to do with romanesco is to eat it.

I also saw some red currants at JenEhr Farm (Sun Prairie). While many people think of them as for sweet jellies and such, they also make a great base for a savory sauce, such as for roast chicken or for a pan-fried or grilled cut of pork or elk (Jordandal Farms, Hawk's Hill Elk Ranch). They’ll have an acid punch that is reminiscent of cranberries, but they are both a bit tamer and easier to process since they are softer and easier to crush or puree. And while you’re thinking of berries, you may want to get some extra blueberries at Flyte Family Farm (Coloma) and freeze them so you can enjoy and incredible indulgence a few months down the road.

According to Cameron Ramsay, Madison Sourdough (Madison) will now be known as Madison Sourdough and Cameron’s Pastry. No surprise to the WCM faithful, of course—we’ve been enjoying his pastry since this great Market began. But perhaps now more people will get this important message. As Cam told me, “The Bread Master is going Croissant!” But he wanted to clear up any confusion—the name is the only thing that is changing. The outstanding breads and delicious pastries will remain just as we love them.

In other bakery news, the Stella's Bakery (Madison) stand has moved to the Market's western end next to the DoT building and shady picnic table area.

The hot summer days will help many of our favorite vegetables grow sweeter and will dry the hay that livestock will need for winter. The cool nights of August make for great sleeping, but they also put the red blush on the apples. As darkness falls and you’re finishing that last ear of corn from dinner, take time to appreciate the blinking fireflies and welcome the bats gorging on our plentiful mosquitoes. Enjoy the height of summer while you can—before you know it, it will be gone.

Scott Lynch for the WCM

P.S. We are pleased to announce Middleton Summer Sinfonia (http://SummerSinfonia.googlepages.com/home) will play around 10 am. Thanks to Naomi Hasan, Orchestral Coordinator, for arranging the mini-concert. Their regular venue is the Middleton Farmers' Market.

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RECIPE CORNER

Tacos Del Norte

Outstanding tacos made with grilled meat. Just the ticket when you want something delicious but don’t want to heat up the kitchen. Beef (and flour tortillas) would be the most traditional, but elk would be great, and pork is, well, pork. ‘Nuff said.

(makes 16 tacos)
2 flank steaks (beef or elk) or a rolled pork roast* (about 4 pounds of meat total)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
2-3 chunks of hardwood (oak, maple, hickory)
Corn or flour tortillas
Salsa of your choice
Juice of 1 lime
Guacamole (if desired)

Lay your meat on a cutting board and slice it into thin sheets using a long, sharp knife—a typical flank steak would be sliced into 2 sheets. Mix garlic, orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and marinate meat in it for ½ hour before grilling. Make a very hot fire. Toss your wood chunks onto the fire—it’s going to get smoky and that’s just what you want. Brush any hunks of garlic off the meat and place it on the grill. Get a good seared crust on the meat, but you don’t want to cook it too much. It’s very thin and will cook quickly, and if you cook it more than about 3 minutes per side, it will be over-done (pork can cook slightly longer). Once the meat has a nice crust on both sides, remove it to a cutting board and let it sit for a few minutes for the juices to re-distribute, then chop it up fine (a cleaver is the easiest way to do this, but a big kitchen knife will do). Serve immediately, about ¼ cup of meat per taco, with warm tortillas, salsa, and guacamole, and give each taco a squirt of fresh lime juice. The meat will give off some juice—spoon it onto the taco. Also good with grilled onions, and throw on some cilantro if you like it. This is one of the few times where cheese does not add anything, so I advise you to resist the temptation—you can eat extra tomorrow!

*Take the roast out of its net bag and unroll it—voilà, you have avery good and affordable pork “steak."
Based on Tacos el Yaqui from It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, Vintage Books.

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

This is an easy summer “technique” more than recipe. Boil your favorite pasta, to the boiling water add one whole clove of garlic (not crushed, whole). Boiling the garlic mellows the flavor. Drain everything, add wedges of soft, melty cheese (havarti, brie, and Laughing Cow all work great), crush boiled garlic clove, mix cheese and garlic with hot pasta until creamy. Add halved fresh cherry tomatoes of all varieties. Eat and enjoy! The amounts can vary according to your mood and taste.

