Farmers market update
By Sue Davis
For The Salisbury Post
The Salisbury Farmers Market is a living scrapbook of our community. Most of the produce is grown in Rowan County and the crafts are made here. Each customer has a shopping routine. Some stroll from end to end and then begin to shop. Others stroll, browse, and visit as they make selections. Few leave empty-handed. Many leave with bags of fresh produce, meats and herbs to last them until the market is open again.
Asking for help from the growers is very common. Erica Miller of Miller Farms was asked to select a cantaloupe for a customer. She first asked when the melon would be served so she could select one that should be at its prime. If you see something that looks interesting, but you aren’t sure how to prepare it, ask. The growers have recipes and ideas. Many times one of the county’s best cooks is right beside you and will give you good advice.
Saturday I encountered two men talking about how to create a baked peach dish.
The Salisbury Farmer’s Market is open Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon until October 31. During the next few months you will see a transition from the colorful harvests of summer to cole crops, winter squashes and pumpkins, plants for fall planting, jams, honey and hearty baked goods.
New this week
Everyone is waiting for English peas to reappear. Several growers hope the peas are ready this week. Cole crop plants like cabbage and collards will be available from Dawn’s Greenhouse, pansies will begin to appear and mums will be plentiful. Muscadine grapes are available at several vendors. Cress Farms has apples. Their ginger gold apples make good apple butter and the gala apples make naturally sweet apple sauce. Cress Farms will be at the market Wednesday but they are taking a well-deserved trip to the mountains with their church on Saturday.
Oxendine Farms of Woodleaf, a regular at the market on Wednesday, is now at the market on Saturday. Their booth is full of tempting summer squashes that are richer in color than familiar patty pan squash but are the same shape. There will be a good selection of heirloom tomatoes until frost.
Dawn’s Greenhouse has dream pillows, therapy pads and lavender sachets. Dream pillows ó fragrant herbs sewn into pillows ó have been around for centuries used by European mothers anxious to lure their offspring into tranquil sleep, by those seeking relief from headache or depression, and by the solitary who yearned to find true love.Therapy pads can be chilled in the freezer or warmed in the microwave, depending on the need for cold or hot therapy. The pillows and pads contain a mix of dried organic herbs.
NC Sweet potatoes
North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes. The two varieties available at the market are the pale orange and the dark orange. The difference is in starch and sweetness. Use the pale varieties for fluffy casseroles and soufflé like dishes. Use the dark orange sweet potatoes for roasting and frying.
The only preparation to roast sweet potatoes is to pierce them and place them on a jelly roll pan in a preheated oven 450 degrees. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, serve in the skins or scooped into a serving bowl with butter and brown sugar. You can also slice them thin, lay them on a jellyroll pan, drizzle with oil and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Pan fry thin slices or long thin sticks in a small amount of olive oil until lightly crisp.
Fruits and Vegetables
In addition to sweet potatoes, you will find red skinned potatoes and white potatoes are plentiful at the market. Tomatoes, corn, squash, sweet peppers, hot peppers, stringless green beans, half runners, pole beans, okra, butter beans, and several varieties of purple hull peas, crowder peas and October beans are all still available. Dawn’s Greenhouse has dried and fresh cut herbs and herb plants. There are some South Carolina peaches available. Apples and local figs, Cantaloupes and Watermelons are still available.
Joyce’s Greenhouse has mums, fall perennials and a few annuals. She also has honey, jams, including damson and blueberry. Seng Yeng is ready to make you a fresh flower arrangement from your choice of colors and flowers.
Breads, Pasta, Pastries, Meats and Eggs
The Bread Basket continues to provide wheat, cinnamon raisin swirl, chocolate zucchini, multi-grain and other breads. She also has a good selection of dinner rolls and pies. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of granola to add to yogurt and lunch boxes. Posh Pasta has dumplings and pasta in addition to focaccia breads and rich pound cakes. Heather is dreaming up new recipes, so watch for biscotti and cheese straws. How Sweet It Is! has black bottom cups which look very tempting and Harvest Muffins which are just right for a cool morning.
T&D Charolais Beef has a variety of cuts of top quality beef. Wild Turkey Farms has a number of cuts of pork, grass fed beef and lots of interesting sausages. The Bread Basket and Wild Turkey Farms have fresh eggs. Wild Turkey Farms has culinary lard which has regained popularity in cooking using natural ingredients.
Sue Davis is a Master Gardener Volunteer for the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County
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The Farmers Market is located in downtown Salisbury at the corner of South Main and Bank streets. It is open from 7 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.