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Oct 25, 2007 11:06 PM

MSP - Get Thee to the Farmers' Markets!

I have meant to write this summer about my love of the Farmer's Markets and what is new and fresh, but have not, as I have been so busy cooking. Now, as the markets are winding down, I find myself in hoarding mode, and encourage others to to the same, for the good of the farmers and for the good of your larder.

I'll be out this weekend hoarding yet more storage veg., and I encourage you to do the same. Those of you who go are already doing the same; those of you who mean to, should. Here's what we're buying: Squash. More squash. For a fraction of what you'd pay in the supermarkets. Keeps well for a couple of months in a cool spot. (Use a cardboard box if your cool spot has a concrete floor.) Acorns, Hubbards, spaghetti, butternuts...go nuts. These things keep well. Just check for nicks in the skin when you're buying. Also - the locally grown potatoes are marvelous. Simple russets, not as sexy as the Peruvian blues and other fingerlings (which I have not yet seen so many of this year), but delicious and at wonderful prices. I've got 40 lbs. in the cool spot of my basement. Buy up herbs that are dryable - so many out there. I've been drying thyme like there's no tomorrow, and the sage looks lovely for Thanksgiving. The greens, not a storage item, of course, seem to be doing well this late; treat yourselves. Oh, gosh...and carrots and beets.

Hopefully there are others stocking up and loving the farmers' markets this time of year. Tell me what you're buying in case I'm missing something. And those of you who haven't gotten around to it...go. You'll be happy you did.

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  1. Beets to pickle or even just cook & jar up.. way more interesting than canned.. plus they're pretty. It may be too late, but I did see some just last week @ the market in Richfield..

    Squash is on sale at Cub for 10c/lb. I bought some at the farmer's market, but then my mom & I went to buy 20 more lbs @ Cub (said it was local, but not organic). 49c/lb @ Byerly's for "MN Squash" ..

    1. Cabbage was cheap at my farmer's market last Saturday, so I'm trying to store that for the first time.

      1. I'm canning farmers' market beets this weekend and making applesauce. Nummy.

        Anyone know if there are good tomatoes still to get? I would like to do one more round of canning tomatoes, but only if I can get some good ones.

        Also, are all the markets still open, or just the big ones?

        2 Replies
        1. re: churchka

          I'm not sure if these are good for canning, and they are at the Wedge, not a farmer's
          market, and they are kind of pricey, but they are called 'Dirty Girl' tomatoes, they
          look like little cherry peppers, and they are some of the most flavorful tomatoes I
          have ever had, sweet and salty and rich. Organic. go get em!

          1. re: faith

            I saw them at the Mississippi Market on Selby yesterday. They're the size of giant cherry tomatoes, and taste great. Ripe, full, everything you'd want in a late summer tomato. Everything I didn't expect in October. I took a bag of them home with me. And yes, they're good for canning, and for making tomato chutney and tomato candy (cut into wedges, add oil, kosher salt and roast in decreasing temp oven for several hours until the edges carmelize, dump into a bowl, let sit in the oil for a day or night, then freeze, oil and all until mid-winter....).

        2. Mill City farmers' market ended their run last weekend, but Let's Cook, on East Hennepin near Surdyk's will host an indoor market for some of the non-seasonal market items such as meats and cheeses.

          Nicollet Mall market runs for two more weeks. The big one on Lyndale runs for about for more weeks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Loren3

            Loren, do you know the dates and time for the "Let's Cook" market? Will it be kickin' this Saturday and Sunday? 10/27 - 10/28 ?

            1. re: Foureyes137

              if my note-to-self is correct, the let's cook thing is NOT this weekend, it is saturdays only, no sundays, and it is the 3rd saturday of every month, starting next month (nov), from when the store opens in the a.m. to 2 pm. i am not completely positive on this, as i have apparently misplaced the official flyer. maybe call the store tomorrow, because i could be wrong!

              if any hounds haven't been, let's cook is an imo super-cute kitchen store, with very good prices on many items, and a very enthusiastic & helpful staff, on 4th and hennepin NE minneapolis (kitty corner from bulldog ne). worth it for a browse, after a trip to surdyks wine/cheese down the block. . .

            2. re: Loren3

              The St. Paul Farmers' Market is open year round. Starting in November, it's only open on Saturdays from 9-Noon. The winter market sells meats, cheeses, bakery goods, honey, apples, eggs, dried florals, squash, chocolates, etc.


            3. you can blanch and freeze those greens, anything basically but lettuce. i think the leeks are over by now, but i usually sweat some of those and throw them into freezer bags as well. so much cheaper than leeks at any grocery. you can also roast and freeze peppers. onions that have been cured (look for ones with nice papery skins) keep well in a cool spot, but not near your potatoes, as they hasten sprouting in the spuds. squash too can benefit from a "cure" - keep it in a warm area for a week or two and then transfer it to a cool place. if you are feeling really ambitious, you can layer carrots with clean moist sand (in a bucket or the like) so that they are not touching, and they will last for months. i doubt there will be any good ripe tomatoes left, but if you find any, put whole, clean fruits in freezer bags an throw them in the freezer. they leak a fair amount of water when you thaw them, but the skins peel right off and the flesh can be used in any cooked preparation. good for those who don't have time/equipment to can. if you go to the big minneapolis market, dehn's still has greenhouse basil that you could use to make pesto. i absolutely relate to your hoarding instinct this time of year...