Beeswax polish

This is not a food recipe! But it is great for polishing furniture, making sticky drawers slide, and many other uses around the house.

Beeswax
Turpentine*

Shred the beeswax—a cheese grater is a good way to do this. Cover with turpentine, which will eventually dissolve the wax. Finished polish should be the consistency of soft butter. Put some on a rag or #0000 steel wool and apply to surfaces. Buff to a soft sheen, and wooden objects will have a beautiful glow and a very pleasant aroma. A little goes a long way, so there is no need to glop it on.
*Will probably be labeled “Pure gum spirits of turpentine”. Not hard to find at hardware stores and home centers. It smells like pine sap (which is what it is made from). If yours smells like paint thinner, you got imitation turpentine, which is NOT what you want.

 

July 24, 2008    *Sweet Corn Arriving*

Westside Community Market • Saturdays, April 19 to November 8 • 7 am to 1 pm • Hill Farms DoT Building parking lot • Madison, Wis.

Hi Everyone!

It is hot. Some days, really hot. This is the time of year when unfussy food becomes one of our primary pleasures. Things are growing well and abundantly – and we are hot. It is good to be able to lay around, read fluffy books and pop one Sungold after another into our mouths. We are so grateful to the farmers and vendors who make this heat-induced laziness possible.

The first local sweet corn of the season arrives this week, and shucking it is hardly work considering the payoff. Jay Vree (Randolph) will again send son Doug to unload it from the truck just as fast as folks snap it up.

Kevin Lucey of Happy Valley Farm (Black Earth), who registers "industrious" on our lazy-meter, settled back into his organic vegetable stand kitty-corner from the Info Tent last week. Kevin is a busy school teacher most of the year; and like many successful market farmers, summers he and wife Kate employ a cadre of local youth. It was exciting to see his current crop of beans (yellow and green), beets, dill and more. Even more exciting is what all he has planted: seven different kinds of eggplant, including a neon green one. He plans to have the small, globe eggplant Oriental Express at the Market. Kevin also planted over twenty kinds of peppers and lots and lots of tomatoes including Big Zebra, Pink, Red and Yellow Brandywines and Oaxacan Gold. As we have heard from many farmers, tomato growing conditions have been challenging this year. Stop by Kevin’s booth each week for something new.

The folks from Eplegaarden (Fitchburg) also made their first '08 WCM appearance. Their raspberries are succulent and delicious. If they sell out by the time you get there and you fancy a trip to the country, go pick your own at their fabulous Fitchburg farm. Info at: http://www.eplegaarden.com/.

Bob Klebba of Morningwood Farm Nursery (Mt. Horeb) – also decidedly NOT lazy – has an amazing selection of blooming shade and sun perennials, re-blooming roses and ornamental shrubs. At this time in the summer Bob tells us that hanging baskets can be trimmed back if they’re too leggy. All baskets should be fertilized regularly for optimal performance and should be kept in a location where they do not dry out by the end of the day. I am not so good at this part, so I am glad Morningwood sells plants throughout the season! Remember when watering newly planted perennials and shrubs that a long deep soak is required to get all of the surrounding soil moist as well. If you have to start over as I did, Bob helpfully shared that containerized plant material can be planted any time of year that the soil is workable. In the heat of the summer, extra mulch should be added to keep soil moisture loss to a minimum. The Pinky Winky hydrangeas and the Trumpet Lillies were two of the most spectacular plants at Morningwood; get plants for all places and good advice to go with them.

More “new and exciting” are: blueberries abound at Flyte Family Farm; currants from JenEhr Family Farm (Sun Prairie); gorgeous statice from the Bauman Family (Athens); and the first Lodi apples of the year from Vivan Green of Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard (Stoughton). Vivian also plans to have bell peppers Saturday. Both apples and peppers appear in this week’s recipes below (though not together).

