Encouraging Signs

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At the market yesterday a man asked for tatsoi. He didn’t pronounce it correctly, but I knew what he meant. I didn’t recognize him. He wasn’t one of our regulars. After I handed him the tatsoi he said he’d bought some last week, not knowing what it was, tried it and loved it. So he was back for more. A little while later the same scene was repeated with a different customer, who came back for more bok choy after buying some from us the previous week, having never tasted it before. He liked it so much he came back for more.

Those kinds of things encourage us. Of course we sold out of the more familiar things, like bacon and collard greens. But we’re selling most of our Asian greens too now. People here are discovering the wonderful variety that a local seasonal diet can offer.

And we learned yesterday that this year, for the first time ever, our market will stay open in the winter, expanding the community’s access to local food even more.

Good things are happening here.

And it’s beginning to look like fall.

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25 comments on “Encouraging Signs

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    I know they love it. Wish I could visit your stand.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    “My” farmers don’t grow many Asian greens. I think Bok Choy is it. I ought to take some time and wander through the other sellers’ wares. No telling what’s there. I ought to find out what to do with them, too. It was hard enough to turn myself into a lettuce eater, but maybe it’s time to expand. Just a little.

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    • Bill says:

      I think we’re the only farm at our market offering any Asian greens other than bok choy. We’ve been trying to get folks to try them and it’s good to see more and more people discovering how good they are. Not only delicious, but nutrient-dense too! Some credit these foods for the lower rates of cancer in countries where these kinds of foods are dietary staples. Whether or not that’s true, it’s undeniable that they’re both good and good for you. 🙂 If you decide to try them, try stir frying them with some onions and carrots. Put a little soy sauce on them and enjoy!

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  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, people coming back for more of something they tried that was new to them is encouraging. Apparently, farmer’s market people are a little more adventurous with food than store shoppers. I’ve been told that most households will only have a small list of meals that they fix over and over again. That’s really true for me as well. I have about five that I continually use from day to day. Variations of that same meal may happen by different side dishes that go with the main dish but it still basically the same meals. Yeah, I know I’m pretty boring when it comes to food. For me personally, soup could be on the menu every day and it would satisfy me just fine but the rest of the household would violently object. When I was young and growing up, I had a short list of meat and vegetables that I liked but now in my adult mature years pretty much anything goes for food. I’m not one that desires and lives for new food creations but I can enjoy the meal when I happen to be presented with a new and different meal.

    What would you be bringing to the farmer’s market during the Winter months? Does your weather stay warm enough to grow anything during the off season? Snow and single digit temps keep us from growing any thing outside. I may attempt to grow some greens in my basement this year. I had good intentions last year but good intentions don’t make it happen. 🙂 It would never produce much more than a few salads but it might be tasty to have a fresh salad during the middle of the Winter.

    Have a great encouraging Sunday.

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    • Bill says:

      I used to be that way too. Ate the same things over and over again. Now that we’ve gone to seasonal eating I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. Now I really enjoy the change of diet that comes with the change of season. There are so many good foods out there, it seems a pity not to enjoy as many of them as possible. 🙂

      Unless we have a very harsh winter (as we did last year) we can overwinter the hardy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, collards, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, cauliflower, etc. We’ll see. Even if nature doesn’t cooperate on the veggies, we’ll have pork.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. BeeHappee says:

    That is cool to hear. Our farmers market does not carry things that are out of ordinary. But there are others around that do, last week we were able to get Mexican sour gherkins and local grown baby ginger. And my CSA this week had 5 bags of greens, a huge variety of mixed greens, including purple mizuna, and my favorite for flavoring, wrinkled crinkled crumpled cress. 🙂 Once you try all the good stuff that is out there, you never ever go back to iceberg lettuce.

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    • Bill says:

      Glad you’re enjoying your CSA Bee! A funny thing about iceberg lettuce. Last year we grew some just because I figured people would want to buy it. Hardly anyone did! They wanted the Romaine instead. Why settle for tasteless food when there is so much awesomeness to be had!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. avwalters says:

    And what will you sell in the winter?

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    • Bill says:

      Winter veggies–cold hardy crops like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, etc. as well as our pastured pork. We’ll sell the things Cherie makes too–granola, baked goods, etc.

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      • avwalters says:

        Interesting. Unless one has a heated greenhouse, there are no winter “cold hardy crops” here. Good luck with that.

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      • Bill says:

        I should have included Asian greens and Swiss chard. Not only can most cool weather veggies handle winter here, the frost actually improves the taste of some of them–like collards. We should have plenty of sweet potatoes to offer in the winter market too. We’ll be harvesting them in the next couple of weeks, but they’re not at their best until they’ve cured for a few weeks. Changing the subject, I’m about half way through The Emma Caites Way and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a page-turner.

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      • avwalters says:

        Well, thank you. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. We just dug up our potatoes–always in heavy clay soils before, I couldn’t grow them. We only tried a few plants and they did really well. Potatoes are definitely on the list for next year. Mostly the garden is winding down. There are still some tomatoes to ripen, but it’s a race between that and the frost.In the meantime, we work on the house until near dark everyday, and fall into bed exhausted.

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      • BeeHappee says:

        We do have a few winter markets also (northern IL), and this year I intend to visit them, because I am already crying about the ‘weaning’ off the good stuff end of October. Since May I had not purchased veggies or fruits at the store, very hard to get back to eating store stuff. Looking forward to winter markets.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Our local market actually closed early this year 😦 The weather in early summer really stunted produce growth here so attendance had fallen off to nothing by late Sept. I”m hoping that next year will be better and the market can sustain itself longer .

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    • Bill says:

      We sell at two markets. One, in a smaller town, closed at the end of September. The larger one goes until the end of October, then will resume again in January.

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  7. As said earlier, I wish I could visit your stand! ❤
    Diana xo

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  8. Like the idea of your market staying open in winter. Definitely a sign of thing looking up. Also interested in the collards. I read the other day in our local newspaper that they are becoming popular. I’ve used them forever in my African chop. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      They’ve always been popular here in the South. Probably because so much of our food culture originated in Africa. They’re a wonderfully delicious, versatile and nutritious food!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. EllaDee says:

    Wonderful that your customers trust and enjoy your produce so much they are trying new things, and coming back for more.
    Even better that the market will happen over winter… a great opportunity for people to eat seasonally along with you.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s our hope. When I was a boy the only thing we planted in the fall were turnip greens. Lots of people here just haven’t discovered yet how much great food nature can give us year round here.

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  10. Laurie Graves says:

    Beautiful picture! And how nice the market is staying open in the winter. As for greens…I’ll take the bok choy but pass on the collard greens. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing collard greens in farmers’ markets in central Maine. But perhaps I wasn’t looking for them 😉

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    • Bill says:

      Collards are probably more of a southern thing. But if you ever get the chance you should try them. They’re wonderful!

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      • Laurie Graves says:

        Actually, I have had them. I know a farmer with southern roots who grows them. He boiled them until they were a soggy mass, and the fat and spices he added could not make up for this. At least as far as I was concerned. I’ll stick to bok choy 😉

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