Savoring the Seasons: Corn, conversations and cookbooks!
By MARY MCCLINTOCK
Thanks to a kind invitation by Zenaida Diaz, Activities Director at Poet’s Seat Health Care Center in Greenfield, I spent a LOVELY hour last Friday chatting and enjoying locally grown treats with Poet’s Seat residents. We sat around a big table, munching on cherry tomatoes from Greenfield Community Farm (which some residents remember as the town’s Poor Farm) and plums from Clarkdale Fruit Farms. Joining me were residents Esther Lapierre, Linda Garfield, Carolyn Finn, Martha Sadoski, Martha Pauig, William Herron, Elizabeth “Peg” Karas, Phyllis Loomis, and Violet Tracy. Hopefully, I spelled everyone’s name correctly!
We talked about favorite ways to prepare late summer vegetables and fruits, and how to store and preserve them. Linda told us about how her father roasted corn in the oven (see below). Martha Pauig said it was similar to how she cooked corn in a microwave oven.
We also told stories about fruits and vegetables we picked when we were kids. Esther said she had to pick LOTS of raspberries when she was a kid and she helped her father empty maple sap buckets on their farm in Rowe. We all agreed we love sugar on snow!
William asked Peg about when she used to ride the “Polish airplane.” At first, I was puzzled, then I remembered seeing special cucumber picking contraptions: trucks with sides built out like airplane wings. Pickers spread out on mattresses on the “wings” and reached down to pick the cucumbers. Peg said there were 16 acres of cucumbers on Hillside Road in South Deerfield.
On my way home from Poet’s Seat, I got fresh corn from Batch’s Patch farmstand next to Boyden Sugar House in Conway. My friend, Grace Edwards, came for dinner. I was roasting chicken, so we tried Linda’s corn method. As Linda said, it was very tasty, and a bit “richer” than corn cooked other ways.
If I’m not using my solar oven or cooking something else in the electric oven, I cook corn the “Cooking Green” method, by submerging it in boiling, salted water, turning off the stove, and letting it sit covered in the water for six minutes (see “Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen” by Kate Heyhoe). I got “Cooking Green” at World Eye Bookshop and regularly use its energy-saving cooking methods.
Now’s a GREAT time to get cookbooks at World Eye because the kind folks there are donating 10 percent of cookbook sales in August to the Free Harvest Supper. Stock up on cookbooks for yourself and for gifts to friends and family. If the World Eye raises $500 in donations through cookbook sales, they will DOUBLE their donation! For information, visit www.worldeyebookshop.com or call 413-772-2186.
We don’t have the final figures yet, but so far we’ve raised about $4,000 for the supper. That means that much in Farmers Market Coupons will be available to our hungry neighbors who visit the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry — and local farmers will receive about $4,000 for their produce. Hooray for our community’s abundance and generosity! See www.freeharvestsupper.org.
Speaking of farmers markets and corn, have you tried Hattapon’s Thai Kitchen’s grilled corn at the Greenfield Farmers Market? FABULOUS! I regularly eat an ear as I stand in the weekly peace vigil. I asked Hattaporn Wattanarat and Beth Greeney what makes it so tasty. They said they baste the corn with a mixture of coconut milk, salt, and palm sugar (or regular sugar) several times while grilling. YUMMY!
This Week We’re Eating ...
By Linda Garfield, Greenfield (as learned from her father)
Leave husks on fresh corn and rinse them off. Put ears of corn on a cookie sheet, wet them a bit, then roast them in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.