Congratulations to birthday basket winners Kate Brown and Eric Greiling. We hope you all found the birthday puzzle fun and interesting: Based on comments to Info Tent staff, a good number did! If you did not win this special puzzle drawing, remember the regular raffle bestows five gift certificates weekly (box emptied weekly).

Also congratulations to the Espe family of Hawk’s Hill Elk Ranch (Monticello). The latest edition of Sustainable Times has a cover story on Hawks Hill Elk Ranch with a few pages of pictures. They are also the first game farm in the state to be included in the Something Special From Wisconsin program through the Dept. of Agriculture. WCM is proud to have them.

See you Saturday!

Jen Lynch for the WCM

P.S. Two solo musicians return this week: Dr. Eric Heiligenstein, acoustic blues/roots guitarist and singer, is back mid-morning Saturday. Also look for young violinist Emily Lutz again serenading the crowd.

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RECIPE CORNER

Super Slaw

We eat this at least 3 times a week, it is daughter Evie’s absolute favorite dish.

6 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into matchstick-size strips
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
8 large green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
Preparation
Whisk first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

From Bon Appetit, July 1998

Apple Turnovers

This is a fast morning treat or dessert. This faux puff pastry has great flavor and texture, but is quick and easy to prepare. We’ve used it for both sweet and savory pies.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold butter + butter for filling
1/2 cup sour cream (available from Sugar River Dairy)

4 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (how about the Lodi apples from Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard!)
8 Tbs. sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Egg wash—1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, slat and baking powder. Cut in the butter, leaving it in pea-sized bits, larger than you would for a normal pie crust. If you have a food processor, a few quick pulses is all it takes. Stir in the sour cream; the dough won’t be cohesive at this point. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and bring it together with a few quick kneads.

Pat the dough into a square and roll it into an 8 x 10 rectangle. Dust both sides of the dough with plenty of flour, fold in three (like a business letter), flip the dough over and give it a 90-degree turn, and repeat the process. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. After chilling, roll out dough to make approximately 12, 4-inch squares of pastry

Toss apple slices with the sugar, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla--it should sit for 15-20 minutes so that it gives up some juice, but no longer or the apples will get rubbery. Pile apple slices over one half of a pastry square, leaving a border of 1/2 inch or so, and add 1 pat of butter. Flop the empty half of the pastry over the top of the apples until the edges meet, and seal them with the tines of a fork. Brush gently with egg wash and bake at 400˚ for 25 minutes.

Pastry dough and method from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

 

July 17, 2008    *Come out & celebrate*

Westside Community Market • Saturdays, April 19 to November 8 • 7 am to 1 pm • Hill Farms DoT Building parking lot • Madison, Wis.
Hi Everyone!

First things first: “Happy Birthday Westside Community Market!” The Market celebrates its third birthday Saturday. Stop by the Information Tent for free lemonade and cookies while supplies last, including a special mini-biscotti from Sandra Hunter of Dolci Sweets (Madison). The usual delicious coffee will be there too.

This is also the final week to try your hand at the WCM puzzle. Solve the puzzle, turn in your form and you will be entered to win one of two baskets filled with goodies from our generous vendors. Winners will be drawn after the July 19 Market for prize basket pickup at the July 26 Market. As the lottery slogan states: “You can’t win if you don’t play!”

What’s available at our three-year-old market? To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “The Market is like a box of chocolates; ya’ never know what you’re gonna get!” For us, that is half the fun.

Carrie Flyte of Flyte Family Farm (Coloma) has the first blueberries of the season; come early to buy yours. Tomatoes are coming in now; Black Russian, Brandywine and Sungolds are just a few of the delicious varieties that have been spotted. Garlic scapes are still in good supply and first heads of garlic have appeared from Bill and Cathy Mayr (DeForest) of County Line Plants and Produce and from Primrose Community Farm.

Hearty greens like chard and kale are plentiful, beans are everywhere and cucumbers have arrived. If you combine the cucumbers or beans with the lovely dill from Lor Chang (Madison) you could be on your way to pickle-plenty for this winter.

