Get Playoff Specials at the Smart Markets Farmers Market

We have BBQ and cake-pop specials at the farmers' market this week for the big playoff game, so be sure to stop by.

This Week at our Oakton Market
Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
2854 Hunter Mill Rd.
Oakton, VA 22124

Dear Shopper,

Are you ready for the big game? Or have you forgotten what it’s like to be in the playoffs? One thing you probably could not do the last time we made it this far was order up some local food for the celebration. Whether you are tailgating at the stadium or in your own rec room, we have specials for the special day.

Check out Uncle Fred’s menu and his special Playoff Offering: a slab of spare ribs, a meat container, and a large side for $35. Kylie’s Pop Shop has a great deal on Skins-themed cake pops. Get two dozen assorted pops for $38, regularly $45. You can preorder on her website.

For those of you just dying to replenish your chicken stock -- and to make some chicken stock, too -- Heritage Farm and Kitchen has processed winter chickens and will bringing fresh chicken this Saturday for the only time this year until spring. In the cold of winter, they cannot let the chicks keep growing and then bring in more as necessary because it gets so cold that the chicks don’t develop properly on an outdoor diet. They can lose the peeps, too, if they have a freeze overnight. (The farm lost 50 of the 200 peeps they brought in in December.) After this Saturday, the whole chickens and parts will come to market frozen, but there should be enough supply to get us through the coldest months.

Nyall Meredith of Celtic Pasties did not get me a menu in time for this update; he has just returned from Wales, where he spent the holiday with his parents. Check our Facebook page nearer the end of the week for the pastie selection he will bring this week.

Here is a recipe for my own chili, which is so good with Angelic Beef, and you can also spice it up with some of Doug’s chorizo or hot Italian sausage. You can also try this sweet potato and black bean chili.

Heritage Farm is bringing a wide selection of dried beans grown from non-GMO seeds, with none of the chemicals in grocery-store dried and canned beans. And also no added sugar or mega-doses of salt. Just read those canned bean labels to discover the surprises that lurk in those cans. Cooking your own dried beans allows you to season them to order -- your own order.

Have fun this weekend -- enjoy the game and your locally sourced feast!

From the Market Master

Happy New Year! I hope that you are off to a good start and that you are considering making a pledge to spend at least $10 a week all year long on local food. A show of support for our farmers this winter will help us and many other local and national organizations to encourage more of our farmers to extend their growing seasons by erecting hoop houses and greenhouses and arranging to heat the ones they have to meet a growing demand for year-round markets.

Unfortunately, the latest budget compromise does not fund many programs that help small farmers and support the growth of farmers’ markets across the country. (Read this analysis from the Farmers Market Coalition.) Meanwhile, the compromise continues subsidies for large, commercial, unhealthy farms. Which means that farmers who sell at farmers’ markets are left to fend for themselves and will depend even more on their customers to help them meet environmental challenges and use the latest techniques and technologies for sustainable farming.

We can do this! If we can, we will also help our own local economies, because the money you spend on local food stays here and is spent on local business improvements and family needs. That weekly $10 expenditure recirculates and multiplies, and we all benefit from that boost to the local economy.

Another benefit of shopping at a market is the sense of community fostered by people of all persuasions and heritages shopping together and sharing their love of healthy ingredients and their expertise at cooking with them.

One of our customers, Cheryl Cox, developed and shared with us a great recipe for a Sweet Potato and Apple Bake. Almost all of the ingredients were available at the market at the time Cheryl invented the recipe, and she also incorporated the chai-spice mix sold by Deepa Patke, our Aromatic Spice Blends vendor at our Oakton market.

Almost immediately upon seeing the recipe that we were handing out in the stand next to his, Nyall Meredith of Celtic Pasties decided to take the recipe and adapt it as a filling for a vegetarian pastie. Nyall unveiled the new pastie at the market a few weeks ago, and we surprised Cheryl, our shopper and recipe-developer extraordinaire. It was a great example of that spirit of the market that we encourage and extoll at every opportunity.

So come join us this year and start now -- there’s no need to wait for tomatoes and fresh corn. We have flavors right now that are worth pursuing, enhancing, and enjoying at your dinner table. And you live near enough to the market to take advantage of them.

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