Friday, January 31, 2014

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

Once again this week, our farmers are dealing with unusually cold temperatures. To protect their crops and livestock from the cold, farmers must take extra precautions beyond their usual work. Vegetable farmers have to cover crops with special fabric and heat greenhouses. And when snow falls, like it did on Wednesday, farmers must clear the snow and ice that accumulates on their greenhouses to prevent damage and possible collapse. Livestock farmers work diligently to keep their animals warm and water troughs thawed.

But, during all of this cold weather, I learned something new -- cows get frisky in the snow! Check out the video (above) from Chapel Hill Creamery of their girls frolicking in the freshly fallen snow!

This winter has been an especially brutal one for our farmers. It has been much colder this winter than in recent years. A couple of weeks ago, several farmers told me that they had nighttime lows down to 4 degrees. This week, I heard that some farms reached 0 degrees! And on a "warmer" night, I heard one of our farmers say "Oh good, its only going to be 17 degrees tonight". Now, that is something you don't hear a farmer in the Piedmont of North Carolina say often!

The good news is that this Sunday is Groundhog Day -- the mid-point of winter. While that doesn't mean that winter will end shortly, it does mean that the cold season is halfway over. Warmer temperatures are closer. And most importantly, the days are getting longer. In fact, everyday, the day length increases by 2 minutes. That is 14 minutes a week! Soon, the chickens will start reacting to the longer days and their egg production will kick into high gear. Longer days and more minutes of sunlight will mean that it won't get *quite* so cold at night and spring crops will start growing in earnest.

And for those of us who believe that groundhogs can predict the weather, on Sunday, Punxatawney Phil, Sir Walter Wally, and many other hogs around the country will be poking their heads out of their dens to make a prediction. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. No shadow means spring is right around the corner. We shall see!

For now, though, it is still cold and we hope that you will embrace the bounty of healthy, local food that our farmers are able to bring to Market in the dead of winter! Here is a short list of some yummy (warm) dishes you can make using local and seasonal ingredients.
Pumpkin Soup
Hearty Beef or Bison Chili
Sweet Potato Pie
Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup
And my personal favorite -- French Toast

However you enjoy the winter fare from the Market, please know that our farmers and vendors appreciate each and every one of you! Especially on those bitterly cold and windy mornings!

See you at the Market,
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES: Arugula, Asian Greens, Beets, Claytonia, Cabbage, Carrots, Cress, Collards, Daikon Radish, Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Fennel, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Cilantro, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley), Frisee, Garlic, Green Onions, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Potatoes, Napa Cabbage, Pea Shoots, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sweet Potatoes, Turmeric,  Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Winter Squash, and more
MEATS AND EGGS: Pork, Beef, Quail, Lamb & Mutton, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Veal
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES:Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
PLANTS: Bedding Plants, and House Plants.
FLOWERS: Anemones, Poppies, Stock, Mixed Bouquets, Dried Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Gluten Free Baked Goods, Raw & Creamed Honey, Pasta, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, 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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