Friday, May 3, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

PLEASE NOTE: Tomorrow is Central Park School's annual Strawberry Festival. This year, they are adding a 5K. Starting at 10am, there will be brief road closures on Geer St., Washington St., and Trinity Ave. as the runners run from Motorco to the Ellerbe Creek Trail. After that, there will be no further closings.

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At the farmers' market, garlic is available almost all year round, but
not always in the same form. Right now, the market is full of "green garlic" which is garlic in its immature form.

Garlic takes a long time to get to the mature garlic bulb that we are most familiar with seeing at the market in the fall or in the grocery store year round. It takes about 9 months to grow from clove to bulb. In the fall, farmers take garlic bulbs that they have saved or purchased and break them up into single cloves. The cloves are planted directly into the fields, mulched and start the long journey back to mature garlic bulbs. After a few weeks, green sprouts will start to emerge from the planted cloves. Then, starting in the spring after a few months of growing, the plant looks a lot like a leek or an onion scallion. By the early summer, the plants are starting to mature and the grow stalks or scapes that produce tiny garlic bulbils.  Finally, about a month later, the full garlic bulbs are ready to be harvested.

The amazing thing about garlic is that it is edible and delicious in all of its stages of development. Through the rest of the year, garlic be at to farmers' markets in the following forms:

Green Garlic (March-May) - These are the immature garlic plants that look like a leek or scallion. As the garlic starts to mature, you can detect tiny cloves starting to form. Green garlic has a mild garlicky flavor

Garlic Scapes (late May-June) - These are the curly, light green garlic stalks that some types of garlic produce. The scapes are tender and edible at a certain point in the plant's development. Many farmers harvest them so that the plant put all of their energy into growing the bulb instead of producing bulbils (which will eventually grow another plant). Like green garlic, the flavor is garlicky but mild.

Fresh Garlic (June-mid-July) - This is the mature garlic bulb with multiple cloves that is freshly dug. At this point, the skin is moist similar to layers of an onion. When the garlic is very fresh, the flavor hasn't quite reached the peak of intensity or strength.

Cured Garlic (August to Winter) - Mature garlic bulb with multiple cloves that has been cured or dried for longterm storage. At this stage, the garlic skin is papery and fairly easy to peel off of the clove. Once cured, the flavor is very strong because all of the plants energy has gone into the cloves!

Lots of people ask me how I use green garlic. I use it in a lot of the same applications as regular garlic cloves. You can add it to stir fries, sautee it and put it in eggs, you can put it on the grill or roast it in the oven until it gets soft and sweet. It is also really good cooked with new potatoes and sugar snap peas! If you like things really garlicky, you may want to use a lot of it!

See you at the Market, bright and early!!
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events and Spring Schedule

Saturday May 4: Spiritual Sound Brass Band is BACK! They will be playing on the Market lawn starting at 11am!

Saturday May 11: Kids Tomato Seedling Day! Every year, the farmers set aside some tomato seedlings for kids to take home and learn about growing a garden. On Saturday May 11, kids can pick up a tomato seedling and get growing instructions from the Master Gardener Volunteers and then hear stories about growing and eating tomatoes from local storyteller Cynthia Raxter!

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:  NEW POTATOES, ENGLISH SHELLING PEAS, BROCCOLI, VITAMIN GREENS, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Bok Choi, Mizuna, Tat Soi), Arugula, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley), Green Onions, Green Garlic, Gourds, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Pumpkins, Radishes,  Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms,  Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS: VEGETABLE and HERB SEEDLINGS including tomatoes; Dutch Iris, Agrostemma, Batchelors Buttons, Sweet William, Ranunculus, Icelandic Poppies, Anemones, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Pastas, Perogies, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Handmade Baskets, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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