I’m feeling very thankful for the farmers’ markets right now, and appreciating how much they feed us, not just in fresh local food, but in connections as well. As people are wary of grocery stores and cooking more at home—and are longing for connection-- farmers’ markets are more important than ever right now. Unfortunately, we do need to make some adjustments to keep markets safe and healthy spaces.
The Franklin County Farmers’ Market just had its first weekly market of the season, run entirely through online preorders and delivery to customers’ cars (it will operate this way at least through May 9). It was surreal chatting with our fellow vendors behind masks, and we really missed the customer interaction that we look forward to every week, catching up with regulars and getting to know newcomers through shared excitement over fresh food. These distancing measures have brought out how important community is to the farmers’ market experience. While it feels like we’re missing that community right now, I think we just need to find creative ways to connect with each other. We miss seeing our regular customers smile when they see we’ve brought something new to market and hearing what they made with our produce last week, but I’m trying to remember that we are still interacting with each other when placing and receiving orders, lovingly harvesting and packing herbs and vegetables, and enthusiastically cooking with that produce. We’ll get through this chaotic and uncertain time, supporting each other the best we can, and we'll appreciate the smiles and conversations all the more on the other side!
We’re excited to be joining another community this week at the Chevy Chase Farmers' Market at the Apostles Anglican Church, 200 Colony Boulevard in Lexington! We were a one-time vendor last year, and it was a great little market! We’re looking forward to being there each Wednesday this season, starting April 22. The market runs from 8 to noon and will be a normally structured market with some common-sense safety precautions. Find more about how the market will run in this video. We’re eager to connect with you there!
Packing orders at the Franklin County Farmers' Market. Photo by Emily Lofald.
Kevin practicing socially-distanced friendliness at the Franklin County Farmers' Market
What a wet week! The garden—and everything else—is saturated with rain, weeds and insects are out in full force, and it’s a challenge to even get out into the garden to get anything done in the mud. We’re very thankful for the protection of our agricultural high tunnel over our tomatoes, tomatillos, and some herbs, but could use a dome over the whole farm!
But weather aside, it’s been a good week! We were happy to contribute to the Franklin County Farmers’ Market’s first monthly South Frankfort Food Share program of the season. The Food Share is a cooperative buying program that allows people to buy a box of assorted vegetables on a sliding scale based on their income. In addition to food access, the program seeks to educate participants on how to use fresh vegetables that may be new to them, and to build community. Dandelion Ridge Farm was proud to contribute parsley and collards to this month’s variety of veggies. The next food share will be July 16; you can sign up for a share starting July 3 if you’re interested.
We’re also bringing some new items to market this week! We’re harvesting our first heads of red cabbage and first bunches of celery this week! The cabbage is a variety called Integro, with a beautiful pearlescent color and succulent, sweet leaves, and it is featured, along with green tomatoes, in our new Lizzie’s Chow Chow relish! This chow chow recipe was passed down from Kevin’s maternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Jenkins, an active subsistence farmer and food preservationist in rural east Texas. Her cooking skills—and the dishes she fed her loved ones--are family legends, and we’re excited to share her chow chow with you! We love it best over a big bowl of black eyed peas and cornbread for an extra dollop of luck and deliciousness!
I used to think of celery in the same category as onions and garlic; they add flavor and crunch to dishes, but other than raw celery sticks with a dip, I didn’t really think of them as a vegetable in their own right. I would buy a bunch of celery for a recipe, then only use a few stalks and the rest would sit in fridge until it got limp. But this year, I’ve gotten into roasting celery and eating it as a side dish, and this has totally changed my relationship with what is now one of my favorite vegetables! I don’t typically follow a recipe when roasting celery, but here is basically what I do. The flavors of thyme, tarragon, and fennel complement the celery really well. I hope you’ll try it and fall in love with celery like I did! Find the recipe for Roasted Celery and Fennelhere.