Dane County Farmers' Market eNewsletter
June 18, 2011
6:00 am - 2:00 pm
Downtown Madison Parking Map
(Private ramps and street parking are also available.)
Sweet and Juicy ...
... Strawberries are coming on strong at the
Dane County Farmers' Market
--Photo by Bill Lubing
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This Week ...
|Check Out the Great Herbs ...
... available from transplant from Cabin Creek Herbs.
[West Main St.]. --Photo by Bill Lubing
Dear DCFM Enthusiast,
Giving, Caring, Sharing, and Friendship at the DCFM
Whether it's giving a discount for those less fortunate, raising money for area food pantries, or restoring a battered and bruised farm to a high level of conservation integrity, Dane County Farmers' Market
(DCFM) vendors show us how to do it right.
Not only is the DCFM a great place to come shopping with a friend, this week we feature "the friendship plant," and why it's so easy to love.
Strawberries, peas, asparagus, fine meats, cheeses, and bakery are just a few reasons to do your weekly shopping at the DCFM. Read on to find out what's happening at the farmers' market that is not only the largest producer-only in the country, it's one with a fine sense of giving back to a huge community of faithful customers.
See you at market.
Giving, Caring, and Sharing at the DCFM
Lori and Chris Robson of Chris & Lori's Bakehouse present over $4,000 worth
of DCFM gift certificates to Chris Brockel of the Community
Action Coalition. --Photo by Bill Lubing
Chris and Lori's Bakehouse
At the June 4 DCFM Chris and Lori Robson held their Market Dollar Food Drive. They converted all of that day's net proceeds to DCFM gift certificates. The total was $4,115, enough that Market Manager Larry Johnson needed to print additional certificates.
The couple decided to donate the gift certificates to the Community Action Coalition (CAC), an organization that supplies food to numerous area food pantries. Recipients of the gift certificates can use them at the DCFM to purchase fresh, locally produced food, whether it be bakery, meats, or produce.
Chris Brockel, Manager of the Food & Gardens Division of the CAC notes that at this time when the need is greatest, the ability for many people to contribute resources to the organization is reduced. This donation of DCFM gift certificates will provide thousands of meals for those in need.
Lori notes that DCFM patrons went beyond what they were asking when it came to donations. She says "many, many times" during the food drive folks would purchase a cookie or scone, "put a $20 on the counter and tell us to keep the change." She and Chris offer their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to those who made their food drive a success, with special recognition going to Tony and Julie Hook, of Hook's Cheese Company, for their $200 purchase during the drive.
DCFM Gift certificate come in $5 increments and can be used at any DCFM vendor. They never expire. To purchase gift certificates visit the DCFM web site.
Cress Spring Bakery
When Jeff Ford of Cress Spring Bakery heard about Chris and Lori's Food Drive, he had a brilliant idea (of which he's had many!).
The FoodShare Program is similar to what used to be called food stamps. Patrons have a card (similar to a debit card) that is swiped at the DCFM Information Booth (on Saturday) or at Silly Yak Bakery (on Wednesday) to receive market dollars, coupons that can be exchanged for food at the DCFM. It is a hugely popular program, with over $40,000 in transactions last year at the DCFM.
Jeff decided to give a break to those paying with market dollars by giving them a 25 percent discount. Jeff's contribution makes it a little easier for those on an extremely limited budget to enjoy high quality, locally produced bakery.
Tory Miller (left) co-owner and executive chef at L'Etoile and Graze restaurants with
John and Dorothy Priske of Fountain Prairie Inn and Farms. --Photo by Bill Lubing
Fountain Prairie Farm
When John and Dorothy Priske bought their farm in 1986 they grew corn and soybeans, a tradition with thousands of Wisconsin farmers. Over the years they raised beef and hogs along with other specialty crops. When two of their dogs died of cancer in quick succession, the couple began to think there had to be a better way to farm.
Through their hard work spanning many years, the corn and soybean fields have evolved into natural prairie and pastures containing high value grasses upon which their Highland cattle thrive. They plugged ditches to restore wetlands long dry and used for crops. Most recently they installed a wind turbine on the farm that generates a substantial portion of the energy needs of the farm, with excess energy being sold back to the utility.
