Apples and Onion Relish

This tasty condiment was prepared for our monthly Market Feast on Saturday, Sept. 10th, and several of our customers asked for the recipe. The blend of onion and fruit lends itself to so many possibilities you will want to whip up several batches to combine with crackers and cheddar cheese, or goat cheese or cream cheese or try it on pork or brats or chicken. We served samples on basic white bread provided by Backwoods Bakery. This fall combo was a real hit with our Market goers. We think you’ll like it too!

Here’s the recipe from www.food.com.0237451_854x480

Our chefstress supreme, Jennie Ashlock, made some important variations to our recipe. We used apple cider vinegar instead of wine, no butter…only oil, and in one batch fresh thyme was used rather than cayenne. And about that cayenne: you can definitely cut the amount in half. We also suggest trying other herbs such as rosemary or perhaps sage. It’s a great recipe for experimentation. Enjoy and let us know how you liked it. Hey, send us a picture and any new ideas you have for this delicious paring.  We’ll pass them along.

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Thanks to Jennie and Joseph Nardello, our fabulous volunteer chefs and to Pineapple Sage, Pomme de Terre Farm, Bud’s Bees, Backwoods Bakery, Ron and Cathy Arp, for donating ingredients.

Next month is OctoberFest at the Market. What do these two have cooked up for us? Find out on October 8th.

Have you tried fermenting?

sauerkraut tutorial

Photo courtesy of marblemounthomestead.blogspot.com

By September, I’m frankly tired of making pesto, washing pint jars, slicing cucumbers for pickles or heating water for tomatoes or peaches. No, the pantry isn’t full but I need a break, another way to put food by without heating up pots of water. It’s time to dig out the 5 gallon crock and make sauerkraut. This is a beautiful blog with lots of photos and easy directions. Here’s a Russian version with similar steps but from a grandma’s point of view.

Humans have used fermentation to produce food and beverages since the Neolithic age. For example, fermentation is used for preservation in a process that produces lactic acid as found in such sour foods as pickled cucumbers, kimchi and yogurt as well as for producing alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer.

They often begin as whole foods, and with the help of microorganisms, their sugars and carbs are converted into compounds like lactic acid—the stuff that gives pickles and sauerkraut their signature sour taste. The process also turns these foods into probiotic powerhouses that boost levels of good bacteria in your digestive tract, improving the health and balance of your body’s collective microbiome, or bacterial community. A healthier microbiome, in turn, has been shown to aid in digestion, increase immunity, prevent disease, and—according to some preliminary studies—reduce blood pressure and keep you slim. What’s more, fermented foods are also easier to digest because they’re already partially broken down by bacteria, says Dana White, RD, a culinary nutritionist. And whatever nutrients are in there—say, vitamin C, in the cabbage that turns into sauerkraut—are actually enhanced during the fermentation process.

So, besides being a very simple way to preserve cabbage and other vegetables, fermentation is a healthy addition to your diet.

When I really wish to impress folks, I pick up some Napa cabbage, a few Thai hot chiles from the garden and whip up kimchi. Not to everyone’s taste but if you enjoy southeast Asian foods or Korean food you will need to learn how to make this favored condiment.

Sandor Katz, known as the king of fermentation, writes that kimchi typically includes red chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Sauerkraut might include caraway seeds (his favorite), juniper berries, apples, or cranberries. Got a batch in the pantry right now. Now to get some rye bread from Backwoods Bakery this Saturday at the Market and some corned beef. There are ruben sandwiches in my future! YUM!

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Curious to learn more? Come to Malaprops Book Store in Asheville, NC in September
and meet SANDOR KATZ !
 Malaprops is thrilled to welcome fermentation and living foods expert Sandor Katz back to Malaprop’s for the re-release of his classic, Wild Fermentation! This James Beard award-winning author has given hundreds of workshops and presentations across the world, inspiring a global audience to create delicious, healing foods. This book, a New York Times bestseller, has been hailed as starting the fermentation revolution, and Newsweek calls it “the fermenting Bible.”
Event date: Saturday, September 10, 2016 – 7:00pm]

 

September means…

…a fantastic time to get your plants and bulbs in for the following years. Check out this article.

Fall Planting Gives Your Landscape a Healthy Head Start

by Greg Moberg of Allisonville Nursery
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The weather is turning cooler, which means it’s time to get out in the yard and do some planting – right?

While it might sound counterintuitive, the best time to plant a new tree, shrub or perennial actually is in the fall. When a plant is put into the ground in autumn, it may be facing the cold above ground; but in the Midwest, root growth continues until deep soil temperature drops below 40 degrees.

