Thursday, October 6, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 10/7/16

Bring your top hat and cane to the market tomorrow.  You can tap to the tunes of the Great American Songbook.  Richard Hugh Roberts makes his market debut performing the favorite classic Broadway and film songs from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Stewart’s Bakery will have breakfast: sausage and eggs with biscuits and gravy and hash brown casserole for $5 or a giant cinnamon roll for $3. Both choices include coffee or juice.

Fall is everywhere at the market.  Fredricksons and Brakers will have big beautiful mums as well as pumpkins.  Last week I saw many varieties of kale and lettuce, as well as boc choy. broccoli, turnips, radishes, acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, green beans and some of the biggest prettiest onions I've ever seen at the market (and that's just a fraction of the produce choices.

Oakwood is harvesting their baby ginger right now. To quote farmers Karen Scott:  Fresh locally grown baby ginger is very different from the mature ginger that you purchase at the store. The beautiful pink and cream colored rhizomes are very tender and mild; there is no need to peel it, you can simply chop and use. In contrast, mature ginger has a tough skin, and fibrous center and is strongly flavored but stores well.

 Baby ginger has a shorter storage time after harvest and should be used within a couple of weeks. The whole root freezes well for grating into teas, soups and stews throughout the winter. Baby ginger is great for making pickles, syrups and in stir-fries. Its’ also wonderful preserved in fermented foods such as gingered carrots, Korean kimchee and kombucha. 

You will find a recipe provided by Karen at the end of the column.

Baby ginger is just one of the special crops coming in right now. The Yang Family Farm had chayote pears on Tuesday. Chayote is actually a member of same gourd family as cucumber, pumpkin and squash. It features a crunchy texture and mild sweet taste that compares to butternut squash.

When cooked (and that is how it is usually eaten), chayote is usually prepared like summer squash. It is generally lightly cooked to retain the crispy consistency. It’s pronounced “chī-ˈyō-tē”.

Whether you’re looking for the new and exotic or the tried and true, you’ll find a great selection of produce right now. (Except we have no apples, bummer.)

Webb City’s Pack 25 will be at the market selling popcorn and other treats tomorrow as a Boy Scout fundraiser.

On Tuesday the market will be open from 4 to 6. Stewart’s Bakery will served chicken and noodles with salad and potatoes for $6 and a bowl of chicken and noodles with a roll for $5. Rob Pommert will play. 

Be sure to stop by, there are only three more Tuesday markets this year.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 22. That’s the day that Bob Foos will be at the market taking fall portraits. Details next week!  (That's a photo - of a photo of my parents that Bob took during a fall photo session at the market about five years ago.  It is precious to me.)

Japanese Pickled Ginger (gari)

Makes about 1 cup
Adapted from Laura McCandlish for NPR

4 ounces fresh baby ginger
2 cups water
Several thin slices of raw beet or carrot (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus an extra sprinkle
1/2 cup rice vinegar (cider, white wine vinegar may be used)
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar (or more to taste)

Slice ginger paper-thin with a mandolin or vegetable peeler Place slices into a bowl, barely cover them with cold water and let stand 30 minutes.

In a saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil while you drain the ginger. Add the ginger and cook, stirring to soften, about 30 seconds. Drain the slices in a colander, tossing to make sure they don’t retain water. (This blanching step can be skipped if young ginger is especially fresh and not fibrous.)

Sprinkle the ginger (and the raw beet slices or carrots, if using) lightly with salt and put in a lidded sterilized jar. Add the vinegar to a nonreactive saucepan, and bring it to a boil, stirring in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Use a funnel to pour the hot liquid over the ginger, mixing well (it should completely cover the slices).

Tightly cover the jar, allow it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate. The pickled ginger, which is ready to eat after several hours, keeps well in the refrigerator for up to six months.