Of the Earth: Farmers market community springs anew

  • From left, Auda Gonzalez, Damarles Morales and Sally Fuller of Comida Latina set up shop serving homemade tamales during Saturday’s Greenfield Farmers Market. For the Recorder/Wesley Blixt


For the Recorder
Published: 4/30/2019 3:50:53 PM

The day was chilly and wet when I arrived to the opening of the Greenfield Farmers Market on Saturday. It was the sort of day that leaves folks double-checking the calendar and that forces vendors to grab at their tent poles to keep them anchored.

Despite the weather, there was Mary McClintock, looking hale and hardy, having survived the roughest of the winter’s challenges. She was bundled against the wind in her usual spot in a vigil for peace and social justice.

Most readers don’t need to be reminded that every Wednesday for a decade, McClintock faithfully filled this space with recipes, stories and a never-flagging commitment to local ingredients and local farms. Even on Saturday, she was ready with a deliciously appropriate recipe (which appears below).

Market veterans, it seemed, were exactly where they were supposed to be. Holding down one end, there was Anna Meyer of Conway’s Hart Farm, discussing some of the organizational challenges associated with a new barn. At the other end was former Market Manager Dave Paysnick of Rainbow Harvest. Somewhere in the middle, Matt Delaney of Amherst churned out favorites from the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison and John Prine.

At the same time, however, green new shoots of growth were just beginning to appear. Dorothea Sotirus and Jeri Case were on hand as the latest graduates of the rigorous Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Program, along with veteran members Amy Moscaritolo and Inflorescence Farms’ Melinda McCreven — who also runs the annual Cabin Fever Seed Swap.

Then there was, for the first time, Auda Gonzalez, Damarles Morales and Sally Fuller of Comida Latina, who were serving up homemade tamales (corn masa filled with meat or vegetables and steamed in corn husks).

Finally, the market debuted its new manager, Sue Lahoski, and Assistant Manager Trouble Erin Mandeson, who anticipate continuing to be involved with getting the word out about the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The theme of food assistance programs brings us back to Mary McClintock, who, in her Community Action role, noted that the 15th annual Belly Bus Community Food Drive has been scheduled for Aug. 2. She also generously offered the following new take on an old favorite: French toast.

“I visited with my friend Linda Smith Koehler in Maine recently,” she explained, “and I knew she’d have lots of eggs from her six chickens. I thought we could have French toast, so I brought some fabulous gluten-free bread.”

McClintock recommends Our Daily Bread of Chatham, N.Y., which gets delivered to Green Fields Market on Tuesdays and Fridays.

She also brought with her to Maine some maple syrup from Boyden Brothers Maple in Conway.

“When I suggested French toast, Linda said, ‘Oh, I have a great way to make that,’” McClintock recounted.

McClintock said she was going to a brunch potluck, and planned to make the dish again using the raisin cinnamon bread, eggs from Farm on a Rock in Conway and Ciesluk Farmstand in Deerfield, milk from Mapleline Farm in Hadley, Boyden Brothers maple syrup and a layer of wild blueberries from The Benson Place, which she froze through the winter.

“I know it will be really popular,” she said.

French toast bake

Beat together the following ingredients and let them sit for a few hours (overnight is good):

8 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups bread crumbs or bread torn into bits

After these ingredients soak, pour them into a buttered 8-by-8-inch baking dish.

If you have them, poke in fresh or frozen berries. You could also put in bits of sausage or other meaty bits (fake or real).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until golden and fluffy.

Wesley Blixt lives in Greenfield. He is a longtime reporter and is the author of “SKATERS: A Novel.” Send him recipes, stories and suggestions at wesleyblixt@me.com.

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