Friday, July 9, 2010

Market Day: July 7
Highlights of this week's market: Corn, peaches, tomatoes, multiple varieties of summer squash (including the delicious lime-green "cousa"), raspberries, blueberries, greens of all sorts, beets, carrots, and cucumbers.

We’re seeing the end of the snap peas, so make sure to eat a handful before they’re gone.

This Week's News:

This week heralded a few new things here at the Davis Square Farmers’ Market Journal: a new chronicler of the Davis Square Farmers’ Market and the year’s first corn and peaches.

The “new chronicler” bit first, just to get it out of the way and move on to the really earthshaking things (Corn! Peaches!): I’m Anastatia, and I’ll be your new guide to the Davis Square Farmers’ Market. I’m a fairly new transplant to Cambridge, having moved 10 months ago from New Haven, Connecticut, where I oversaw the communications at the Yale Sustainable Food Project. I’m excited to join the team at Season to Taste and shift from teaching people about the social, political, and cultural ramifications of sustainable food to actually feeding people sustainable food. Since old habits die hard, though, I’ll still be writing about food here, sharing stories about local farmers, information about what they’re growing, and recipes from our chefs to help you make the most of it.

Now on to the corn and the peaches: I hadn’t expected to see corn this early in the season (isn’t it just supposed to be “knee high by the fourth of July”?), but there it was. Ever vigilant, Robert queried Marie Hills, one half of the husband and wife team who run Kimball Fruit Farm, at whose stand the corn was being sold. She confirmed that it was, in fact, local corn, grown about an hour away on their land in Pepperell, MA. They grow many different corn varieties, and this one is called “quickie” because it comes up so early. The ears are smaller than those of late-summer corn, but the kernels are just as sweet. Marie told us that, even for an early variety, this corn is early: everything, she says, is two weeks early because of the heat wave that’s been cooking Massachusetts for the past weeks. If you’ve been suffering from the heat, I recommend using Marie’s early corn to make Robert’s tomato, corn, and basil relish from the recipe below. It’s a small reminder that every cloud—well, in this case every heat wave—has a silver lining.

The peaches were another surprise: they looked a little small and tough, but their fragrance was intoxicating. Their taste didn’t disappoint: they were floral and juicy. These are early too; Marie says they’re not usually ready until the 15th of July. Another dividend of the heat. At Kimball, Marie and her husband grow twelve different varieties of peaches; each tree lasts about five years in commercial production. Now that the trees have started to produce, we’ll see different varieties over the course of the summer.

This Week's Recipe: Sweet Corn, Baby Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Basil Relish

This a very simple recipe that goes well on slow roasted chicken, any crisp-skinned fish, or a cumin-rubbed grilled pork tenderloin. Since it is a simple recipe, it requires the freshest farmers’ market ingredients to make it shine.

1 Vidalia Onion, diced very small
3 tbsp Canola oil
4 ears fresh picked Corn
1 pint Kimball Fruit Farm Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
1/2 cup lightly chopped Basil
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper (season to taste ;)

1. Shuck and wash the corn. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the kernels off the ears of corn. Take the back of the knife and run it along each side of the ear of corn to squeeze any corn milk into the bowl of kernels (save the cobs for stock and use for another purpose).

2. In a medium sauce pan cook the onions with the oil and a pinch of slat until soft. Add the kernels and cook for 2- 5 minutes. Cool on a cookie sheet to room temperature.

3. Gently quarter the tomatoes with a serrated knife. Add to the corn mixture along with the rough chopped basil and extra virgin olive oil. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for an hour to allow the flavors to marry. Although you can refrigerate the relish, it is much better if served at room temperature.

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