What's Fresh

Tuna is back for the next two weeks.  This weekend, October 11th fresh Pumpkins will be available through the Pumplin Project-island children selling pumpkins to raise money for Helpline.  Now's the time to take home fresh vegetables to put up for the winter. Bring your shopping bags and stock up!


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Farmers' Market Finale

By Carolyn Goodwin

Saturday is the last Summer Market day of the year. So grab an extra shopping bag as you head out the door, and prepare to preserve the tastes of summer.

For some crops, tomorrow is truly your last chance. By the time the Winter Market opens in late November, the little orange tomatoes that I bought last week from Anne and Peter Weber at Farmhouse Organics will be nothing but a sweet memory. Some of them are no bigger than the tip of my little finger, but even those burst into a blast of flavor that belies their tiny size. Eating them fresh and naked, straight out of the bag is divine, but they also dazzle in a salad with feta and herbs, or in a simple sautéed fish dish from an island off the coast of Italy.

For tomatoes of any size, even those that are past their prime, one of the best ways to preserve their fresh summer flavor is to slow-roast and then freeze them. Ann Pyles, who grows over 30 kinds of heirloom tomatoes at her Smoke Tree Farm in Poulsbo, passed along an easy recipe. She places sliced tomatoes on a bed of herbs (basil, oregano, etc) on a cookie sheet, drizzles them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bakes them in a 250 degree oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. She then freezes them in quart bags for use throughout the long winter.

Of course, there will also be plenty of traditional fall crops at this weekend’s Market; apples, beets, cauliflower, squash, kale, kohlrabi, onions, shallots, leeks, carrots, and fennel are in peak season right now. Speaking of squash, I spoke with Rebecca Slattery of Persephone Farms about the eclectic collection she offers. She explained that many of her unusual squash varieties are heirlooms obtained through the Seed Saver’s Exchange. She pointed to a very large orangey-pink squash, called a Jumbo Pink Banana, which originated in Jamaica and is similar to Butternut but even richer in color and flavor. Slattery also offers Long Pie Pumpkins, which look like overgrown zucchinis and are reputed to be the hands-down best for pumpkin pies.

Kohlrabi is an odd-looking vegetable with a knobby lime-green bulb topped by beet-like greens. Several farmers offer it; look for smaller ones which have more tender flesh. The entire vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked, and tastes somewhat like a sweet, mild turnip. If the kohlrabi is small, there is no need to peel it; however you may want to cut off the tough base end. Stems and leaves can be chopped and included in a tossed salad. Slice or cut the bulb into julienne and include in a salad or on a relish tray with dips. It can also be simply steamed and served as a vegetable course. Slice the kohlrabi bulb or cut into bite-sized pieces and steam for 5 to 7 minutes. Leaves can be steamed lightly just as you would do spinach. I found several interesting recipes for kohlrabi online. Here are four good ideas,, including a winter stir fry. Or, you can combine kohlrabi with black kale in a stew served over some of Betsey Wittick’s local sweet potatoes. The bulbs can also be stuffed and baked like peppers, or made into a tasty gratin.
Among other treats you’ll find only at the Market are Leapfrog Farm’s impossibly long and tender leeks. Only the white and light green parts of the leek are used for cooking. Most grocery store leeks have about eight inches of useful leek. Leapfrog’s leeks have almost two FEET of sweet white flesh. Add them to Laughing Crow’s potatoes for a wonderfully warming leek and potato soup.

While you’re buying your potatoes, ask Betsey at Laughing Crow if there’s any room left on her winter stock-up list. She offers quantities of potatoes, onions and garlic for winter storage; you’ll pick them up at her Day Road farm in November. I tuck away about 20 pounds of her German Butterball potatoes inside a box in an unheated room, and the potatoes are still wonderfully edible until they’re gone, which is often well into the new year.

With all of the recent concerns about the safety of food coming out of the corporate farms, it makes more sense than ever to eat locally grown produce. There are many methods of preserving local produce through the winter. For detailed instructions on freezing, drying, canning and vacuum packing, look for info online at PreserveFood.com.

For those who dread the loss of fresh local veggies, even for a few months, there is hope. Several local farms, including Butler Green Farms, Persephone Farms, and Farmhouse Organics offer memberships in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. By purchasing a “share” of the harvest, members can visit the farm site once a week to choose from a wide selection of vegetables, or receive a basket of selected produce. Some of these programs, particularly Butler Green’s, offer produce to subscribers through much of the winter.

It’s not too soon to start planning your locally grown Thanksgiving dinner. The Winter Market will open for six weeks beginning Saturday, November 17th, from 10 AM to 3 PM with vendors located inside the hall and outside Eagle Harbor Congregational Church at the corner of Winslow Way and Madison Avenue. Several farmers plan to offer greens, squash, potatoes, onions, and other winter veggies. Watch this space for recipes and tips about how to celebrate local food this Thanksgiving.

© 2008 Bainbridge Farmers Market