If you plant a shrub in spring, it must acclimate itself to its new home and begin growing immediately. At the same time, it has to produce leaves, flowers, and then endure the rapidly arriving summer heat.

Plant the same shrub in fall, and it will become happily dormant above ground soon after planting. But the roots will have several months to grow and become comfortable and strong in their new home.

When spring arrives, the plant is established and ready to put out strong leaves, new growth, and lots of flowers! Fall planting gives your plant’s roots a wonderful head start.

For newly planted and established plants, fall fertilization is very important. If you only fertilize once a year, do it in the fall.

Spring is still when you’ll find the greatest selection of shrubs and trees. But most nurseries and garden centers are beginning to recognize the value of fall planting and making special efforts to provide their customers with the best selection throughout the fall and early winter season.

When selecting those special plants for your landscape, look for healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable nursery with an experienced staff. These nurseries are in the business of selling service year-round. In turn, they depend on loyal customers’ continued confidence in their business.

Plants come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, colors, but the most important thing to consider is the quality of what you’re purchasing. It’s important to inspect plants individually. Shopping by phone or looking for the cheapest price can be a costly mistake when it comes to buying new landscape plants. Many times you will find that not all nurseries and garden centers are created equal.

A new tree or shrub can be a large physical investment. Why not give your new plant the best possible chance of survival? Get outside and take advantage of this fall planting season!

(A version of this article has appeared on Allisonville Nursery’s website.)

And don’t forget native plants. Come on down to the Market this Saturday and pick up some perennial and native treasures from our vendors. Our knowledgeable growers can give you the planting and care tips for each plant you buy. Some of these won’t be around much longer so don’t wait another weekend to spruce up your garden and landscape. See ya at the Market!

High Tunnel Cool Season Workshop 8/23

htunnelHigh Tunnel Cool Season Crop Production &
Harvesting & Handling of Fresh Produce Workshop Series, Part 2
 
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
9 AM – 3:30 PM
TCCC Center for Applied Technology
2415 Airport Road
Marble, NC 28905
The morning session will include a farm vist to a local commercial organic farm. You will experience first hand best on­farm practices when Harvesting & Handling of Fresh Produce. Then you will return to the classroom and learn how to identify the following food safety risks:
  • On farm food safety hazards when harvesting & handling fresh produce.
  • Flow on the Farm the order in which you work on the farm. Identifying potential cross contamination risks in small farm production with multiple farm products.
The afternoon session will focus on Cool Season High Tunnel Crop Production including a hands on field trip to the Cherokee Co. CoOp Ext. High Tunnel Site.
  • Basic high tunnel management for cool season crops
  • Cool season crop/variety selections
  • Transitioning into warm season crop production
  • Bed construction including row spacing (hands on)
  • Proper planting procedures for transplants & direct seeding (hands on)
Class Instructors
 
Diane Ducharme ­-  NCSU Ext., Associate in Horticulture & Food Safety GAPs Program Coordinator
Gena S. Moore ­- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Organic Research Coordinator
Jon Miller ­- Miller Farms, USDA Certified Organic Farm, Marble, NC
This is no cost workshop & lunch is included. 
Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Christina Newhouse at 8283612266 or email:wnchightunnel@gmail.com
This workshop is the 2nd in a series of 3 workshops addressing the topics of marketing, multi season crop production, financial planning, and practical applications for fresh produce safety. The workshop dates are July 12, Aug. 23, and Dec. 6. The December workshop will close the series with a 3 county farm services and local resources Expo.
Partners:  Smoky Mountain High Tunnel Initiative; NC Cooperative Extension, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Tri County Community College

Sponsored by:  USDA, NRCS

Robert Craig Mauney, NC Extension Area Specialized Agent
Commercial Vegetable & Fruit Production
Western North Carolina Counties
Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center
455 Research Drive
Mills River, NC 28759
Office phone: 828-684-3562, Extension 129
Cell: 828-989-7900
Fax: 828-684-8715
rcmauney@ncsu.edu

Summertime is the right time for (anything but) soda

Alright, but it has to be something cool and refreshing that involves a big glass with lots and lots of ice.

What about iced tea then, America’s favorite? I like blending different herbs, fruits and teas together just to experience new flavors. Pineapple Sage Herb Farm (one of our Market vendors) sells amazing blends of tea. We like to add fresh strawberries to their Ginger Lemon Tea. A few ice cubes and a sprig of mint and voila! The perfect way to shut out the heat and humidity.

Try these other blends from Pineapple Sage: Licorice Mint, Hibiscus (paired with lemon balm leaves or lavender) and Blue Eyes, a very special tea combining hibiscus, rose hips and citrus. So refreshing. Add to mineral water for a very different sensation.

