We are looking forward once again to a lovely day, and each one brings us closer to some early veggies at the market. Just look at that lovely arugula at Heritage Farm and Kitchen! HFK will also have a new supply this week of no-nitrate bacon and Canadian bacon, which has many uses other than breakfast food.
We are very lucky at this market to have vendors willing to cook and bake all winter for you; in the Maryland markets, home-based cooks are not allowed. Here in Virginia we have a system designed not only to add value to farmers’ crops by permitting a whole range of cooking and canning on the farm, but the state Department of Agriculture also inspects home kitchens for people wanting to cook for farmers’ markets. This makes it possible for all of you to sample some amazing international cooking and a wide variety of home-baked goods through our markets. It also makes it possible for you to support these vendors in an incubatory stage of their entrepreneurial growth. Your support also helps our own local economy — every penny you spend on their goods stays in this area.
About our Celtic Pasties: If you have tweens or teenagers at home who can use a toaster oven or a microwave, these pasties are wonderful for lunch or a snack that they can warm up themselves. Nyall Meredith and his lovely wife will have the following pasties: Beef & Guinness, Cottage Pie Style, Corned Beef, Chicken Alfredo, Cheese & Onion and Spinach & Feta.
And Nancy Kahn of the Finger Buffet will have lentil curry, vegetable biryani, samosas, empanadas, spanokopita, and some sweet items. These items freeze well and are great for a quick lunch or snack or to serve guests on short notice. All are homemade, and Nancy makes them just as she would for her own family using health-conscious ingredients as much as possible. The empanadas are made using cholesterol-free dough. Organic spinach is used for the spanokopita, as well as quality butter, canola oil, and olive oil. All spices used are processed in home.
From the Market Master
Check out this print version of a story that was on the ABC Evening News this week. I only saw the very end of the story and heard maybe one sentence, but I knew I needed to learn more and after dinner (thank goodness I waited!) I found it on ABC’s website. The story highlights the use of an “additive” to ground meat in fast-food restaurants, and it will send me and hopefully lots of other people running quickly away from these establishments. But what really caught my attention was the intimation that this stuff is added to ground meat in grocery stores and other eateries that we all may frequent without even questioning that ground meat is just what it says it is and nothing more.
The more I learn about what the food industry and our own government have decided to label as food, or in this case meat, the dumber I feel. I am becoming a little paranoid about what we don’t know about our food because everything we learn these days is revealed by reporters, documentary producers or advocacy organizations who must surreptitiously obtain the facts. Think about this: They have to go undercover or wait for a whistleblower to find out what is in our food. At this point, I no longer trust what is presented to me in the store or on the plate.
And yet regulators are spending our money running around the country busting small farmers who sell raw milk — this is real, unadulterated milk just like every one of our ancestors drank until the late 19th century. I know I drank it as a child and when it was just called milk. We ate meat that was just meat and we ate fruits and veggies that were just that. But I grew up in a small town surrounded by farmers, many of whom were my relatives who brought into town just about everything we ate. My grandfather also owned a lot in the middle of Harrisonburg, Va., where he grew enough to feed his children and grandchildren — and, knowing him, lots of other people too. I imagine that many of you reading this — whether you grew up in this country or elsewhere around the world — had a similar relationship with your food as a child.
We should be grateful that some of those same farming families are still tilling the soil, harvesting eggs, and raising cattle, pigs and chickens, doing the real work of bringing us real food. It’s news such as the ABC story that reminds us how far we have come and how far we need to go, back to the future where food was food and meat was meat.
It’s just another reason — and they seem to be bubbling to the surface fast and furiously these days — to step up your own support for your market vendors, spend a little more each week on locally produced food, bring a friend to the market or pass the word through your church, garden club or, even better, community groups organized around children. We need to get to them before the fake-food people do!
See you — and your entourage — at the market!