I love that the wind-down of our summer market season coincides with the biggest cooking holiday of the year. As if you didn’t already want to simply stock up everything, Thanksgiving makes it so you actually have to. It always makes for a bustling, high-energy day at the market. And, this year, an early snowfall compounds that urge to be kitchen-bound and cooking.
It’s a good time to make stock and, well, take stock, too.
This has been quite a season. Never have our farmers had to grapple with so much weather in such a short span. From hurricane-force winds to torrential downpours, to lightning storms on harvest days, this market season has tested the mettle of our farmers like no other in the 11 years I’ve been running farm markets.
To wit, this is what John-Erik Schellenberg of Black Creek Permaculture Farm had to say about the season’s hardships:
“There was a period of 8 weeks where we couldn’t drive on our fields – all the produce we brought to the market was hand harvested and wheelbarrowed out to the field edge through the mud. It was a nightmare.”
And yet, they harvested. Largely because they knew they had grateful shoppers like yourselves who would turn up rain or shine to buy their turnips and sprouts, radishes, apples and chard. This Saturday Black Creek will be back at the market with crates of beautiful mesclun.
So, in this week of giving thanks, I first and foremost want to thank you, the shoppers, for supporting your market week in and week out this year. Our farmers really couldn’t do it without you.
Next week when you serve your holiday meal we hope our Hudson Valley bounty will be squarely represented on your table. We are so proud to bring you the best of what the region has to offer in artisanal cheese, pastured meats, just-caught fish, colorful eggs, superior breads and so much more.
Folks can get pretty personal about how they bake (or smoke, or grill or brine) their bird. So I like to stick to sides when proposing recipes for the Big Day. You can always take a gamble on a new side dish since, presumably, there will be many at your table.
This year, I’m feeling the Swiss chard. Maybe it’s because I’ve got peace on the brain. But most likely because it’s been looking so gorgeous at the Sun Sprout tent. Here is a recipe for a Swiss Chard and shiitake mushroom casserole (remember to pick up your Shiitakes at the Letterbox tent). Imagine this dish capped with a spoon of McGrath Cheese Co.’s new cultured cream (which, incidentally, should cap your favorite pie as well). Tired of your usual butternut squash recipe, try this grilled butternut squash with a bright shallot vinaigrette.
Though you may have your solid family pie traditions you may want to sneak a peek at this fantastic collection of showstopper pies as beautiful as they are lip-smackingly delicious. Check out the Ombre Apple!
We look forward to seeing you after the holiday at our outdoor Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 markets. On Dec. 15th we move indoors for a festive holiday market at the First Congregational Church where the market likes to winter. From January through the end of March we will be there on the first and third Saturday of every month from 9 to 1 p.m. It’s fair to say that 95 percent of our vendors will be participating in that market so you won’t have to go without your favorites for too long.
The CFM wishes everyone a peaceful holiday.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)