Thursday, September 27, 2012

Central Square Farmers Market

I had last Monday off from work and I decided that would be the day to check out the Central Square Farmers Market.  This worked out perfectly because I missed my weekly farmers market on Saturday, so I had quite the list for this market.  In addition, I am way behind in my "stocking up for the winter freezer stash" so I needed to buy lots of tomatoes and green beans and there were many vendors to do so.

The Central Square Farmers Market has two of the best vendors in my opinion, Kimball's and Dick's Market Garden.  I'm going to go on a tangent for a minute, so bare with me.  On Saturday night, we went on a couples date night to Tempo in Waltham.  Tempo has american cuisine that features local ingredients and fresh fish daily.  I am not typically a dessert person, but when I saw a dessert special of fried peach pie from Kimball's farm, I had to get it.  If you like Kimball's as much as I do, Tempo may be worth a Saturday night out!  They have spiced apple crisp from Kimball's too if you are not into peaches.  Okay, back to the market.  I have been trying to go to different, smaller vendors to support them as well, so I bought some grape tomatoes from Hutchins Farm from Concord.  Because I am buying 2-3 pints at a time, I chose this farm because they had the best price for each pint, which was $3.  This vendor had a variety hot peppers to choose from, in fact, a costumer had stopped by because he made peach habenero salsa with the fresh peaches and peppers from the farm.  He brought some for costumers to sample and I would say that was probably good for business because it was delicious.  My next stop was to Kimball's because I love their salad mix with the pretty flowers in it.  And then off to Dick's to stock up on green beans and green peppers.  Other vendors at this market including Westport Rivers Winery, C & C Lobsters and Fish, Flats Mentor Farm, Taza Chocolate, Austin Brothers Valley Farm (grassfed ground beef), and many more.  Oh and the market is now full of fall favorites, such as pumpkins and squash.

Now that Fall has begun, I will be freezing my favorite vegetables to eat local in the winter.  My winter must haves are green beans and green peppers.  We use a lot of them in my house, so I buy extra each week for freezing.  Freezing green peppers is so easy.  I chop or dice and put them in ziploc vacuum freezer bags and pop them into the freezer.  No blanching necessary.  Green beans require blanching for 3 minutes and then a cold water bath for 2 minutes  Dry off and put into a ziploc vacuum freezer bag.  I keep doing this until the end of the season.  Last year, I ran out of green beans in March, but the green peppers last a little bit longer.

My absolute favorite fruit to freeze are grape/cherry tomatoes.  I have been buying 2-3 pints per week and roasting them in the oven for an hour along with some garlic and basil or oregano.  Then I pop them into freezer bags and use in my salads, make bruschetta, or serve with some vegetables.  It helps to pop these into some dishes to cure the winter blues (temporarily), when tomato season is so far away.

Recipe of the Week:  Roasted grape tomatoes

2 Pints of any small tomatoes you like, I used grape
spritz of olive oil
basil or oregano
4-5 garlic cloves (optional)

Wash and halve the tomatoes and put on a baking sheet.  Spritz with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.  Add some whole garlic cloves if you would like.  These can be eating after or put in the freezer along with the tomatoes.  It really gives some great taste.  Roast the tomatoes in the oven for an hour.  Then get as many of these babies in a ziploc bag as soon as you can.  Otherwise, they might be eaten before you know it!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going Local

Saturday morning, at the Waltham Farmers Market, I picked up four peppers, one large onion, five tomatoes, and two ears of corn for only $5.75 at Dick's Market Garden. I had to prepare for a dinner that my friend and I were hosting at her house. I also bought three pints of grape tomatoes from Bart's farm and a quart of plums. It is that time of year where I start buying my favorite fruits and vegetables in excess to freeze or can for the winter. I made two pints of roasted grape tomatoes to freeze. This will be my staple for salads and bruschetta in the winter when I am feeling that the summer taste of tomatoes is so far away.  In the mornings, I feel a crispness to the air that tells me fall in coming soon.  With the mornings and evenings being cooler, it won't be so painful to turn on the oven for two hours for roast my tiny tomatoes and make some plum jam.

