Savoring the Seasons: Celebrating 10 years of food and community

  • Dave Lewis buys some eggplant and peppers from Maria Topitzer of the Lyonsville Farm in Colrain at a previous Farmers Market in Greenfield. Recorder file photo

  • Mary McClintock

For The Recorder
Published: 7/11/2017 3:02:41 PM

Never in my wildest dreams while I was growing up could I have imagined I’d someday write a newspaper food column.

Clearly, I dreamed wilder in July 2007 as this month marks the 10th anniversary of “Savoring the Seasons.”

Inspired by Juanita Nelson and press releases she and I wrote before Greenfield’s first Winter Fare Farmers Market, I proposed this column to the Recorder’s then-editor Tim Blagg. I told Tim my intention was to celebrate locally grown food and farms and the Franklin County community. Then and now, as I said in my first column, “My goal for readers and myself is to have fun learning about great food. I don’t intend to sit off by myself thinking up things to write — it will take a community to write this column. I thrive on suggestions and questions.”

Indeed, we’ve thrived on recipes and stories readers have shared, as well as tasty food grown by our Franklin County neighbors. We’ve all learned from more than 500 recipes featuring locally grown food.

Every week since 2007, I learn from readers and local farmers about countless ways to enjoy food grown in Franklin County.

I’ve known Diane Sievers for years, but hadn’t heard of pickled cherries until she shared her recipe last week. Ten years ago, I didn’t know about Gilfeather turnips or kohlrabi or that Apex Orchards grows delectable apricots or that Bostrom Farm’s shoulder butt bacon is the best for BLTs. I didn’t know the hundreds of neighbors I’ve met through this column.

Since 2007, some Franklin County farms have stopped producing and many more have begun. More people are growing their own fruit and vegetables. I see more hand-lettered roadside signs saying “Eggs for Sale” near houses with chicken coops. Partly thanks to Franklin County CDC’s Western Mass Food Processing Center, more Franklin County residents are producing “value-added products,” such as sauces, jams and fermented foods with locally grown food.

Ten years ago, we couldn’t buy locally grown fresh ginger or enjoy fresh local greens year-round. Many Franklin County farmers now grow crops over an extended season, thanks in part to area winter farmers markets inspired by that first Greenfield Winter Fare that Juanita Nelson dreamed up.

Franklin County has more farmers markets and community-supported agriculture farms. Restaurants, like The People’s Pint, and stores, like Foster’s Supermarket, that have always featured locally grown food are now joined by restaurants and stores across the county that proudly serve and sell food grown right here by our neighbors.

While many of us enjoy locally grown food, many of our neighbors don’t have enough to eat. Organizations that provide food to our hungry neighbors do a valiant job in the face of increased demand. Yet, thanks in part to local organizations like Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and our dedicated elected representatives Congressman Jim McGovern, state senators Stan Rosenberg and Adam Hinds and state representatives Steve Kulik, Paul Mark and Susannah Whipps Lee, our Massachusetts neighbors now can use SNAP benefits at farmers markets. Families get delicious, nutritious food and local farmers get paid for their produce. Along with supporting economically sustainable farm businesses, many community members help farm workers live safely and well in our community.

In July 2007, I shared my friend Margaret’s smart formula for enjoying local food now and later. Thanks for joining me in savoring the seasons — then and now!

This week we’re eating ...

Eat Half — Freeze Half Green Beans

By Margaret Rossiter

Heath/London, ON

Get 2 quart boxes of beans

Wash, cut off stems, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

Blanch for 3 minutes (put in large pot of boiling water, count time from start of re-boil)

Remove half from boiling water and put in large bowl with ice/cold water.

When iced beans are cool, drain, pack into freezer bags and freeze. Let the other half cook until done to your taste, then drain.

Stir in 2 T. vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, pepper.

Cool, then add diced cheese — either feta or sharp cheddar.

For detailed bean freezing information, visit:
www.pickyourown.org/beansfreezing.htm

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com.


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