Today the natural grasses and wild flowers are similar to what would have been found on the prairie 150 years ago. The wetlands are teeming with life, especially during the spring and fall when thousands of sand hill cranes and other birds temporarily call it home. Their animals are content, spending most of their time eating the grasses. The Priskes have created a sustainable environment to be passed down to the next generation.
For this reason the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservaton Association named the couple "Conservation Farmer of the Year." They were honored by the Columbia County Land & Water Conservation Dept. for this achievement with a luncheon held on their farm on June 13, 2011. The luncheon was prepared by Tory Miller of L'Etoile/Graze Restaurants and featured several speakers, including Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Ben Brancel. The Priskes then offered their 150 guests a farm tour.
Slide show of the luncheon, speakers, and farm tour
Return to In This Issue Contents
Meet the Producer: Norwegianwood
Deb Sharpee of Norwegianwood. --Photo by Bill Lubing
They call it the "friendship plant." Why? Just ask Deb Sharpee
of DeForest, WI. With over 17 seasons of selling at the DCFM, Deb brings around 125 varieties of hostas to the market of the almost 1,000 that she grows.
"They're so easy to care for," she says. "They're so rewarding! There are so many colors, and shapes, and sizes," she says, that there's a lot to love about the hosta.
When you visit her stall on West Main St., you'll note that many of the hostas are sold in clumps. There may be as many as six plants in the clump. Deb says it's easy to separate the clumps into two segments. Then, either spread them out in your yard or, "share with a friend. That's part of the reason the hosta is known as the friendship plant," she says.
Using a sharp, broad-blade knife, Deb says to cut the clump in half like you might a piece of fruit. Then firmly tear the two pieces apart. By the end of the growing season they'll both be thriving.
Hostas are one of those plants that's hard to kill. Coming up and spreading year after year, Deb says to make sure they have water, though they "don't like to have their feet wet." Contrary to popular belief they don't need to be in continuous shade, though protection from the most intense of the sun's rays is desirable.
It was Deb's mother who originally got her interested in hostas. With a natural love of plants (when not tending her hostas Deb works as a horticulturalist at Pioneer Seed Company) the genetic instability is what fascinates Deb about hostas. She says that's why there are so many variations with widely divergent sizes, colors, and shapes.
A member of the iris family, the flower of the hosta should not be overlooked. Some of them are quite fragrant, blooming in August and September. If you're not interested in the flowers in your landscaping Deb notes that they can be cut off of the plant with no ill effects.
Other than an open house once a year, the Dane County Farmers' Market is Deb's main selling venue. She loves the market and feels that the customers are quite knowledgeable. For any of those with questions, she encourages them to ask the vendor, whether it be her or another.
Deb says that people are, "sometimes a little shy about asking questions and not buying. But that's part of the Dane County Farmers' Market. It's about having the producer there and becoming educated about what they have to sell.
"That's part of the bragging rights we have at the Dane County Farmers' Market," she concludes with a smile.
Deb says July 2 will probably be her last day at the market this year. After that she'll be preparing for her open house, to be held July 16.
For a friend, your father on his special day, or just because of their sheer beauty, it's hard to go wrong with hostas. And with an expert like Deb to guide you, it won't be long until you'll have "more than a few" of these hearty friendship plants adorning your landscape ... and those of your friends.For more information:
Deb & Ron Sharpee
HD Video Bonus:
It's Easy to Love this Friendship Plant:
Deb Sharpee Shows You Why.
Return to In This Issue Contents
At Market This Week
Farmer John points out the finer details of cheese curds
[At Saturday's Market on South Carroll St.] --Photo by Bill Lubing
We strive to keep this list as accurate as possible. We probably missed an item or two that is at the market or listed an item as available when it is not. Chances are not all items mentioned or listed below will be at each market.
Due to inclement weather, product availability, and other factors, some vendors listed below may need to cancel participation in this week's market.
Spring is "busting out all over" at the Dane County Farmers' Market. We saw broccoli, snap peas, a lot of mint, and strawberries at Wednesday's market, which means even more at this week's market.
Expect to find early season green and purple kohlrabi, basil, kale, and any number of varieties of lettuce. Peas (and pea vines), garlic scapes, and some nice early-season bulbs, are starting to show up while spinach, asparagus, and sorrel are holding their own. Look for yukina savoy (Chinese cabbage), mustard greens, and plenty of mint, cilantro, and fresh oregano.