Back to the dinner. We cooked a three course meal using only local ingredients. Since there was the first football game of the season, we decided to have football foods for our dinner. For the appetizer, we made nachos using local flatbread topped with ground bison, salsa, and cheese. The nachos had a nice kick to them. The main course was chili, made with ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and black beans sprinkled with medium cheddar cheese from Smith's Country Cheese. Dessert was local ice cream with a warm apple maple syrup sauce. All of the ingredients we used were from our local farmers markets. Our beverages included local wine from Fulchino Vineyard in Hollis NH and some beers from Throwback Brewery. It's not a true party unless my Dad does a beer tasting so we all got to try the Fat Alberta Imperial Stout. I strongly believe that the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is one of the finer things in life, if you feel the same way, you will probably like this stout. The throwback brewery buys the hops, wheat, barley, fruit, and spices from local farmers, so this was perfect for the local dinner theme.

Recipe of the Week:


1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 large green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1 cup black beans

Brown the beef and drain.  Diced all the vegetables and put in a large pot.  Add ground beef and simmer at least one hour.  The longer the better for chili.  I sometimes use a crock pot and let it cook all day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Copley Square Farmers Market

I spent my last weekday of summer at the Copley Square Farmers Market.  When I initially drove by the market, I thought, this isn't that big, and then I drove around to find parking and saw how big this market actually is.  The vendors wrap around the park with all sorts of goodies to find.  I think I may have walked around the park about three times before I stopped to buy anything.  And then I walked around again to find a good photo op to capture this most beautiful day.

Okay, let's get into vendors.  What did this farmers market have?  Everything.  Altas farm, Dicks Market Garden, Fiore Di Nonni, Iggys Bread, Seta's Mediterranean Food, Sienna farms, and many many more.  I went to the Friday market, but there are also vendors that come on Tuesdays.  My first stop was to Atlas farms.  This is a certified organic farm with plenty of tomatoes.  Look how beautiful these tomatoes are.

I bought some tomatoes and some hot peppers.  My weekend projects were to make pickled hot peppers and tomato jam.  My second stop was to Sienna farms.  Everything here is so pretty you don't want to touch it, but the farmers are very friendly and tell you to touch everything.  The woman I talked to is an artist in addition to her work at the farm. Part of her job at the farm is to set up all of the fruits and vegetables in the stand.  This is also a certified organic farm and has a year round farm store on Waltham Street in Boston.

For all the Bruins fans out there, you will enjoy this next part of my shopping experience.  As I am walking around the market, I find myself stop in my tracks and think to myself, that man looks like Andrew Ference.  I quickly move to look at some flowers, but really I am trying to get a closer look to make a confirmation and it definitely was!  Who else would have a 2011 Bruins tattoo on their arm, right?  Since he was with his wife and two children, I did not bother him, but you know I was calling and texting my husband and my dad right after.

After all that excitement, I went to one last vendor, Silverbrook Farm because I knew that my friend has a farm share from that farm. They had beautiful bouquets of flowers for only five dollars.  The tricky part was picking one out because they were so pretty.  So I decided to go with my favorite color, pink.

The Copley Square Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11-6 through November 20.  This was one of the largest markets I have been to and I highly recommend you stop there should you get the chance.  And go hungry!  There are sandwiches and pastries too!

Check out these gorgeous goodies!

Recipe of the week:  This recipe was the winner in Edible Boston Magazine for their 1st Annual Tomato Recipe Contest. You can find this recipe along with other tomato recipes in the Fall 2012 issue.  I thought this was great so I had to post it.  You can pick up a copy of Edible Boston at the Copley Square Farmers Market :)

Serves 1

1 Ripe tomato

Bite into tomato and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat until tomato has disappeared.