This past Sunday marked the second week I volunteered at the Skippack Farmers’ Market, collecting email addresses for the weekly newsletter and handing out recipes with a seasonal produce guide. By virtue of the word “volunteer,” I do not expect anything in return.
But I’ve found that giving a few hours on a Sunday morning, food and knowledge are your bounty. I come home with complimentary fresh olive bread from St. Peters Bakery, cheese from Goot Essa (Old German Weissa Kase), and discounted first-of-the-season apples and white peaches from Stauffer’s Fruit Farm. I learn that lettuce doesn’t like hot weather, and this summer has been challenging for the raspberry harvest — cooked by the sun before they’ve had a chance to be picked.
While we are working to grow the Skippack market, there’s been a noted boom in the number of farmers’ markets across the country, as well as the number of advocates and organizations rallying to support family farms and the sales channels they rely on. A recent Civil Eats article tackles a report published by Farm Aid, “Rebuilding America’s Economy with Family-Farm Centered Food Systems” that suggests farmers may be the cornerstone to an economic upturn — “A dollar spent at a farmers market can generate $2.80 for the community’s economy.” The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, recently proclaimed the week of August 1-7 “National Farmers Market Week” in recognition of the numerous benefits of farmers’ markets, such as increasing access to healthful foods, developing local and regional food systems, and reviving communities. Now we just need policy makers to take heed; perhaps dedicate staff to manage and grow markets and/or provide incentives, grants and subsidies to create and sustain farmers’ markets in certain areas.
Politics aside, the folks at Grist have my number for this Pickled Kohlrabi recipe. They are celebrating National Farmers Market Week by cooking with foods “outside the comfort zone,” which is my number one reason for joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and shopping at local farmers’ markets — they push the food envelope; encourage tasting new produce and trying new methods of cooking.
Featured in the article is the funky kohlrabi, a vegetable I had never heard of until my CSA foray this past winter, which resulted in a vegetable slaw and a sweet quick bread. Kohlrabi actually showed up in my summer CSA a few weeks ago. While Epicurious has some great recipe suggestions, a recipe from Modern Beet caught my eye following my previously confessed new obsession with all things in jars.
Not sure if your market offers kohlrabi? Check out the new online resource, Real Time Farms, which allows shoppers to virtually search a local market to see what’s for sale that day. It’s Michigan-centric now, but the user-driven database is quickly expanding to include all states and regions. An innovative way to rally for the local food movement, just in time for National Farmers Market Week.
Adapted from Modern Beet
- 2 kohlrabi bulbs, stems trimmed, and cut into large matchsticks (do not peel)
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 medium garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or zest of 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- In a bowl, toss kohlrabi with salt. Let stand for about 1 hour.
- Drain the kohlrabi and pack into 3-8oz jars (or 1 pint jar). Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and immediately pour them over each jar of kohlrabi. Cover and shake gently to mix. Let cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, place jars in the refrigerator. Let pickles mature for about 1.5 – 2 days. Pickles will keep (refrigerated) for about three weeks.