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October beans an alternative to lima beans

By Sue Davis
For The Salisbury Post
Lima Beans have been in short supply at the market this season, so I went looking for an alternative with the same complex flavor ó and found October Beans. These native beans are also known as horticultural beans, cranberry beans and speckled beans.
Throughout the south they are preferred in the ěshelly stageî when the seeds inside have ripened and have not started to dry. The pods have changed color and have a wilted, rubbery feel, especially near the stem. Unlike dried beans, the ěshelliesî can be boiled or steamed for 20 to 30 minutes and seasoned like lima beans or butter beans. In addition to October beans, there are fresh crops of green beans and crowder peas. The produce vendors have local tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, green beans, okra, cucumbers, and several varieties of eggplants. Lee Lys had tender collards last week and large bok choy. She is not sure how long the collards will last in the heat, but she will have baby bok choy Saturday for sure, as well as other late summer favorites at the market this week.
Several vendors have Brown Turkey figs again this week. They are plentiful this year, but need picking to stay ahead of the insects that are drawn to the sweetness of the fruit. Remember, figs do not improve after picking and are incredibly fragile when ripe. When you get them home, refrigerate immediately until you are ready to use them.
Another fruit that is abundant this year is peaches. We are fortunate to have vendors coming from orchards with many varieties available to them. There should be another four weeks of peaches. If you have never tried freezing or drying peaches, you might want to try this way of preserving summerís goodness. Melons are very sweet this season, and blueberries are still available.
This is the time when hanging baskets need to be refreshed. Joyceís Greenhouse has hanging baskets and potted plants for the patio or garden. Bluebird Acres Farm has annuals and perennials. Donít forget a bouquet of fresh flowers to bring the colors of summer inside.
Buying local does not just include produce and plants. There are interesting crafts and prepared salsas, sauces and cheese spreads. Locally raised pasture-fed meat and poultry is available from Wild Turkey Farms and T&D. Fresh eggs are available from several vendors. Our bakers are busy creating new offerings. Have you tried new baguettes and Danish pastries from How Sweet It Is?
The Salisbury Farmers Market is open Wednesday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon at the corner of Bank and South Main streets in downtown Salisbury.
Sue Davis is a Master Gardener volunteer.

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