Yep. It's September alright. The days are getting cooler and shorter, the kiddies are heading back to school, and the 2009 season of Wallingford Farmers Market is waning. It is time to start planning for the cool, dark, wet months, while we still have access to the abundance of late summer. But first, how's about some education in the form of a 4 p.m. cooking demonstration today performed by Chef George de Pasquale, owner and bread making guru of The Essential Baking Company, which is based right here in Wallingford.
Remember, Wallingford Farmers Market's 2009 season runs through Wednesday, September 30th. While you still be able to visit us at the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays all winter long, you may still want to stock up on some storage and preservable items now, while they are abundant and convenient. Potatoes and other root crops store well if handled properly. I usually get about 25-30 pounds of potatoes from Olsen for the winter, and I order them "dirty," which helps them last longer in a cool, dark, dry place for many months.
Garlic is another good storage crop, as are cured onions, carrots and beets. Stoney Plains has several varieties of garlic now. Ask them about how well each variety keeps, and for storage tips. Hard-neck garlic does not keep as well as soft-neck, for instance.
Summer Run has cured storage onions. Basically, onions need to be allowed to develop that strong, papery skin in order to protect them for long storage in a cool, dark, dry place. Still, some onions, like Walla Walla Sweets, will only keep for a few weeks, while others will keep for months.
Roma tomatoes, like these from Alvarez Organic Farms, are superb for making rich, thick tomato sauces. Stock up on them now and can them, and you'll have them to enjoy all winter long. And Alvarez also has the prized San Marzano tomato from Naples, the absolutely perfect saucing tomato.
And how about making you some pickles? Several farms have pickling cukes, like these from Alm Hill Gardens. You can also pickle beans, okra, beets, turnips, onions, garlic, and any number of crops currently available at the Market.
Freezing is another storage option. These shelling beans from Alm Hill can be frozen easily simply by removing the beans from their pods, rinsing them, and then placing them in one-pint freezer bags. I put those bags inside a one-gallon freezer for extra protection. Then later, you just drop them into boiling salted water, return to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tender. You can freeze sweet corn, too. Simple cut the corn from the cob and place in one-pint freezer bags, which fit about two ears worth of corn per bag. And blueberries freeze very easily. Lay them out on a cookie sheet or baking dish and slide them in the freezer for a couple of hours, until frozen hard. Then just slide them into a freezer bag for later use. If you have lots of berries, just keep repeating this process until all your berries are frozen. Then, use them in hot cereal, pancakes, muffins, etc., all winter long.
Okay, I could keep going on the storage theme, but I'll do more next week and get back to some new products at the Market. Like this vegetarian lasagna from Pasteria Lucchese. Or Zane & Zack's World Famous Honey Company's award-winning hot sauces.
Okay, neither products are entirely new, but they have returned after extended absences. And honestly, this is not my strongest brain activity writing day, so please excuse the tardiness, shortness, and any typos. And check the "What's Fresh Now!" listings in the upper right-hand corner for a complete accounting of what you will find today at your Wallingford Farmers Market.