The practice of modern, organic, sustainable farming began in the 1950s in response to large agribusinesses' use of petroleum based or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which were found to be harmful to humans. The number of farmers practicing organic farming at that time was very, very small until the late 1980s, when customer demand created a growth spurt in organic farms. In 1990, the Federal Government legislated strict standards for achieving an organic certification. Unfortunately, meeting the standards and being certified is quite expensive and time consuming. Many small farmers cannot afford it and in some places, organic has been usurped by large agribusiness.
The advantage of eating local fruits and vegetables over licensed, organic long-distance farmers' produce is that unripe produce is typically gassed, irradiated, or frozen to keep them in stasis until they reach their destination, four to seven days later, and then gassed, irradiated, unfrozen and chemically induced to become or look ripe. Local foods are almost always picked the day before you purchase them when they are at the peak of the ripeness and thus are full of flavor.
At the West End Farmers Market the farmers who are closest to organic farming, but who do not have a certificate would be Papa’s Orchard, Maple Avenue Farm (sold at the On the GOurmet Truck) and Shamba Farm (pictured above). All the other produce and fruit vendors attempt sustainable farming techniques by using minimal amounts of fertilizer and pesticide.
Please talk to our farmers. They can tell you way more about their farms and love to talk about their business.
The West End Farmers Market is sponsoring a canning recipe contest. Bring your recipe to Eden Good or to one of the market managers at the Hospitality Tent. Your recipe will be posted on a board at the market, copied, made available at the market and on our website. In August, there will be a recipe tasting contest and we will be giving away blue ribbons. More information to come... BUT bring your recipes to the market next week!
9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Eden Good Tent
This Sunday, Lucy and Bonita from the Eden Good Team, will demonstrate how easy it is to can fresh vegetables at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. As you may already know, the West End Farmers Market was chosen to be one of 50 farmer's markets promoting the canning fresh food. It is a marvelous way to extend the delicious tastes of summer produce all winter long AND save on grocery bills. Coupons for canning equipment and free canning cookbooks will be given away. There is also a raffle to win a canning kit and big hardcover cookbook. Please come and enjoy!
Starting in February people in the neighborhood began asking, "When does the farmers market start?" The glittery eyes, the minor note of desperation as they grilled for a date, revealed a customer suffering from fresh food withdrawal.
Why do we like our food fresh? Well to begin with, it tastes better - as a matter of fact it tastes great! Other more intellectual reasons: there are more nutrients when a vegetable or fruit is picked the day before, there are usually far less pesticides and fertilizers used in local, small farming, and local fruits and veggies are not grown from genetically engineered seeds. At the farmers market, a juicy ripe tomato, is a luscious-taste-sensation tomato, not a peanut/corn/tomato hybrid with a thick skin and little juice.
The drawback of course is that local fresh food is only available during the growing season. But what if you could extend the growing season, or rather extend the period you could enjoy the abundant fruits of the growing season? In the two hundred years since preserving food in sealed glass jars was invented, people have created stupendously tasty recipes for keeping all manner of fresh fruits and vegetables available through the sparse winter months.
This year the National Farmers Market Coalition in partnership with the company that makes Mason Canning jars and tools has chosen The West End Farmers Market and 49 markets throughout the U.S. to help promote canning as a method for people to have access to fresh food through the winter.
At the West End Farmers Market we will be having canning demonstrations, giving away coupons and pamphlets, having a raffle for free canning kits, and BEST OF ALL, we are sponsoring a canning recipe contest. Look for more information on this blog and our facebook account.
Until then - All you foodies out there - WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE MARKET.
Stop by the Eden Good Tent or the West End Farmers Market Hospitality Tent for more information.
James Smith offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. His family has been farming for 20 years. They started out with 5 acres and eventually purchased a 39 acre farm in Westmoreland County. A lot of blood, sweat and tears, but they wouldn’t want to do anything but what they are doing. His family loves farming and they are are hoping that their boys will want to take over someday. This year they are planting a lot of early crops: kohlrabi, mixed lettuce, bok choy, herbs, swiss chard and strawberries.Also expect to see kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnips, okra, and all kinds of lettuces.
Ernest Pazmany of Bella Tierra creates hand-crafted gold and silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and pendants from unique, one of a kind, minerals, stones, and semi-precious jewels. He chooses stones carefully when he travels, making available to customers beautifully crafted one of a kind pieces.
Great Harvest breads are a hearty, delicious addition to the West End Farmers Market. Specializing in handmade breads using fresh whole grains, their breads are perfect for work-day sandwiches, while the variety of sweet breads and rolls will make your mouth water.Because the grain is freshly milled, whole wheat tastes phenomenal, and fresh whole grain bread is life-enhancing. They use premium wheat bought from family-owned farms in Montana, pure and simple ingredients. You won't find additives, preservative or any ingredients you can't pronounce!
Arts of Asia is dedicated to promoting artisans and artists from Burma, Indonesia and Thailand through fair trade practices.
Each year Rich Blumm travels to Asia, buying directly from artisans and artists... beautiful silks, jewelry, toys and other handicrafts from Thailand; jewelry, lacquer ware, art, and woodcarvings from Burma; art, silver, and other crafts from Bali, and peasant paintings from China. Few people walk away empty-handed when they see his array of hand-woven silk scarves or distinctive earrings.His goods are unique, fairly priced and they meet fair trade requirements.
Fresh Joseph's has been operating at local farmers markets since 1984. They sell fresh orange juice by the glass, squeezed on site, and in quarts and half gallon containers for take home. You can't beat the taste of fresh squeezed juice! They also sell a variety of fresh baked scones, macaroons, pizzelles and other baked goods. You can also buy fresh mozzarella cheese.
Aimee and Millie of The Dressed Up Nut make delicious nuts, covering the entire range of taste sensations: sweet, savory, hot, or salty. Each small batch, heirloom recipe bag of nuts will have you and your guests wanting for more. A must for every table whether it be a festive holiday, an elegant party or just a simple dinner at home. It all started with the Sherry Walnut. They were a Christmas tradition for Aimee's family in the 80's and 90's. Grandmother Steel (aka: "Dot") would only make them at the holidays and so they were rationed accordingly to savor the sweet treat through the new year. For years, Dot refused to give up the recipe, but once she finally relented, her granddaughter Aimee began making them for friends, coworkers and family. The feedback was tremendous and the message was consistent: sell them. So after careful consideration and finding commercial kitchen space, Aimee teamed with her mother Millie, and in late 2009, The Dressed Up Nut was cracked. Millie and Aimee are very particular, so what you see and taste has been carefully vetted for flavor and quality. Try any of them on a salad for a sweet or zesty crunch. Add the sherry walnuts to your pancake batter for a twist on an old favorite. Chop up the bourbon pecans and add to a variety of sweet potato dishes for a spicy, crunchy contrast. And don’t be surprised if you find that these nuts become your favorite snack:
- Sherry Walnuts ~ 8oz ~ $7.95
- Sweet Roasted Almonds ~ 8oz ~ $7.95
- Bourbon Pecans ~ 6oz ~ $9.95
- Slow Peppered Almonds ~ 8oz ~ $7.95
- Honey-Chipotle Pecans ~ 6oz ~ $9.95