There are literally hundreds of products available each and every week: meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, plants, and prepared foods like sauerkraut, tomato salsa, cookies, pies, fresh bread. The list goes on and on. Something perhaps even more important than the products are the knowledgeable and helpful producers.

Kristin Kordet of Blue Moon Community Farm (Stoughton) provides a wonderful product for someone who is as “green-thumb challenged” as I am. Kristin has a wide array of cut herbs available: mint, chives, parsley, cilantro – she will even cut pea vines for you while you wait. I love that I can use the herbs right away; they come in just the right amount and I don’t have to remember to water the plant!

JenEhr Family Farm (Sun Prairie) now takes credit cards. That means you can stock up when your freezer is empty. Some of the first cauliflower of the season is available from JenEhr along with snap and snow peas, LOTS of basil and greens of all sorts.

The coming weeks will see the return of Kindly Kraut (Madison), the beginning of apples from Vivian Green of Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard (Stoughton) and tomatoes in more colors of the rainbow that you can imagine (look for purple and black).

Plan a feast for this weekend and help us celebrate the farmers, bakers, cheesemakers, volunteers and, you, dear customers, who make this the Westside COMMUNITY Market.

See you Saturday!

Jen Lynch for the WCM

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Recipe Corner

 

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
3 tbs. honey
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup of water

Preheat oven to 400°

Pull leaves off and place “brain side” down in a baking dish (a snug fit is best). Mix all the ingredients, except the water, together. Stir it well. Pour it over the cauliflower. Pour your 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the baking dish. This helps prevent the cauliflower from burn and sticking to the baking dish. Bake 10 minutes with the stem up. Then flip it over and bake 10 more minutes. You want it to be a light golden brown.

Pesto

Pesto simply means “smashed” in Italian and usually refers to a freshly made sauce using herbs, sometimes including nuts and cheese. Following is a classic basil pesto recipe. Pesto can be used with any herb. Try experimenting with cilantro, mint, parsley, chives or even garlic mustard (yes, the weedy kind targeted in neighborhood "pulls," but only if known to be unpolluted – learn more on DNR's site http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/fact/garlic.htm). To preserve, place pesto in sealable container and pour olive oil over the top to form a seal. This can be frozen with good results for several months; lasts for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

* 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
* 1/4 cup grated hard cheese (Parmesan, Asiago and Romano all work well)
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
* 1 or 2 cloves garlic (depending how zingy you like it) - Sorry, the garlic amount was accidentally omitted from the e-mail version!

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again. Add about 1/3 of the cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container. Process pesto until it forms a thick, smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used; mix all batches together well.

 

July 10, 2008    *Aged Cheese & Crunchy Fresh*


Westside Community Market • Saturdays, April 19 to November 8 • 7 am to 1 pm • Hill Farms DoT Building parking lot • Madison, Wis.

Hi Everyone!

Jen and Evie are off to another circus camp in St. Paul this week, so for a while I am the lonely bachelor. Thankfully, the Westside Community Market is anything but lonely Saturday mornings, as more vendors, more products, and more customers find their way there.

Bruce Workman from Edelweiss Creamery (Monticello) will have a three-year cheddar this week from one of his earliest cheddar batches. Do you like ten-year cheddar? Come back in seven years! According to Bruce milk prices are up, but somehow wholesale prices for finished cheese are down. It doesn’t make sense to me, either.

Kohlrabi is here. Sai Vang (Windsor) has piles of it, and smaller amounts are popping up throughout the Market - some the size of croquet balls. Kohlrabi is from the cabbage family. First grown in Europe around 1500, it was imported into America 300 years later. Some misclassify it as a root vegetable. The large, rounded stem section actually grows just above the ground. So mild, crunchy and refreshing. Use it cooked or raw.

Prairie Farm Produce (Oregon) has gorgeous, giant, tender, sweet broccoli heads and excellent selections of both yellow summer squash and zucchini. We could probably devote an entire newsletter to ways to use these prolific growers; for one of our favorite recipes, take a look below.

