July 21st Market
These are perfect conditions: having finished all the outdoor market prep for the day, I'm sitting inside and watching it rain while writing this email! I'm crossing my fingers that it will continue. This is in stark contrast to what farmers in the Midwest are enduring right now--I subscribe to email updates from a large family farm in Illinois and their emails have been filled with worse and worse news of their increasing, damaging drought. It's hard to read because we know how devastating it is for them. So please enjoy the abundance of Upstate farms this season, and give thanks--like we do--for the relatively good summer weather we've had so far.
Now is also the time to stock up on veggies, fruits, and herbs and preserve them for winter! We're so accustomed to simply popping down to the grocery store on a whim, but preserving food used to be absolutely crucial to human survival (along with winter gardening). You don't even have to deal with Mason jars and canning supplies to get started preserving your own food--many vegetables are incredibly easy to freeze! A good example is onions and related alliums: chop up the entire onion when you're fixing dinner, even if you know you only need part. Once you've used what your recipe calls for, simply put the rest of the chopped onion in a zip-top bag (or a vacuum-sealed bag, if you happen to have a vacuum-sealer), gently press all of the air out, seal, and pop it in the freezer. This winter, when you're making a soup or stew, reach for the frozen onion instead of buying one out-of-season. We do this with bulb onions, green onions, shallots, leeks, and more. The only allium I wouldn't recommend it for is garlic!
Another cool trick is freeze-drying hot peppers. Prep your peppers as you would normally, removing the seeds and stem ends, and then chop them by hand or in a food processor for larger quantities. Spread them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then place in the freezer. In a few days, check back--the peppers will have dried out. At this point I like to put them in a labeled zip-top bag and keep them in the freezer. They come in handy during the winter when I want to make a warming soup or a big pot of black beans, but don't have any fresh hot peppers on hand. I just grab the bag, spoon out a teaspoon or two, and enjoy the heat!
And speaking of preserving--if you're planning on putting up tomato sauce for the winter, we've got your herbs and seasonings! We like rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic, and onion in our sauce for a rich, deep flavor.
Here's what we'll have at the market in the morning:
Tarragon, chives, peppermint, sorrel, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme, dill, lemon balm, tulsi, anise hyssop
Baked Goods & Herbal Products:
Lavender-mint shortbread, herbed focaccia bread, "Farm Hands" herbal salve
"Romanian Red" garlic, "Polish White" garlic, yellow onions, green onions
Hope to see you in the morning!
Red Fern Farm