Summer squash brightens the Farmers Market
By Sue Davis
For The Salisbury Post
The colors at the Salisbury Farmers market have changed from the rich green of spring to the bright colors of summer.
Squash leads the change in quantity of shapes, sizes, names and colors. On display are the traditional zucchini which are dark green and show little or no taper along their length, cocozelle and other heirloom varieties, which have stripes of lighter green and are usually longer and thinner than zucchini and have a richer flavor than zucchini.
Yellow squash and scallop squash have a milder flavor than zucchini and are equally good and versatile.
A summer squash is firm and free of wrinkles or nicks. Some of the squash you find at the market may have tiny hairs on the skin, which is a sign of freshness. The green squash and scalloped squash should be deeply colored.
Yellow squash should be pale. Summer squash is perishable and should be served within a week after harvest. Refrigerate squash until ready to use in a plastic bag. Do not wash the squash until right before cooking. Moisture on the skin will make the squash spoil faster.
Simple squash recipes
To prepare squash, remove the remains of the stem and any scar at the blossom end. Small squash can be eaten raw to add color to salads or a vegetable tray. Cooking squash is more popular. How thick the squash is sliced makes the difference in your end result. If you want to pieces to remain intact, cut thicker slices. The thinner the slice, the greater chance you will have for the squash to become a rough puree.
Erica Miller of Miller Farms found her children would eat summer squash if she made it into squash pie.
A pie that looks and tastes like lemon pie! Here is her recipe.
Lemon Yellow Squash Pie
1 C. yellow squash (peeled, seeds removed and grated)
1 C. sugar
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/4 C. melted butter
2 tsp. lemon extract or lemon juice to taste
1 pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and peel squash, cut squash in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds
Grate prepared squash.
Mix all ingredients together and put mixture into pie shell.
Bake for 45 minutes on the oven’s lowest rack.
What’s new at the market?
Corn and tomatoes were available at the market last week in limited quantities. Miller Farms had white corn so sweet it didn’t need butter, salt or pepper. Several vendors had tomatoes, but only Cress Farms wanted to share its tomato story.
Duard Cress planted his tomatoes in the greenhouse the day after Thanksgiving. Because the nights were cold, he slept in the greenhouse for three or four nights so he could tend the wood stove. His hard work pleased his customers, because the first tomato purchased at the farmers market is the best tomato of the season.
Fruits and vegetables
The produce vendors have local squash, large sweet onions, spring onions, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, brussels sprouts, and many varieties of eggplants.
This may be the last week for strawberries.
Flowers, plants and herbs
Joyce’s Flowers has hanging baskets, and flowering plants in many sizes and varieties. The foxgloves are especially nice.
Bluebird Acres Farm has plants and cut flowers. The sunflowers, a local favorite are just becoming available. Last Saturday, Sharon Forthofer, from Railwalk Gallery on Lee Street, showed her painting techniques as she painted a Bluebird Acres Farm Sunflower.
Dawn’s Greenhouse has fresh cut herbs and plants available along with some container gardens of both herbs and vegetables.
Country Greenhouses has a few pepper, tomato and squash plants still available.
Owen Greenhouses a good selection of coleus, hanging baskets and impatiens available. Garrett, a horticulture student at NCSU, is going to Costa Rica for work-study; stop by his booth to learn more.
Breads, pasta, pastries, meats and eggs
How Sweet It Is and The Bread Basket have homemade pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and loaf breads of all types. Posh Pasta has many bread and cake choices. The cheese bread got praise from a customer who was purchasing another loaf, along with a focaccia round.
Have you tried a steak from T&D Charolais Beef or Brats or Italian Sausages from Wild Turkey Farms? Wild Turkey Farms has pork and grass fed beef as well.
The Bread Basket and Wild Turkey Farms have fresh eggs.
Childers Bird Houses has sturdy, birch bird “mansions.” These bird dwellings are functional and decorative. The back of each house has a door for cleaning. They can be mounted on a post or hung.
David Bartlett of Dawn’s Greenhouse has hand-turned wooden hummingbird feeders, vases and other functional pieces for the home and yard.
There are also bonnets, aprons, hand towels, lap blankets and other handmade items at the market as well.
On Saturday, June 13, Cheryl Goins of Pottery 101 will demonstrate how to work with clay.
The Farmers Market is open 7 a.m.-noon Wednesday and Saturday at the corner of Bank and South Main streets in downtown Salisbury.
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