Sandra Hunter of Dolci Sweets (Madison) has exciting news this week. As of Friday (tomorrow) she will retire from her programming job of 30 years and begin life as a full-time baker! Sandra uses recipes from 1905 from her Sicilian grandmother Antonina. She plans to enter the pastry course at MATC this fall and hopes to expand her line to include, in her words, “yummy things with yeast.” Stop by her new WCM tent location next to the Information Tent and offer your congratulations. She has samples, and buying a bag of your favorite biscotti variety for later, or sooner, is a cakewalk. Biscotti's moderate sweetness and crisp texture go well with hot or iced coffee or tea, or with lemonade.

Green and yellow beans, peas, strawberries, turnips and lettuce are all in good supply. This week will see an influx of cauliflower, chard and kale. As always there will be chicken, beef, elk, pork, deer, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, honey, baked goods, plants, cut flowers and more.

This month marks the 3rd birthday of the Westside Community Market. To celebrate, we have created a WCM Birthday Contest Puzzle for all you market-goers. Get the whole family involved. Directions: 1) Print out Puzzle; 2) Solve it ; and 3) Bring it to the Market's Information Tent either this Saturday (July 12) or the following Saturday (July 19). You will be entered to win one of two gorgeous prize baskets stuffed with goodies from WCM vendors. Winners will be drawn after the July 19 Market for prize basket pickup at the July 26 Market.

Click here for the Puzzle:
http://www.westsidecommunitymarket.org/library/wcm_puzzle_july08.pdf

Have fun, and see you Saturday!

Scott Lynch for the WCM

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RECIPE CORNER

Fennel and Kohlrabi Salad

1 medium kohlrabi
1 medium fennel bulb
Small handful arugula (also known as rocket) (optional)

Lemon-Caper Dressing

1 large handful small capers
The juice of 1 large lemon + more for crisping the fennel.
Twice the amount of extra virgin olive oil (as lemon juice)
Black pepper
Sea salt
1 heaped teaspoon whole grain mustard
- To make the fennel and kohlrabi salad: Slice the fennel as thinly as you can and add to a bowl of cold water and the lemon juice. Slice the kohlrabi and then pare strips off each slice with a vegetable peeler (this is to get wafer thin slices). Add to the bowl with the fennel.
- To make the lemon-caper dressing: Crush the garlic with a generous pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle. Add some black pepper and a heaped teaspoon of whole grain mustard. Stir together.

Courtesy of Helen Graves Blog “Food Stories” http://helengraves.co.uk/?p=246

Italian Squash Pie

1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 pounds yellow squash (about 4 cups), thinly sliced*
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded dill havarti or other creamy cheese
Garnishes: fresh oregano sprigs, sliced yellow squash

Unroll crescent rolls; press dough on bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan, pressing to seal perforations. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Gently press crust down with a wooden spoon. Spread crust with mustard, and set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion, and garlic; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and next 5 ingredients. Whisk together eggs and milk in a large bowl; stir in cheese and vegetable mixture. Pour over crust. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish, if desired.
*1 1/2 pounds zucchini may be substituted for yellow squash.
Yield 6 servings
Adapted from Southern Living, AUGUST 2002
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July 3, 2008    *Happy Forks of July*


Westside Community Market • Saturdays, April 19 to November 8 • 7 am to 1 pm • Hill Farms DoT Building parking lot • Madison, Wis.

Hi Everyone!

Scott went to Market solo last week because Evie was exhausted from a week of circus camp.

“Well, Market shopping has hit easy street,” he reported. That's right, it's the time of year when anyone can come to Market and make a complete meal from the offerings without even consulting a recipe.

Green bush beans are here. Paa Vang (DeForest) has the first of the year’s crop with many more soon to follow. Our favorite thing about beans is their versatility – salads, stir fries, casseroles and raw. All good.

