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Archive for the ‘farmers market’ Category

Well, it’s the peak of summer, and National Farmers Market Week, so your primary mission is clear: find your local farmers market!

Sure, the supermarket sells tomatoes, peaches, corn, melons, and so much more. But there’s something magical about the taste of a tomato that was harvested at peak ripeness the day before, as opposed to supermarket varieties that were picked while green before being hauled across the country. Your farmers market is the place to find those treasures. The best ones also carry local dairy, certified organic veggies, cheeses, meats, artisan breads, and luckily for us… fresh lobsters and seafood, too. The fact that shopping there helps you support small farms and eat more sustainably? Just a big fat Bonus!!

So, if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, ( shameless plug 🙂 stop on by. The Wells Farmers Market is open each Wednesday, rain or shine from 1:30-5pm, and we love meeting our many many visitors to our area. Come taste the flavors of Maine.. blueberries, peaches, plums, and lobsters, pickled can goods, plus scrumptious fresh baked goods utilizing the fruits of our summer season.

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What to do with all this rhubarb?! With all this rain we’ve been seeing I have a plethora of yummy rhubarb in the garden. So this week I baked… and baked.. and baked. A lovely platter of blueberry rhubarb cardamom streusel bars for market, today a rhubarb chutney along with two rhubarb & mixed berry pies ~ dessert for tonight’s cookout, and one strawberry rhubarb bread for a friend. Then I made jars upon jars of my best selling Kennebunk ‘Port’ Wine Jelly for market this week and eighteen pounds went into my freezer for the rest of the season.  And yes, I’ll have more rhubarb potted up for sale again this Wednesday! 

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And just think.. only a couple of more weeks until strawberry season! 😉 

Have a safe Memorial Day and while we all look forward to the official start of summer that Memorial Day brings, I hope you’ll pause during the festivities and join in remembering those that have sacrificed all, so that we may enjoy our freedoms. We owe them a great debt.

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Coming along.. greens for market. they’ll be ready just in time for opening day.

spring greens 20I9

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Spotted at farmers market this summer. This little bandit swiped an ear of corn from one of our vendors and then ducked out of site with it.. so he thought 🙂 LOL

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Guess what contest this little guy won? One happy camper. 🙂

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This little guy always makes me smile. LOL

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Whether you call it Chow Chow, Chow-Chow, or Seasons End Relish, this dish is made in lots of variations, just like the spelling of it’s name and comes in lots of variations.

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Around our “neck of the woods,” Chow Chow is typically one of those end of the season recipes that utilizes things that are quickly fading from the backyard garden.

It’s a way to use those tomatoes that are still on the vine, but will never turn ripe enough before the first frost gets them. Alas! Same for some of the other vegetables that are included in it. You pick them, then you figure out what you’re going to do with them. But because I got carried away planting far too many tomatoes and cabbage this year, I decided to step-up my typical seasonal year end process and use up some of my green tomatoes now, instead.

Some folks use cucumbers, some use cauliflower, some use pretty much just cabbage. If you start looking for them, you’ll find lots of different variations. It just depends on what you like and don’t like I suppose. For me, I just stick with old fashioned, family tradition.

Home Food Preservation seems to be fading away around my part of the country, at least among my non-farming/gardening friends, which I think is a crying shame.  It does take a little work, but it’s always fun afterwards to share a jar with friends and be able to say “I grew and made this myself, as a remembrance of my summer garden. ” Plus…. you always know just what went in to that jar,  and I like that a lot! (Though, sometimes my aching back grumbles a bit over what it took to get it all into those jars 🙂  Apparently my devoted customers think so too; I can’t make enough of my pickled items for market each week, because they clean my out of whatever selections I bring along!

A remembrance….

Circa 1960’s: The old metal meat grinder is firmly mounted to my mom’s kitchen table, the abundance of our summer garden stacked in bowls and baskets around us. As often as I could, I’d take a turn at the grinder, cranking the handle despite my stinging, watering eyes. I watched as onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes were pulled into the turning screw, a crunching sound coming to my ears over the noise of the squeaky handle turning. Mom hovered, sure that with every turn of the handle one of my tender young fingers might join the mix in the pot that was catching the crushed green vegetables. LOL! Clear juices, tinted green, dripped from every point of the old grinder, running down to my elbow and then to the floor where a large towel was ready to catch the overflow. The bright green pulp from the unripe remains of a bountiful harvest would be transformed into a relish with the funny name, “chow chow.”

Circa twenty-first century: As times have changed, so too have my methods. Nowadays, my Cuisinart food processor makes quick work of the unripe tomatoes, peppers, and onions. But while I am feeling nostalgic about the days I spent hand cranking the grinder in my mom’s kitchen, I share the details with my daughters. I want them to know that this is a family recipe, one that my grandmother and theirs made, salvaging the last of the fruit from the vine before winter relegated them to the compost heap. Forty-some years later, the chow chow tastes the same and my eyes still water, though as I think back to my childhood…. I’m not sure if it’s the pungent ingredients or the memories that cause the tears. Perhaps both! 🙂

I made this a few years back, and placed a jar in the New Hampshire State Fair. It won Second Place that year, and this year I’m planning to enter a new batch with hopes of getting that prized Blue Ribbon. We’ll see. Happy gardening!

 

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