Week 4: Beet the Heat!

Only three weeks into market season, it’s incredible how quickly we’ve settled into our new home, and how warmly our neighbors and friends have welcomed us.

A few highlights:
– Last week, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Director drove down from New Jersey for the sole purpose of visiting the Crossroads Farmers Market and seeing federal nutrition benefits programs in action! She was accompanied by the Maryland WIC Director who came in from Baltimore for the occasion.
– Also last week, we set a record for the most SNAP (the program formerly known as food stamps) transactions in the four years of this market- a huge sign of the market’s growth.
– Within the past week, Crossroads staff have participated in and presented on our work at large urban ag and food access events in Silver Spring, Beltsville, and the Appalachian region of Kentucky!

This is just the beginning. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the article on Crossroads in last week’s Gazette. And then come by 7676 New Hampshire Avenue tomorrow, Wednesday 6/23 from 3-7pm, to see what the article calls Crossroads’ “winning formula!”

Must-tries this week:
* If the subject of this email didn’t give it away, beets are back! Don’t know how to cook them? Ask any of our vendors for tips. Beets’ deep magenta flesh, crisp texture, and juicy sweetness are a delicious addition to salads, especially when paired with a soft goat cheese. Save the greens to saute, steam, or stir-fry! Speaking of purple, check out Truffula’s purple-top turnips too.
* Now that summer is official, let the berries bonanza begin! Three Springs Fruit Farm, Musachio Produce, and Tuckey’s Mountain Grown will be in with blueberries and raspberries fresh from the field. Sweet and tart cherries are also waiting with your name on them! Pie, anyone?
* One of the greatest things about cooking real foods is joy of exploring the rich fullness and flavors of fresh herbs. My favorites right now: Sligo Creek’s garlic with an amazing long stem and fantastically pungent white-purple bulb, and Truffula Seed’s sage. Ask Josie how she and Shawn flash-fry their sage to make chips!
* Get your greens on! All of our vegetable growers will be back with more beautiful bunches of kale, chard, and raddichio– with a special deal on lettuce from Three Springs. If you’re stuck in a kale rut (though I never get sick of a quick garlic-ginger kale saute), try out the summery recipe included below.
* For dessert or a late-afternoon snack, give your taste buds a shake-up with Chapina Bakery’s new guava bread.

This week, we’re getting crafty! Over the next two markets, we’ll be painting signs and decorationsfor the Crossroads Farmers Market float in the upcoming Takoma Park 4th of July Parade, and we need all hands on deck! So feel free to come on over, grab a brush, and start painting– and bring the kids! We’ll be spending the afternoon enjoying the sounds of Zoe Kurtz on violin as this week’s Crossroads Summer Concert.

Finally, make sure to stop by the market tent and put your name in our raffle. This week’s winners will receive gift certificates to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op, Pollo Campero, and Domino’s Pizza.

See you tomorrow at the Crossroads– should be a beautiful day!

Leafy Greens, Raisins and (optional) pine nuts

adapted from the cookbook Greens, Glorious Greens.

This recipe is great with any dark leafy green such as kale, collards, chard, mustard greens or a combination.

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale (or other dark leafy green)

1 onion or bunch of spring onions

1-2 cloves garlic

1-2 TBS olive oil or butter

handful pine-nuts (optional)

handful raisins

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Sautee onion in olive oil or butter (or use combination of both) until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute for only 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, bring small amount of water to boil in a large flat saucepan. When water is boiling, throw kale (stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces) in water. Boil for 3-5 minutes. Watch for color to turn bright green and remove from water at this point.

If using pine nuts, toast in toaster oven or use a broiler. Alternately pine-nuts can be toasted in pan that onions are sautéed in, once onions have browned.

Shortly after garlic has been added to onions, toss in a handful of raisins and sautee for about 1 minute, until raisins start to swell and brown. At this point, turn off heat, add cooked kale and toasted pine-nuts and toss all ingredients in frying pan to coat with olive oil. If needed add more olive oil at this point. Also add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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