Cheryl Mayr of Country Bloomers (DeForest) is one of the new Session II vendors, taking over maple man Geoff King’s spot in the center of the Market across from the Info Tent. Her flowers are absolutely amazing! Cheryl and her daughter Brittany took a flower arranging course in Chicago last winter and the results speak for themselves. A bouquet always makes a great gift. Hanging baskets will be gone in a few weeks; get your wave petunias while you still can.

Andrew Bonde of Bonde’s Bees (Randolph) is another new Session II vendor. In addition to honey and beeswax items, Andrew is selling bee pollen this year. Bee pollen is said to be an excellent energy booster. Maybe that is the fillip we need to finish painting our home's exterior.

Franklin Cook of Carve Inc. (Baraboo) brings venison from his herd of red deer, the type that have been raised by European nobility for centuries. Now the meat of kings is available to us. Legend has it that Robin Hood first ran afoul of the law by poaching the king’s deer. Stop into Franklin’s stall and see if you agree with old Robin that the taste is worth a lifetime as an outlaw.

In the headlines, sadly, is yet another food-safety scare. A widespread salmonella outbreak associated with tomatoes or some other ingredient (unnamed, as of this writing) brings to mind a top reason to buy local food direct from the grower: accountability. The common factor in the large-scale recalls of the past few years, which included ground beef and spinach, is industrialization of food: growing, processing and selling on an enormous scale. That model lacks the accountability that comes naturally to a face-to-face relationship. When you buy directly from a Market farmer, he or she can avoid becoming a cog in an industrial food system; plus, you can ask questions about growing methods. It’s a win-win, better for the farmers and better for you.

But do understand our local growers do not get some of the advantages of industrial food production such as volume purchasing of seed and supplies. That means the price of food grown on a small scale is more sensitive to economic bumps including fuel prices. Some farmers tell us their seed prices doubled in the last year. And we all know about fuel prices. Yes, sometimes shopping the Market costs more than the supermarket. But at the Market, if you see something fabulous – whether staple or indulgence – remember that a local grower or baker working hard to support a family is behind it. Also factor in stupendous freshness, quality, taste.

In effect, markets like the WCM are not just places to buy stuff, and the vendors are not just people who grow or bake, then sell. When we tour the Market with Evie, our regular vendors will often comment on how big she has grown. They should know, because she has been attending the markets her whole life and those farmers have watched her grow. But we know they have also helped her to grow, and for that we thank them.

This week lettuce and red beets are in good supply, snap peas plentiful, zucchini launching. Strawberries everywhere. Chard and broccoli going strong, alongside vegetables too numerous to mention. Plus eggs, milk, meat, cheese, flowers and baked goods.

Come enjoy fruits of vendors' hard work.

Jen Lynch for the WCM

P.S. Catch some bluesy tunes 9-10 am by Dr. Eric Heiligenstein, who started out in classical guitar studying with masters. Inspired by a John Hammond performance, Eric found his way from gut strings to steel, from Bach to Mississippi John Hurt. It's "good for what ails ya" acoustic blues and rags.

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RECIPE CORNER

Warm Green Bean Salad


1 pound green beans, stems removed
4-6 eggs, hard boiled, still warm
olive oil
coarse salt
pepper

Boil beans until tender, drain. Peel eggs and cut into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Serves 4

Strawberry Refrigerator Jam


I quart chopped fresh strawberries (rinse well and hull first)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons.-1 box Low Methoxyl Pectin with calcium *(see package for specified amount)

1. Place strawberries in a medium size saucepan. Crush with a potato masher. Add lemon juice. Cook over medium heat approximately 5 minutes, or until mixture comes to a full boil. Stir constantly.
2. Blend sugar with powdered pectin in a small bowl.
3. Incorporate pectin and sugar into mashed strawberries using a wire whisk. Gently stir mixture and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute or until pectin and sugar have dissolved. Simmer one more minute.
4. Fill clean hot jars with jelly (leaving 1/4-inch of headspace) and seal with two part lids.
5. Store jam in refrigerator. After opening, jam can be stored, refrigerated, for two weeks.

Makes 3 half-pint jars.
*Pomona Universal is a brand we have used successfully.

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