Thursday, June 21, 2012

Webb City Sentinel Column - 6/22/12

It’s time for peach and blackberry cobbler. We’ve got loads of both fruits and their season doesn’t overlap for long. It’s also the season for other favorite pairings like green beans and new potatoes and cucumbers and onions.

But let’s talk peaches and blackberries. Did you know that peaches are thought to have originated in China but that blackberries hail from many parts of the world, including America? In fact, new blackberry varieties with names like Apache, Navaho, Arapahoe, Ouachita, Kiowa and Chickasaw honor Native Americans, who used the berry for food, medicine and dyes. And are blackberries ever good for you. So good that the Center for Disease Control suggests incorporating them into yogurt and blending them with low-fat ice cream or topping hot or cold cereal with them and adding them to spinach salad, plus lots of other ways that we’ll have at the cooking demonstration table on Saturday and on our web site (

The CDC has a list of ways to add peaches to your diet as well and we’ll have that list at the market. Frankly, I could eat half of the recommended daily five servings of produce just in fresh peaches. But the CDC list will give you lots of other ways to use peaches – salsa, fruit leather, sautéed, grilled, in drinks.

And because of the incredibly abundant season we are experiencing this year, we should have plenty of peaches, especially on Fridays.

For the first time ever, Pate’s Orchard is bringing two truckloads of peaches to market today. Add Agee’s peaches and we should have a good supply until about 1:30. So there is no need to panic about peaches running out. By the same token, we’re going to need a bunch of peach customers to encourage the Pates to bring two trucks every Friday. John has said that if there is customer demand, he’ll bring two trucks every Friday through the season. Let’s hold him to it.

Note to peach eaters – I find the best way to keep the peaches fresh is to put them in the fridge and remove those I plan to use the night before, or a little earlier if they need ripening, so they come to room temperature – and perfection.

Now for the best of both worlds. This recipe is from the July 2007 Light and Tasty magazine.

Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

12 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blackberries

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon coarse sugar

In a large bowl, combine the peaches, flour, honey, lemon juice and salt; let stand for 15 minutes. Fold in blackberries. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

For topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until crumbly. Make a well in the center; pour in buttermilk. Stir just until a soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoonfuls over fruit mixture; sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean. Serve warm. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving equals 263 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 286 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Today at the market, in addition to an amazing amount of fresh local fruits and vegetables, we’ll have Spaghetti Red for lunch, as well as chef salad. Jack and Lee Ann Sours and Bruce Harvey play for us.

Tomorrow Crime Stoppers serves breakfast from 9 to 11. Ask this group of dedicated volunteers what they’re doing to make our area safer.

Mark Barger plays Native American flute music for us tomorrow. It’s quite a treat, don’t miss it.

Saturday is our day for nutrition education when we demonstrate a healthy, easy recipe using market produce. Susan Pittman, diabetes educator with Freeman Hospital, is demonstrating Green Beans and Parmesan with Garlic tomorrow. Learn a new dish and try a sample.

Next Tuesday, we welcome Rob Pommert back to the market with his lovely combination of popular tunes from the 60’s and 70’s with a little classical and jazz guitar thrown in. Granny Shaffer’s at the market serves up freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. Our last group of students from the Webb City school district visits the market and rides the streetcar at noon.

It’s a busy week, but we might as well get in practice because the Fourth of July is upon us and we’ll be entering our busiest time of year. Luckily we should have plenty of produce for everyone as they celebrate the season and our nation.