In addition to the broccoli mentioned above, several vendors are offering broccoli raab, leeks, and cucumbers. Several vendors are offering delicious new potatoes.
Of course there's plenty more at the market. Grilling out for Fathers' Day? Check out the many vendors offering meats of all types that go perfect on the grill. Too busy for all of that. Ask your favorite vendor about the best choice for a crock pot or to slow cook in the oven.
And don't forget bakery and cheese from the market. The DCFM offers a huge variety of both, all made locally and sold by the seller!
Potted, dried, hanging, or transplantable, there's plenty to choose from for those who are still planting their gardens. And for those who'd rather enjoy without the work, check out the large selection of cut flowers at the DCFM.
To find a vendor or product you can: 1) check the DCFM website or take a leisurely stroll through the market. If you'd like to check with your favorite vendor about product availability, go here, then do a search for contact information. And remember, you can always inquire at the Information Booth, at the corner of North Carroll and West Mifflin streets at the top of State St.
Whole wheat sourdough
CheeseReturn to In This Issue Contents
Sheep milk cheese
Mixed milk cheeses
World-class aged cheeses
Fresh Cut, Dried Flowers
Fresh Vegetables Beets
Dried Arrangements Cut Flowers
Red Curly Willow
Onions (several varieties, overwintered)
Jams, jellies, preserves
Vegetable, herb, and flower transplants
Meats (Grass and grain fed) Angus beef
Brats and sausage
Fresh and smoked trout
Bloody Mary mix
Flavored sea salt
Infused olive oil
Soup (canned and frozen)
Very Simple Strawberry Sauce
Very Simple Strawberry SauceBy Sydney Mike
Very simple strawberry sauce. --Photo by Starrynews
A true sign of the season, there should be a good supply of strawberries at this week's market. Celebrate with the simplicity of this strawberry sauce.Ingredients
- 3 cups fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or use honey from the DCFM)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Hull and rinse berries, then drain them well.
- Cut berries into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Add lemon juice and toss gently, then let stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours so the juices will form.
- Cover and refrigerate
- Best if used within a 24-hour period.
Adapted from food.com
Fast and Easy Minted Sugar Snap Peas. --Photo by Kiwidutch
Fast and Easy Minted Sugar Snap Peas
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- Wash and chop the tips off of the sugar snaps
- Put 1 inch of water in a saucepan. Put in the peas and bring to a boil. Boil on highest heat for one minute.
- Drain, add all of the mint and toss well.
- Serve immediately.
- Be surprised and pleased!
Adapted from food.com
Return to In This Issue Contents
2011 Saturday Outdoor Market Schedule
Date: Begins April 16, 2011 through Nov. 5, 2011
Hours: 6:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Downtown Madison on the Capitol Square
2011 Wednesday Outdoor Market Schedule
Date: Begins April 20, 2011 through Nov. 2, 2011
Hours: 8:30 am to 2:00 pm
Where: 200 Block of Martin Luther King Blvd.
Questions About the Market?
If you have any questions about the market or the vendors, please contact the market manager, Larry Johnson, at 608-455-1999 or email him at email@example.com. The DCFM website provides much information as well.
Dane County Farmers' Market
Please contact Ruth Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about volunteering at the market breakfasts (winter months only) or during the outdoor market at the information booth. It's fun, rewarding, and really appreciated by the market-going public.
Friends of the DCFM
For information on volunteering for any educational projects and programs on the Square or becoming a member of Friends of the Dane County Farmers' Market contact Danielle Wood at friends.Danielle@gmail.com.
Looking Ahead ...
...Radishes add some terrific snap to any
salad. Now's the time to pick up these fresh
radishes from Wa Lor. [West Main St.]
--Photo by Bill Lubing
Plenty of Offerings for Fathers' Day
Whether that special guy likes to grill, garden, or sip coffee with fine bakery, there's plenty to choose from at the DCFM. Perhaps he appreciates a fine cheese or a great cut of meat. If so the DCFM is your source for the best in locally produced products.
As our article on Deb Sharpee and hostas reveals, sometimes getting into gardening can be very easy to do. Maybe this is the season to see if you can get your dad interested in trying out his green thumb.
Or maybe, just a stroll around the Capitol Square to chat with the vendors, smell the fresh flowers, and enjoy the weather will be a gift for your father that's pretty much impossible to duplicate anywhere else around.
Until next week ...