Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hyde Park Farmers' Market

I generally make a weekly visit to a couple of farmers' markets. The Hyde Park Farmers' Market (Sundays 10 - 2, June thru October) is closest to me, so I show up nearly every week for that.

The market is held in the US Bank Parking Lot (3424 Edwards Rd.) It's a great location with plenty of parking. Lots of Hyde Parkies walk to the market (often with pooch in tow) and it gets crowded FAST, with long lines forming at several booths. I always try to get there just as the market opens and hit the long-line places first.

We're nearing the end of the farmers' market season, and I've been thinking about how to store local produce for the winter. It would have been a smart idea to think of this before now. I missed the opportunity to store spring and summer produce. It'll be autumn at my house all winter long.

Today the apples from Backyard Orchards looked great, and I know from past purchases that the Empires are better than any Granny Smith you ever bought in a supermarket. Plus the free sampling apples grower Dennis Sauerhage hands out are a great way to get in your Apple-A-Day on a Sunday morning. I bought a half bushel each of Empire (for eating) and Mcintosh (for cooking.) I've stored the Empires in the basement, hoping to keep them good for a few months. The McIntosh I'm processing today into compote for the freezer. I also bought about 50 pounds of potatoes from R&J Veggies, most of which I'll process into mashed potatoes for the freezer; winter squash (which should store for a couple of months in the basement), raw honey and eggs from Rising Sun Farm; ground beef and ground pork from Mohr Animal Acres; some beautiful lettuce from Farm Beach Bethel, a packet of four Thai Chicken Sausages from Linwood Sausage, and some shiitake-hazelnut pate from Sheltowee Farm. I managed to resist the Taste From Belgium waffles which are insanely good but which I suspect contain about 1000 calories each.


1/2 cup honey

1 6-inch stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split
8 whole cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
20 apples

In a large stockpot combine the honey, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, cloves, and nutmeg. Quarter, core, and roughly chop the apples into the pot. (I leave the skins on, but the finished product does have large chunks of skin in it which makes for a very rustic dish.) Cover and place over low heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened but not mush. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and vanilla bean. Serve hot or cold as a side dish or use as a topper for potato pancakes, ice cream, waffles, pound cake. 20 servings, 1/2 cup each. This will keep several months in the freezer.


Renee Beaulieu said...

The compote sounds delicious. The Hyde Park Farmers' Market is such a treat -- it's like being in Paris, with great local bread, pastries, honey, eggs, and meat, as well as all the veggies. I've roasted several batches of plum tomatoes and frozen them for winter pasta dishes, but wish I had done more. It was so dang hot in August, I hated to turn the oven on, even to 225 for a long slow roast.

valereee said...

Mmmmm, I wish I'd saved some tomatoes! Too late this year, I guess. Next year I'm starting the preserving early. I may even do some canning.

Aidan Ashe said...

Glad to find your blog! Would you let me know how cold and humid your basement is? I am looking forward to putting food by in the basement (or crawl space?) next year, but I worry that Colorado's extremely dry conditions will cause too much dehydration. Already the acorn squash I have kept a month feels a little light...

valereee said...

Myrto, my basement is cold enough to keep winter squash but not cold enough for apples, it turns out. :( I only got about three weeks out of the apples, but the butternut squash are going strong after 8.

I would say it's probably 60 - 65 down there year around. The sump is down there, so it isn't dry -- and this is not at all an arid area!