And if you need more inspiration for these ‘dog’ days of August, try some additional ideas from Real Food Media to soothe a parched throat without resorting to the too sugary/too expensive option of soda.

ROSEMARY BLACKBERRY SPRITZERSRosemary Blackberry Spritzers

Serves 3
INGREDIENTS
  1. 3 cups seltzer water
  2. 1 lime
  3. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  4. 1 cup blackberries (½ cup fresh, ½ cup frozen)
  5. 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a bowl, combine seltzer water, the juice of 1 lime, and maple syrup
  2. Mash ½ cup of fresh blackberries in a cup
  3. Then add the blackberry mash to a large jar, along with the seltzer water mix, and rosemary sprigs. Make sure to bruise some of the rosemary stems to release the flavors.
  4. When ready to serve, pour into glasses and top with frozen blackberries. Garnish with rosemary.

Click below to find more thirst-quenching ideas you can sip while you listen to the Real Food Media book of the month interview with Marion Nestle. Salut!

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Join us for Taste of the Market 8.13 (that’s tomorrow!)

At the Market this Saturday: another day of bountiful produce from beans to eggplants and squash to tomatoes and peppers, zukes, cukes and melons, and nearly everything you could want. We’ve also have honey, pork, lamb, beef, and goat as well as dairy products and mozzarella and goat cheese. Add in herbs and spices, and take some blueberries home before they’re all gone. Pottery, botanical specialties, cleaning products, beautiful bird feeders and wood crafts await you. (It’s not too early to think about holiday gifts.) Some of the vendors will have samples for you so take time to visit with each one. Family Art at The Market will be here for the younger set.
It’s also Market Feast Saturday and Neil Dawson and friends will be offering you some very fine green tomato delights from fried green tomatoes to sweet or savory pies. You won’t want to miss this unique culinary array. Paired with Backwoods Bakery bread and a cold root beer from Heinzelmannchen brewery and the day is complete. Market Feast is from 10am-12 on a donation basis.
  

Wouldn’t it be great to take home some of the simply amazing items found here each week?  Well, now you can with the Taste of the Market Sampler Basket.

The Basket is one of four raffle items that will be on display at the Information desk.  You have four chances to win: one of two (2) insulated market bags– indispensable for shopping–from ASAP;  a lovely handcrafted wooden bench from Moonshine Mountain Candles; or, the Sampler–a twig basket filled with superb items from various vendors including: aromatherapy spritzer and herbal lip balm from Kathy’s Garden; handmade bracelet and doggie treats from Full Spectrum Farms; Paula’s note cards and birthday card; lavender and tea tree hand soap courtesy of Clean Slate; a quart of fine honey from Bud’s Bees; pottery from Ladybug Farms Pottery; two specialty soaps from Herbal Ridge, and, rose and lavender sachets compliments of Pineapple Sage who also donated the twig basket. All proceeds support your Farmers Market so be sure to come to the Information booth for your tickets. 

Thanks for all your support.  Get your raffle tickets at the Information Booth. You need not be present to win. See ya at the Market! taste raffle items

There is a story waiting to be told at the Farmers Market

When you shop at the Farmers Market, or just browse along the tents and tailgates, don’t you have a burning desire to delve deeply into the minds and hearts of those vendors? Did you stop to think that maybe they are just as interested in getting to know you?  That’s one of the major differences between a market and a Farmers Market. Whether you’re contemplating how to serve up yard long beans or searching for some herbal salve to soothe the chigger bites, each and every vendor and product is a story waiting to be shared.  Learning the story behind what they sell opens a highway of information for you the customer as well as the vendor.

Here are some conversation starters for your next visit to the Market courtesy of Carolina Farm Stewards 

BASIC:

1.   Why do you farm?

2.   How do you decide which products to grow?

3.   What kind of fertilizers do you use?

4.   How do you deal with your weeds? insects? diseases?

5.   Do you grow all the products that you sell?

6.   Do you have any recipe recommendations/suggestions?

LIVESTOCK:

1.   What type of livestock do you manage?

2.   How do you feed them? What do you feed them? Do you use organic feed?

3.   Do you use hormones? antibiotics?

4.   Do you provide them with access to the outdoors? Are they pasture based, free   range, or confined?

5.   How do you process your animals? Do you do it or does someone else?

VALUE-ADDED GOODS (jams, baked goods, canned goods, etc…):

1.   Do you grow all your raw ingredients? If no, where do you get your supplemental   ingredients? Are they local/organic?

2.   How do you prepare, store, cook your products?

3.   Where did you learn your craft?

4.   Why do you sell at the farmers market?

And meet our vendors

Check out all our vendors for this season and we’ll see ya at the Market!